Tag Archives: Strategy

China Seizes U.S. Navy Underwater Drone

By Armando J. Heredia

Grpahic by CIMSEC Member Louis MV

On December 15th 2016, the Chinese Navy seized an American unmanned underwater vehicle (UUV) operating in international waters off the Western coast of the Philippines. The USNS Bowditch, an unarmed T-AGS class hydro-graphic survey ship, was being shadowed by a People’s Liberation Army-Navy (PLAN) salvage vessel identified as a Dalang-III class (ASR-510).

The UUV had surfaced as part of a pre-programmed instruction, and sent  a radio signal marking it’s position for pick-up. As the Bowditch was preparing to recover the drone from the water, a small boat crew from the Dalang III raced in and plucked the unmanned vessel. The incident occurred approximately 50 nautical miles northwest of Subic, Luzon.

While the exact type of drone is unknown, there have been several instances of U.S. Navy Slocum Gliders snagged in local fishermens’ nets or washed ashore on beaches in the Philippines. This type of drone is not weaponized, and is used to collect a variety of environmental readings such as water temperature and salinity, to improve forecasting accuracy of extreme weather such as typhoons. The UUV uses wave movement to propel itself without any on-board engines, with an endurance time of months. The Department of Defense estimates the seized drone’s value to be around $150,000.

The crew of the Bowditch immediately contacted the PLAN vessel on bridge-to-bridge radio asking for the return of the drone. The PLAN vessel reportedly acknowledged the message, but then stopped responding and sailed away with the UUV. On Friday the 16th, the U.S. State Department issued a formal protest, or demarche, with the Chinese Department of Foreign Affairs, demanding an immediate return of the drone. At the time of this article’s publication, the Chinese government has not responded.


Motivations behind the seizure are unclear, but tensions between the two nations have recently increased over President-Elect Donald Trump’s conversation with Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen in what Beijing considers a blatant disregard of the standing One-China Policy. It could also have been a quick riposte to undermine Head of Pacific Command U.S. Navy Admiral Harry Harris’ recent comments that the US is “ready to confront [China] when we must.”

Notably, the Philippines has chosen to remain silent over the incident. While traditionally a U.S. ally, the election of President Rodrigo Duterte has brought a deterioration of relations between Manila and Washington. Thanks in no small part to Duterte’s bloody prosecution of an Anti-Drug war punctuated by high civilian casualties and accusations of extra-judicial killings, a large multi-million dollar U.S aid package was just withdrawn this week – prompting the volatile President to threaten abrogation of the Visiting Forces Agreement. The Philippine Department of National Defense indicates they had no idea that the incident was ongoing; highlighting the enormous capability gap the Philippines has regarding Maritime Domain Awareness. The Philippine government became aware via communications from the U.S. State Department to their embassy in Washington D.C.

Coupled with Duterte’s increasingly close orbit of China following last month’s visit to Beijing, the United States could potentially find itself without bases that would ease the mission of maintaining a robust presence in the South China Sea. Recent analysis shows China has expanded militarization of their Spratly Island outposts by placing what appear to be defensive anti-aircraft and close-in weapon systems on Hughes and Gaven reefs, while fortifications have sprouted on Fiery Cross, Mischief and Subi reefs; the latter group are in close proximity to other claimant outposts in the region.

Taken together, China appears to be using it’s famous “Salami-slicing” techniques to slowly ratchet up its presence and capabilities within the region without crossing any significant “bright lines” leading to a military confrontation. The UUV seizure is consistent with opportunistic interference of U. .Navy operations while striking propoganda points with regional states. Notably, the unresponsiveness of Philippines to an international incident within their EEZ tells a tale that the U.S. cannot count upon its traditional ally going forward to assist in the presence mission.

Armando J. Heredia is a civilian observer of naval affairs. He is an IT Risk and Information Security practitioner, with a background in the defense and financial services industries.  The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author, and do not necessarily represent the views of, and should not be attributed to, any particular nation’s government or related agency.

Featured Image: Slocum Ocean Glider. (University of South Florida)

A New Administration, A New Maritime Strategy?

