The leaders of the Navy, Marine Corps and Coast Guard have revised the nation’s maritime strat- egy to reflect current threats and strategic concerns, providing more detail in the resources needed to
sustain the strategy, which addresses some threats that
did not exist in when the strategy was initiated in 2007.
The strategy, set forth in the document “A Cooperative
Strategy for 21st Century Seapower: Forward, Engaged,
Ready,” strongly supports the foundational principle of
forward presence — being “where it matters, when it matters” — one of the oft-stated tenets of ADM Jonathan W.
Greenert, the chief of naval operations. The second foundational principle is the importance of operating jointly
with, and leveraging the power of, allies and partners.
“Forward naval presence is essential to strengthening
alliances and partnerships, providing the secure environ-
ment necessary for an open economic system based on
the free flow of goods, protecting U.S. natural resources,
promoting stability, deterring conflict, and responding to
aggression,” according to the preface of the document by
Navy Secretary Ray Mabus. “The ability to sustain oper-
ations in international waters far from our shores consti-
tutes a distinct advantage for the United States.”
The strategy recognizes the rising importance of the
Indo-Asia-Pacific region, especially with regard to
China’s naval expansion. It acknowledges China’s
demonstration of its embrace of international norms,
such as its anti-piracy participation, but also details its
intimidation of neighboring nations,
noting the need for both U.S. con-
structive engagement and forward
presence. The strategy supports the
positioning of 60 percent of the fleet
in the Asia-Pacific region and the
recent positioning of a Marine rota-
tional force in Australia.
The strategy document also
addresses regional instability in the
The all-domain access will be achieved through battlespace awareness, assured command and control,
cyberspace operations, electromagnetic maneuver and
integrated fires. Traditional roles of deterrence, sea
control, power projection and maritime security
remain pillars of the strategy.
The revised strategy is more specific than the original, calling for a balanced fleet of more than 300 ships
and a forward presence of about 120 ships by 2020.
Modular ships, such as the littoral combat ship and
future frigate, and adaptive force packaging are seen as
Sea services update maritime strategy to reflect emerging threats
By RICHARD R. BURGESS, Managing Editor
Forward, Engaged, Ready
The maritime strategy revision addresses new threats and offers
; Strategy stresses forward presence.
; Operating jointly with allies and partners is a foundational principle.
; Analysts see improvement in strategy.