Unified Maritime Strategy Aims to Prevent War
By Kristen Noel
Special to American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, March 28, 2008 The Navy, Marine Corps and Coast Guard have joined forces in an unprecedented effort to create a unified maritime strategy, describing how seapower will be applied in the 21st century to protect America’s way of life.
The strategy emphasizes six core capabilities, the foremost being “forward presence” of U.S. seapower in volatile regions of the world to prevent war.
“The proactive cost of defense is far more affordable than the reactive cost of war,” Navy Vice Adm. John G. Morgan, deputy chief of naval operations for information, plans and strategy, said yesterday in a conference call with online journalists and “bloggers” to discuss the maritime strategy.
Morgan said forward presence provides a layered defense for the United States and is an enduring strategic imperative for the Navy and Marine Corps.
“We do not aspire to be the global policeman,” he said. “But we certainly want to be a part of that global neighborhood watch, along with others, helping where we can.”
The maritime strategy does not indicate specific regions where concentrated naval power will be deployed. The reason, Morgan said, was concern over how naming regions and countries in the strategy would affect the economic interdependence of the global system. But he noted that the United States has been deploying naval power in the Western Pacific and the Middle East, “because we think that’s were the greatest challenge is, perhaps the greatest opportunities exist.”
Morgan said forward presence is critical to fulfilling the American public’s expectations. He currently is involved in a tour of several U.S. cities to engage with the public, and he said citizens have voiced the same three expectations in every city so far.
“(Americans) expect us to stay strong. They expect us to protect the homeland and our citizens, and they expect us to help, in cooperation with other partners around the world, to prevent war,” he said. “The way we think we can do that, to meet those expectations, is to be a forward presence.”
The Navy will have to increase the size of its fleet to a minimum of 313 ships to meet the requirements of the maritime strategy, Morgan said. Today, the Navy has about 280 ships, and 104 of those ships currently are deployed worldwide, he said.
The Navy, Marine Corps and Coast Guard reviewed several alternative scenarios for global security in future in developing the maritime strategy, Morgan said. “We considered a wide range of potential grand strategies that might emerge in the United States over the course of the next decade or so,” he said.
The other core capabilities emphasized in the strategy are: deterrence, sea control, power projection, maritime security, and humanitarian assistance and disaster response.
(Kristen Noel works for the New Media branch of the American Forces Information Service.)