Visit, Board, Search And Seizure team members from the
guided-missile destroyer USS Preble, U.S. Coast Guard
and Iraqi forces board an oil tanker in the Persian Gulf.
The new U.S. maritime strategy endorses a National Fleet
concept in which the Navy, Coast Guard and Marine
Corps are more integrated.
international cooperation to battle dispersed, transnational entities such as al Qaeda.
“This is the first time the Navy, Marine Corps and
Coast Guard actually sat down and talked about how
they would integrate all their forms of power,” said
Karl Walling, a professor in the Department of Policy
and Strategy at the U.S. Naval War College.
and Core Capabilities
The maritime strategy recognizes six major strategic
imperatives for U.S. seapower: limiting regional conflict, deterring major power war, winning wars if deterrence fails, contributing to homeland defense in depth,
fostering and sustaining cooperative relationships with
international partners, and preventing or mitigating
disruptions and crises.
The strategy highlights four core capabilities that
have been, and remain, major roles of the sea services
in traditional warfighting and diplomacy.
Forward presence, a key feature of U.S. naval posture especially since World War II, will remain
enshrined as a means to influence events and foreign
policies that affect the security of the United States.
“For us, in the United States, for the Navy, the
Marine Corps and Coast Guard, we believe that we
must be a global positioned force … that has credible
combat power that can limit regional issues, that can
deter conflict, and that can fight and win when called
upon to do so,” said Adm. Gary Roughead, chief of
naval operations, in his strategy rollout address to the
symposium. “Fight and win in cooperation with others, but fight and win alone if we must.
“Our forces will remain globally distributed, but we
call out for those forces to be concentrated in two general areas,” he said. “One is in the Western Pacific; the other
is in the Arabian Gulf and the Indian Ocean region.”
“It’s a movement from the Europe-centered approach
of the Cold War to a much more Asia-centered
approach,” said Walling.
“The other strategic imperative is that those forces
must be able to be moved, to be brought together, to be
shaped, to be structured so that we can conduct operations around the world,” Roughead said. “We have
been able to [concentrate combat power] at levels that
we have not seen in decades because we have been able
to create the flexibility and the ability to bring forces
together and distribute them and move with them.”
Deterrence of potential enemies remains a core
capability of the Navy.
Another core capability, sea control, increasingly is
important as the global interconnections of commerce
increase in an era in which “90 percent of world trade
and two-thirds of its petroleum are transported by
sea,” the strategy document says.
Power projection, the ability to launch strikes from
the sea against targets inland and to insert ground
forces ashore, remains a long-resident role for the Navy
and Marine Corps.
To these capabilities, the new strategy adds two
more that reflect the times and involve the Coast
Guard to a great degree: maritime security and humanitarian assistance and disaster relief. Both figure in the
strategy’s goal of preventing wars.
Maritime security and its foundation, maritime
domain awareness, have surfaced as paramount importance in ensuring uninterrupted global commerce and
secure national borders. Smuggling of drugs, people and
weapons, piracy, terrorism and proliferation of weapons
of mass destruction are all now threats that are targets of
national and international maritime security forces.
“This [strategy] is a platform … to move this nation
forward in a very uncertain future in an era of persistent
conflict, irregular conflict, where the next challenge that