By Steve Wills


The incoming Trump administration has called for a 350-ship navy as one of its core defense goals. This number is a good start for adding capability to the U.S. Navy after nearly two decades of force structure reductions. The call for 350 ships, however, is not enough. Such a call must be supported by a new global maritime strategy that draws inspiration from the 1980s Maritime Strategy created to oppose the Soviet Union on a global maritime battlespace. Any ship count by itself is prone to criticism on the grounds of cost or capability. The 1980s Maritime Strategy offers an example on how to intertwine strategy and necessary fleet strength in order to achieve a desired capability that supports national military strategy. The incoming Trump administration should follow the 1980s blueprint in its quest for a U.S. Navy capable of meeting present and future threats.

Arguing for Ships and Strategy

U.S. Naval strategy since 1991 has in effect been the management of desired and financially supportable force structure over time. In June 1990, incoming Chief of Naval Operations Admiral Frank Kelso famously put the 1980s Maritime Strategy “on the shelf” and in response to a question on naval strategy from Senator John McCain replied, “I think we need an enemy in order to have a strategy.” The collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 left the U.S. without a significant naval opponent around which to build a global strategy. The case in 2016 is very different. The Secretary of Defense and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff now say the U.S. faces “4+1” potential opponents (China, Russia, Iran, North Korea, and violent extremism) a threat lineup unequaled since the early days of the Cold War. Admiral Kelso’s requirement for an enemy in order to require a strategy seems to have been met.

Calling for more ships alone in the absence of a defined strategy guiding their employment is not enough. There were several fleet strength analyses done in the 1970s to determine the best fleet size that could be sustained within a given budget. CNOs Admiral James Holloway and Admiral Thomas Hayward, and Navy Secretary Graham Claytor and his deputy R. James Woolsey, analyzed fleets ranging in size from 400-1000 ships. The results of their work all tended to center around 580 ships. At the same time, Admiral Hayward was experimenting with new naval strategy concepts as the Pacific Fleet commander to take a global fight to the Soviet Union rather than just shepherd parts and supplies across the Atlantic in support of NATO; a mission the Navy described as hauling “ash and trash.” Neither concept — whether larger fleet size or new strategy –was likely to go far by itself. Any ship number was open to financial or capability criticism from analysts or members of Congress asking, “won’t 550 ships or 540 ships work just as well and at less cost than 580 vessels?” Likewise, new naval strategy concepts have been previously dismissed by Congressional budget analysts as not reflective of financial reality. The label of “not cost constrained” was enough to limit the influence of new strategic concepts to wargames and think tank discussions rather than actual application.

Navy Secretary John Lehman famously combined these ideas: a global naval strategy and a specific number of ships at a reasonable cost required to achieve their purpose. Lehman’s June 1985 presentation to the House Seapower Subcommittee stated that the 600-ship navy had to be affordable as well as meet strategic requirements. Affordability was to be achieved through more competition among industry providers, more efficiency within the Navy Department, and decentralization of Defense bureaucracy as a means of achieving these goals. High technology should be exploited, but not at the expense of what Lehman called, “Research and Development Rainbows” that created a situation where, “perfect became the enemy of good enough.” There was also an expectation that fleet operational tempo would be decreased.

The 1980s Maritime Strategy, combined with an effective 600-ship navy that could be purchased at reasonable cost, proved to be a stable foundation of effort for the naval services in the 1980s. Fleet strength neared 600 ships by the end of the decade and the Maritime Strategy saw multiple updates that made it in the words of one of its authors, “more joint, more allied and with more forces and explanation in support of its purpose.” How sustainable the 600-ship goal would have been past the 1980s is open to interpretation, but the basic premise of Lehman’s argument was enough to convince Congress of its efficacy while the legislative body was still in a hawkish Cold War military expansion mindset. In 1985, Congressman Charles Bennett (D-FL) of the House Seapower and Strategic and Critical Materials subcommittee wrote to House Armed Services Committee Chairman Les Aspin (D-WI) and stated, “The subcommittee finds that the maritime strategy is, in fact, a proper naval component to national-level military strategy, and that the 600-ship navy as currently described is a reasonable and balanced approach to meeting the force structure requirements of that strategy.”

