New Administration Topic Week
Seek Navy Input. The Navy is a limited resource that is most effective when given clear policies and permissive rules of engagement (ROE) and when allowed to have a strong voice in the decisions and policies governing its deployment.
Change the U.S. Maritime Strategy. There is an opportunity to change the maritime strategy in a way that cannot be measured in numbers of ships alone. Rather, the new administration should consider the U.S. Navy to be an asset that can fight the U.S. “4+1” potential opponents (China, Russia, Iran, North Korea, and violent extremism), especially for control of narrow seas.
Counter Terrorism. This will initially be a priority for the new administration and if the Navy is to play a role in gaining the respect of navies around the world, some rebalancing of the force may be required. The Naval Postgraduate School and CNA are excellent sources of advice on how best to reorganize the Navy to provide offensive as well as defensive capabilities to serve U.S. interests.
China is the most likely foe. The PLA is able to integrate surface, subsurface, and aerial warfare into strong defense against seaborne threats. The U.S. should maintain the same capability while investing in smaller ships that can patrol and protect borders with increasing speed.
Increase the diversity of the Navy. There should be greater recruitment of minorities and women, with an emphasis on their development, mentorship, and retention.
Recognize that the Navy is a source of innovation. The continued service (albeit temporary) of Deputy Defense Secretary Bob Work is a good sign the new administration is taking a forward-looking approach to naval technological capabilities.
Featured Image: SOUTH CHINA SEA (July 13, 2016) Sailors aboard the guided-missile destroyer USS McCampbell (DDG 85) observe as the aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76) conducts routine flight operations. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Elesia K. Patten/Released)
New Administration Topic Week
By Anthony Orbanic
Much like any service of the Armed Forces of the United States, the United States Navy is more than just a tool of power projection. It is a projection of our beliefs, our capabilities, and our resolve. Now more than ever, hard power must be balanced with the convictions our nation was founded upon. These convictions and beliefs are not only valuable to American citizens and members of the armed forces, they are valuable the world over. The term “American Exceptionalism” should not just reflect mere words, but reflect the necessary action and will that empowers an American sailor to do what is necessary in the line of duty. It should also reflect that not only are these beliefs cherished, they are priceless. If we do indeed cherish the value of our beliefs and the lives of those who defend them, then this should not be a one-time occurrence. It is a process that requires persistent work, a clear rationale, and an achievable, decisive objective.
Although the world changes, and how we adapt to it changes as well, the core values upon which the United States and United States Navy was founded upon should not. If anything, this should encourage the incoming Presidential administration to not only understand the role of the Navy as a policy tool, but understand the role of the Navy as it pertains to defending our allies, our values and our country.
Featured Image: YOKOSUKA, Japan (Sept. 3, 2016) Boatswain’s Mate Seaman (SW) Luis Marchendelrosario hauls in a mooring line during sea and anchor detail on the fantail of the of the Navy’s only forward-deployed aircraft carrier, USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76). (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Nathan Burke/Released)
New Administration Topic Week
By Vivek Mishra
The Indian Ocean together with the maritime area of the Asia-Pacific should be on the high priority list for the next Administration. The region has been witnessing a twin factor rise in its importance: the rise in trade transmission through the Indian Ocean has increased tremendously over the past decade, besides witnessing a dramatic ascendancy in strategic importance owing to vulnerabilities of geographic choke points and more importantly, an ever increasing Chinese presence.
Increasing Chinese inroads in the Indian Ocean was not perceptively noticed by the last administration in Washington. The Indian Ocean seems likely to represent the maritime arena that would bear the second thrust of Chinese maritime power after the South China Sea. The Chinese leased their first international naval base in Djibouti denoting the extra-regional dimension of what is increasingly being seen as China’s hegemonic rise. The increasing Chinese submarine presence in the Indian Ocean is a real and present danger for the countries of the Indian Ocean littoral and should definitely concern the U.S. Navy which has been actively present in the Indian Ocean since the Cold War; both on and beneath the surface.
