WASHINGTON (NNS) -- The sea services released a new maritime strategy, March 13, a plan that describes how the Navy, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard will design, organize, and employ naval forces in support of national security interests and homeland security objectives.
The new strategy titled, A Cooperative Strategy for 21st Century Seapower: Forward, Engaged, Ready, accounts for changes in the global security environment, new strategic guidance, and a changed fiscal environment.
The essential functions of the maritime strategy released in 2007 were adjusted to include a new function called "all domain access" which underscores the challenges forces face in accessing and operating in contested environments.
The new strategy emphasizes operating forward and engaging partners across the globe, especially in the Indo-Asia-Pacific region.
The strategy calls for increasing the Navy's forward presence to 120 ships by 2020, up from about 97 ships today. This includes forward-basing four ballistic-missile-defense destroyers in Spain and stationing another attack submarine in Guam by the end of 2015.
The Navy is scheduled to increase presence in Middle East from 30 ships today to 40 by 2020.
The strategy reinforces the continued need to strengthen partnerships and alliances by stressing the importance of operating in NATO maritime groups and participating in international training exercises.
Additionally, the strategy outlines plans to maintain readiness by implementing the Navy's Optimized Fleet Response Plan which improves readiness and leads to a predictable cycle for maintaining, training and deploying carrier strike groups and amphibious ships.
The document features four sections: Global Security Environment, Forward Presence and Partnership, Seapower in Support of National Security, and Force Design: Building the Future Force.
Namazu, former Japanese demi god, now lead maritime analyst
Form my perspective of 3,000 years of observing maritime history I applaud the following aspects of the new plan:
"The Navy’s current budget submission will provide for more than 300
ships and a forward presence of about 120 ships by 2020, up from an average
of 97 in 2014, to be “where it matters, when it matters.” This includes
forward-based naval forces overseas in places like Guam, Japan, and
Spain; forward-operating forces deploying from overseas locations such
as Singapore; and rotationally deployed forces from the United States. To
provide forward presence more efficiently and effectively, we will adopt
the following force employment innovations:
■ Increase forward-basing of forces abroad to reduce costly rotations
and deployments, while boosting in-theater presence.
■ Provide globally distributed and networked expeditionary forces
in concert with our allies and partners to increase effective naval
presence, strategic agility, and responsiveness.
■ Employ modular designed platforms that allow mission modules
and payloads to be swapped instead of entire ships, saving time
and money. Littoral Combat Ships, which will be re-designated as
Frigates (FF) in the future, are an example of this capability"
Bold facing by the catfish
In a very constrained budget atmosphere I applaud the above policies. These will definitely allow your naval services to do more with fewer ships. But consider that Chinese naval forces number over 900 war ships, plus a Chinese Coast Guard of over 900 vessels that compare to your coastal patrol , medium, and high endurance cutters and then consider all of the other naval commitments that the U.S. must make around the world to defend your sea lines of communication and assure your allies; and the gross inadequacy of a 300 ship navy and a coast guard the size of the New York City police department becomes rather painfully obvious. I don't doubt that U.S. sailors are the best trained and disciplined naval team on earth. For their weight they pack a lot of punch. However "sometimes quantity has a quality all its own". The lesson of the BISMARK was that a bunch of cheap war ships can gang up and eventually overwhelm a super ship. Even the best warriors have only so many arrows in their quiver. If armed enemies are left standing when you run out of arrows, you are dead. Quality within both the Navy and Coast Guard are improving but quantity is grossly inadequate. Presently between the Navy and Coast Guard we need at least a 700 ship national fleet of vessels above the coastal patrol boat level. America can bite the naval budget bullet or eventually it will have to bite the lost independence bullet. Cut welfare if you have to, but don't cut war ships.