Navy Secretary John Lehman greeting President and Mrs. Reagan aboard the battleship Iowa for 100th anniversary celebration of the Statue of Liberty on July 4, 1986 in New York Harbor.
Navy Secretary John Lehman greeting President and Mrs. Reagan aboard the battleship Iowa for the 100th anniversary celebration of the Statue of Liberty on July 4, 1986 in New York Harbor. (U.S. Navy)

It is debatable whether the Maritime Strategy or the 600-ship goal would have done so well as separate entities. There were plenty of influential opponents to both including former CIA director and naval analyst Admiral Stansfield Turner, former Carter administration Undersecretary of Defense for Policy “Blowtorch” Bob Komer, and renowned University of Chicago political scientist John Mearsheimer. Despite the efforts of these individuals and others, the Maritime Strategy and the 600-ship navy endured until the collapse of the Soviet Union consigned both to the past in a post-Cold War era without a peer competitor.

The Current Strategic Foundation

The holiday from history of the last 25 years is over and it is time to get back to the business of properly preparing for global great power competition. A Trump administration 350-ship navy could be part of the process by which the U.S. operates in the new, post-Cold War world. Numbers alone, however, are vulnerable to cuts by analysts seeking the lowest common denominator navy. Likewise, naval strategies without specific ship counts and powerful civilian and uniformed leaders to explain them to Congress also tend to run aground on the shoals of Congressional analyses offices. As naval historian CAPT Peter Haynes, USN (ret) has suggested, “A strategy without a resource plan isn’t one.” Congress does not always understand or support naval strategy, and instead talks in terms of platform numbers and line items. The legislature will, however, support a given number if good strategic arguments are leveled in its support. Any new ship count proposed by the incoming Trump administration must be accompanied by a strong, well-articulated global maritime strategy.   

Solid foundations already exist on which to construct a new maritime strategy. Chief of Naval Operations (CNO) Admiral John Richardson’s “Design for Maintaining Maritime Superiority” is the first step in that process. More than a mission statement, but less than a full strategy, it commands the Navy to:

“Make our best initial assessment of the environment, formulate a way ahead, and move out. But as we move, we will continually assess the environment, to ensure that it responds in a way that is consistent with achieving our goals. Where necessary, we will make adjustments, challenging ourselves to approach the limits of performance.”

CNOs have written such documents in the past. Admiral Kelso’s first foray into the post-Cold War era was entitled, “The Way Ahead,” a document co-authored with Marine Corps Commandant General Alfred Gray and endorsed by Navy Secretary H. Lawrence Garrett. It had a similar goal to Admiral Richardson’s guidance in that it exhorted its readers to, “maintain maritime superiority well into the 21st century,” and to accomplish this through, “our full range of skill and knowledge as practitioners of the art of naval warfare.” Finally, it suggested that, “The old excuse—‘Because that’s the way we’ve always done it’— no longer will do. We must work to shape and guide the forces of change in the direction that best serves the needs of our nation.” Clearly the “Design for Maintaining Maritime Superiority” and “The Way Ahead” both serve to inform the Navy that while the mission remains much the same, new challenges await and old methods of doing business may not work. The Navy must be able to adjust and do so boldly.

The current Navy “Cooperative Strategy for 21st Century Seapower”(CS21R) is a strong step toward a maritime strategy with operational warfighting components, a key element of the success of the 1980s Maritime Strategy. This document and its 2007 predecessor (CS21) both sought to describe the global commitment required by the U.S. to secure the global commons for safe and free trade. The 2015 version gave more detailed descriptions of force structure, specific forward locations required to achieve U.S. and Allied goals, and explicitly identified key competitors such as Russia and China.

Upgunning Strategy

What is required now is “the next step.” This new document should be a global maritime strategy that in the words of former U.S. Naval War College Dean of Naval Warfare CAPT Robert C “Barney” Rubel, USN (ret) would serve as “A contingent warfighting doctrine,” that proposes how the U.S. Navy will combat the “4+1” cohort of current and potential opponents across a global battle space.” The 1980s Maritime Strategy performed this role and laid out specific strategic and operational goals for U.S. Navy, Joint, and Allied forces in a global war against the Soviet Union, and all the phases of conflict leading to that eventuality. The Maritime Strategy cited national military strategy, regional command war plans, and specific Presidential national security directives as its core principles. It cited specific geographic objectives, Allied strategy, and specific war aims across the full spectrum of potential conflict with the Soviet Union. Later versions of the Maritime Strategy included contingency plans for operations against regional opponents that might not be mere Soviet surrogates. The level of detail within the 1980s Maritime Strategy crystalized the role of naval forces within the joint force, justified naval power within higher-level national security guidance, provided clear and consistent operational goals to guide war planning, and was unabashedly offensive in taking the fight to the enemy. These specific traits should animate the next maritime strategy.  

