lays before us is something that may
not have happened before and may
not be measured,” said Adm. Thad
Allen, commandant of the Coast
Guard. “To do that, you need flexibility, agility, adaptability.”
Hard Power, Soft Power
One of the key selling points of the
new maritime strategy, Walling
said, is its use of a mixture of hard
power (coercive measures such as
military action) and soft power
(indirect influence through cultural or ideological means).
The new strategy reflects the
deep impact of Hurricane Katrina
and the 2004 tsunami in the Indian
Ocean on U.S. maritime operations.
The two events “demonstrated the
ability of navies and the Marine
Corps and the Coast Guard to come
together and provide relief, something that we had a unique capability to do,” Roughead said.
“But it also showed that, without warning, there has
to be a basis for those forces to come together and that
is why the area of humanitarian assistance is specified
as an expanded capability in the strategy,” he said.
Engagement with allied and partner navies and coast
guards is considered essential in implementing the new
strategy. Maritime forces will be employed to build confidence and trust among nations through collective security efforts that focus on common threats and mutual interest in an open, multipolar world, the document says.
“To do so will require an unprecedented level of integration among our maritime forces and enhanced cooperation with other instruments of national power, as well
as the capabilities of our international partners,” it states.
“Key to all of this is trust,” Roughead said. “Trust cannot be ‘surged.’ Trust is something that must be built over
time. And trust is built through discussions, activities
and through exercises, through initiatives that each of us
may undertake and bring others into. It is built on seeking opportunities to work more closely together.
“The key element of trust is people,” he said. “One
of the commitments that we should have is to look for
those types of activities that support our interests, but
that allow the engagement and the interaction of our
young officers and our young noncommissioned officers so that many years from now, when the chief of
your navy and the chief of my navy are sitting down
next to one another, they have known one another for
decades and there are friendships that stand the years.”
Adm. Gary Roughead, chief of naval operations, discusses the role of humanitarian assistance and disaster response while presenting the new maritime
strategy, “A Cooperative Strategy for 21st Century Seapower,” at the 18th
International Seapower Symposium at the Naval War College in Newport, R.I.
While the Navy wrestles with the right mixture of
soft and hard power, the Marines have a different challenge: Fighting the current wars in Iraq and
Afghanistan while preparing for the next conflict.
To this end, Gen. James T. Conway, commandant of
the Marine Corps, highlighted the concept of sea basing for the symposium audience that was not mentioned in the strategy document.
“We’re now developing a concept that will allow ships
to literally mate at sea, use a series of river connector vessels that will be able to serve essentially as a point in an
airfield using the sea as maneuver space,” he said, citing
its advantages for “for nations that do not desire the U.S.
forces ashore where we choose to minimize our footprint.
“We will continue to develop and experiment,” he
said “I would offer the day is not far away where that
kind of capability will exist for use not only by U.S.
forces but potentially by other nations’ forces as well.”
Although the strategy addresses an especially uncertain global situation with asymmetric threats, it speci-fies some means to achieve its ends in addition to
international partnerships. These include “
maintenance of a powerful fleet — ships, aircraft, marine
forces and shore-based fleet activities.”
Others include a robust sealift capability; cultural
and linguistic training for personnel; expanded intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance capabilities;
emphasis in information assurance, cyber defense and
antisubmarine capabilities; continued deployment of