The Indian Ocean for the next administration, then, could be a ground to better facilitate coordination between two important numbered fleets, the Fifth and the Seventh Fleets. Hitherto, the Indian Ocean’s maritime expanse has been divided between the two numbered fleets of the U.S. Navy with respective Areas of Responsibility. However, to increase effectiveness and coordination, particularly in the backdrop of strategic augmentation of the Indian Ocean, the two numbered fleets should be given some overlapping areas in the Indian Ocean. These exchanges could be coordinated with strong regional navies in the Indian Ocean such as India’s. Given increasing maritime coordination between the two navies, such collaborations would bolster maritime reconnaissance in the Indian Ocean and enhance submarine tracking capabilities in the region.
The forward presence of the U.S. Navy in the Indian Ocean has for much of the past been eclipsed by fleet concentration near the Gulf region in the Arabian Sea. It will be timely for the next administration to increase Diego Garcia’s role in military coordination. With India’s recently leased Assumption Island (from Seychelles) not very far from Diego Garcia, there is enough potential to impart a fresh impetus to joint reconnaissance and submarine tracking in the Indian Ocean waters under the next administration.
Vivek Mishra is an Assistant Professor in International Relations of Asia at Netaji Institute for Asian Studies, Kolkata, India and was previously a Fulbright Scholar at Columbia University.
Featured Image: The island of Diego Garcia in the Indian Ocean. (Reuters)
New Administration Topic Week
By The Navy League
The United States is irrevocably tied to the ocean and its international and domestic waterways militarily, economically, and politically. Since its founding, America’s prosperity has relied on freedom of the seas. The world looks very different today, but keeping conflict far from our shores and maintaining sea lanes free and open to commerce remain the underlying reason for the prosperity of the United States. America’s Navy must be supported if the U.S. is to continue to reap the benefits of international trade which the American economy rests upon.
It is imperative that the United States maintain naval forces that can sustain our national commitment to global maritime security. The biggest impediment to maintaining that force is the lack of a fully funded shipbuilding program that produces the right quantity and quality of ships, with the right capabilities, for the right price. A shipbuilding plan must support the industrial base and ensure we have the capability to surge shipbuilding when needed. Rising great power contention threatens freedom of navigation, and we must ensure we have the capability and capacity to reassure our allies and friends that freedom of the seas remains is a priority. Freedom of the seas underpins both our security and our prosperity.
The Navy is under severe stress after years of high operational tempo that has exhausted sailors, their families, and the platforms they depend on. Combatant commanders keep the Navy in high demand. It is crucial that our Navy is funded at a level that reflects their importance to our national security footing.
- Fully funding a fleet of 355 ships, including the funding of the Columbia-class ballistic missile submarines through the National Sea-based Strategic Deterrent Fund.
- Continued full funding of the Virginia-class fast attack submarine at two or three ships per year, including fully funding the SSN Virginia Payload Modules required to offset the strike capability lost when the four SSGNs are decommissioned.
- Increasing the aircraft carrier requirement to 12—we are, as Admiral Moore said, “an 11-carrier Navy in a 15-carrier world.”
- The Navy’s efforts to upgrade the quality and scope of mine countermeasures capabilities.
- Increased emphasis on anti-submarine warfare in the face of an increasing threat.
- Adequate numbers of Navy amphibious ships and sealift platforms to provide the expeditionary lift to support present and future combatant commander requirements.
- Procurement of sufficient weapons and munitions to meet Operation Plan requirements.
- Protecting readiness.
The Navy League of the United States is a nonprofit, nonpartisan civilian advocacy and service organization with more than 42,000 members and 220 councils in the United States and around the world. The Navy League supports all the sea services — the U.S. Navy, Marine Corps, Coast Guard and U.S.-flag Merchant Marine — that ensure the United States remains a strong maritime nation.
Featured Image: BUSAN, Republic of Korea (Oct. 21, 2016) Petty Officer 2nd Class James M. Jones, from Clermont, Fla., renders honors while manning the rails of the forward-deployed Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Barry (DDG 52) as the ship departs the Republic of Korea (ROK) Fleet base in Busan following a scheduled port visit. (U.S. Navy photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Kevin V. Cunningham/Released)