Integrating the Joint Force

Such a strategic undertaking will likely be more challenging in the present era. The 1980s Maritime Strategy was largely produced before the passage of the Goldwater Nichols Act of 1986 that decreed all U.S. military operations were to be “joint” in character. While the Maritime Strategy was joint in design and execution and its drafting team included members from the other services in the latter 1980s, it was the frequent target of interservice criticism that accused the Navy of “going it alone” in its plan to wage global war against the Soviets. A new maritime strategy must be a joint one, but the other services must also recognize the differences between the 1980s and the present. There are no longer any large U.S. ground force formations deployed on hostile borders needing resupply as in the 1980s. While the seat of purpose may be on land and Eisenhower may have once proclaimed the end of separate ground, sea and air warfare in the future, those paradigms may be shifting. The existence of predominantely maritime hotspots such as the South China Sea, the Strait of Hormuz, and the waters of Yemen warrants innovative thinking in employing the joint force with specific attention on incorporating ground forces in maritime conflict.

A U.S. Army AH-64D Apache helicopter takes off from Afloat Forward Staging Base (Interim) USS Ponce (AFSB(I) 15), during an exercise. Ponce, formerly designated as an amphibious transport dock ship, was converted and reclassified to fulfill a long-standing U.S. Central Command request for an AFSB to be located in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of responsibility. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Jon Rasmussen/Released)
A U.S. Army AH-64D Apache helicopter takes off from Afloat Forward Staging Base (Interim) USS Ponce (AFSB(I) 15), during an exercise. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Jon Rasmussen/Released)

Employment of U.S. ground forces is more likely to be part of a larger maritime operation as suggested by British strategist Sir Julian Corbett and more bluntly stated by British Foreign Secretary Sir Edward Grey who famously suggested that the British Army, “should be projectile to be fired by the Royal Navy.” PACOM commander Admiral Harry Harris has suggested the U.S. Army can support operations in the Pacific region by fielding land-based anti-ship missiles, a powerful capability that Russia and China already field in abundance and in forward locations. This image of U.S. Army coastal artillery “on steroids” would need to be balanced with larger national strategic needs that require an effective expeditionary ground warfare capability that includes both Army and Marine Corps units when needed. This changed vision of ground operations as auxiliary to war at sea must be considered in a new joint maritime strategy.

Strengthening Operational Alliances

Today’s opponents are a more diverse and capable group requiring an allied vice just a U.S. response. A 21st century maritime strategy would no doubt be a more complex document than its 1980s-era predecessor. The 1980s strategy dealt essentially with one opponent (the Soviet Union), while its 21st century cousin would have to assess multiple combinations of the 4+1 group across several different continuum of conflict. Different sets of active opponents would require differing desired outcomes and end states, as well as preparing for widely varying contingencies. The urgency of the threats posed by the U.S. 4+1 list of opponents might not also have the same urgency across allies and partners.

Still, there is great potential for global maritime strategic action. The recent US/UK/Japanese Trilaterial Maritime Talks resulted in an agreement where these three maritime powers, “Recognized this opportunity to strengthen maritime contributions for achieving mutually desired strategic effects,” (emphasis added). The United States and the United Kingdom already share one of the closest military relationships of any two independent sovereign states, where only British officers may fly F-18 Super Hornet strike missions and the Royal Navy’s “Perisher” submarine training course is the only non-U.S. curriculum eligible for qualifying U.S. Navy submarine commanders. This relationship might further develop in terms of global strategic cooperation with Britain and perhaps France providing a rotational aircraft carrier presence in support of a global Allied maritime strategy. The UK’s Royal Navy has already made a step in this direction with the opening of HMS Juffair, a naval installation in the Kingdom of Bahrain that marks the return of British naval installations in the Middle East after an absence of four decades.

WATERS TO THE WEST OF THE KOREAN PENINSULA (July 17, 2014) Lt. Donghoon Lee, Republic of Korea Navy, right, and Lt. Vincent Simmon stand watch in the combat information center of the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Kidd (DDG 100) during bilateral operations. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Declan Barnes/Released)

No one state can effectively maintain the command of the commons necessary for free trade over maritime highways, and nothing will increase force structure faster than building meaningful operational relationships with allies. Maritime security was recognized as a global concern a decade ago in the U.S. 2007 Cooperative Maritime Strategy and general concepts like the “1000 ship navy” must evolve into operational and tactically competent formations.

