How to design a naval strategy for a crazy nation
Here is an important document. Keep a copy of it, so your grand-children can see the insanity of our times – which a crazy people consider unremarkable. Since they’ll we’ll be paying the price for this folly, they’ll we’ll cry — not laugh.
- “A Cooperative Strategy for 21st Century Seapower“, US Navy, October 2007 (20 pages)
Consider the following excerpt:
Guided by the objectives articulated in the National Security Strategy, National Defense Strategy, National Military Strategy and the National Strategy for Maritime Security, the United States Navy, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard will act across the full range of military operations to
- secure the United States from direct attack;
- secure strategic access and retain global freedom of action;
- strengthen existing and emerging alliances and partnerships and
- establish favorable security conditions.
Additionally, maritime forces will be employed to build confidence and trust among nations through collective security efforts that focus on common threats and mutual interests in an open, multi-polar world. To do so will require an unprecedented level of integration among our maritime forces and enhanced cooperation with the other instruments of national power, as well as the capabilities of our international partners. Seapower will be a unifying force for building a better tomorrow.
The report lists many challenges:
- Globalization: interconnection of nations, migrations of peoples
- Increased competition among nations, potentially leading to conflict
- New technology and mass communications
- A rising number of transnational actors and rogue states
- Proliferation of weapons technology and information
- Social instability in increasingly crowded cities
- Climate change
What do the authors not mention? Cost, funds, money, dollars, budget, borrow, and debt. These words do not appear in the report. This is a report written for people who imagine themselves so rich that they never need ask how much things cost, or start planning by asking what they can afford. This is fantasy planning, recklessness of a people doomed if they do not change their ways.
Our government’s solvency depends on the tolerance of foreign powers — Asia (esp Japan and China) and OPEC. They are the underwriters of our military, which illustrates the foolishness of our grand strategy. As the US debt (from past spending) grows, the day of reckoning draws near. Our navy will not help when it arrives. That’s the key challenge for America, once which refuse to acknowledge.
Command of the seas is essential
Why? Command of the sea was necessary for Rome, to maintain the military and commercial ties that supported Rome. The Empire was a profitable enterprise. When that changed, it died.
Command of the seas was necessary for Britain, to maintain the commercial and colonial ties that made the British Empire so profitable. When the colonies became unprofitable, the Empire died.
The American hegemony provides little or nothing of profit to America. We are the global police. We can learn if this is considered a valuable service by asking the beneficiaries to pay for it. Does anyone believe that they would?
Where to go for more information
Information Dissemination is the go-to website for news and insights about naval operations and strategy. In its two years of operation, this site has justly attained high visibility for the depth and range of coverage. I strongly recommend putting it on your must-read list, if you’re interested in geopolitics. Here is a discussion of developing US Navy forces to meet our needs in the 21st century:
- “Theories and Considerations“, Galrahn, 10 June 2009
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For more information from the FM site
To read other articles about these things, see the FM reference page on the right side menu bar. Of esp interest these days:
- About Naval warfare and strategy
- About Military and strategic theory
- About America’s national defence strategy and machinery
- About Demography – studies & reports
Some posts about America’s maritime strategy:
- Recommended reading: an autopsy of the 2002 Millennium Challenge war games, 14 January 2008
- A 4GW puzzle: what happened in the Straits of Hormuz?, 17 January 2008
- DoD Death Spiral – the US Navy version, 31 January 2008
- Update to the “Navy Death Spiral”, 22 April 2008
- A lesson in war-mongering: “Maritime Strategy in an Age of Blood and Belief”, 8 July 2008
- A step towards building a Navy we can afford, 16 July 2008
- “Amphibious Ships are the Dreadnoughts of the modern maritime era”, 2 September 2008
- All about Pirates!, 12 December 2008
- More about pirates: why we no longer “hang them high”, 5 January 2009
- What Tom Barnett should have told Congress about America’s 21st century Navy, 3 April 2009