The Global Maritime Partnerships initiative focused on performing constabulary missions such as maritime security, counterpiracy, and drug interdiction with a broad set of partners irrespective of capability. While undoubtedly valuable, this line of effort was devised in a time when great power competition was not so marked and partnership with less capable navies would not come at the expense of conventional deterrence. The emphasis should now shift towards honing high-end warfighting capabilities by strengthening interoperability with treaty allies. This could be accomplished through more frequent and complex joint exercises, technology transfers, wargaming, and increasing the proportion of officers from allied nations in international resident programs. This push for greater interoperability will support the incoming administration’s intent to increase allied burden sharing while still demonstrating tangible American commitment to alliances. These cooperative steps cited here are hopefully the first of many leading to the return of unified Allied maritime commands such as the Cold War-era Supreme Allied Commander, Atlantic (SACLANT).

Communicating Strategy

Navy Secretary John Lehman described strategy as, “The logical set of allocations and priorities that guide how the Navy Department spends its money and trains its people.” Lehman and the maritime strategy authors campaigned vigorously and effectively to further its goals and meet its requirements. Lehman published widely on the Maritime Strategy in print and defended it in media outlets. Uniformed officers took on critics and published extensive works on its genesis and evolution. These efforts continue into the present day long after Admiral Kelso retired the Maritime Strategy. A new document will likewise require an aggressive and comprehensive communications campaign across multiple formats including print, video, and digital outlets. It must educate a global audience and key decision makers on 21st century strategic geography, how naval power contributes to the national interest, and the need to protect the world-wide maritime trade routes that sustain not only U.S. but global economic prosperity and security.

Keeping it Affordable

The leadership of the 1980s navy was fortunate in that much of the technological advancement needed for the 600-ship navy such as the AEGIS system had been completed in the previous decade. Most of the 600-ship navy building programs had commenced before the passage of the Goldwater Nichols Act of 1986, enabling the service to have greater control and less bureaucratic interference in its overall maritime design. Recent defense reform efforts have identified excessive bureaucracy as an impediment to cost effective military platforms.

An expansion of the fleet today will be more challenging in that many fields of technological advance are still struggling toward maturity. The naval service has been somewhat neglected over the last 25 years in terms of maintenance and operational costs. Assessments such as the Balisle report of 2010 and more recent examinations suggest the situation may not immediately improve. In addition, many new technologies and concepts such as electric drives, modular systems, greater automation and smaller crews remain operationally immature to a degree. Other emerging systems such as directed energy weapons and railguns are on the cusp of operational capability, but will require more funding and testing in order to join the fleet’s future arsenal. A new Maritime Strategy and associated force will need to navigate a series of choices from among these capabilities and decide which are “R&D rainbows” not worth producing, and which can become operational parts of the strategy-supporting force structure.

Reorganized for Strategy

The Navy is perhaps now better prepared to create a new maritime strategy than at any point since 1992 due to Admiral Richardson’s recent reorganization of the OPNAV staff. It is also better prepared to resist critics than its predecessor. The Navy Staff (OPNAV’s) new N50 Strategy Division combines the strategy experts of the N3/N5 Deputy CNO’s office with analysts from the N81 assessments divison. This union of disciplines should result in geography and international relations forming the foundation of a naval strategy that is also within the nation’s financial means to execute over time.

One of the most persistent claims leveled against the 1980s Maritime Strategy was that it was not “cost constrained” and assumed that a large and complex naval force could be sustained with limited funding. The Strategy and Assessments divisions of the OPNAV staff have been arguing this point for nearly half a century. Strategists argue for the importance of geography, history, and international relations as primary determinents for the development of successful naval policy. Their preferred force structures such as the 600-ship Navy of the 1980s respond directly to threat assessments and the geographic conditions that shape them. The analysis community often responds by suggesting that national resources do not support what the strategists wish to accomplish. They have advocated a policy of force structure and capability management over time as the best means of achieving a force that spends only what is absolutely required to achieve those goals. The 30-year shipbuilding plan is a product of this effort. The combined strategist/analyst composition of the newly formed N50 Strategy Division will serve as an excellent vehicle for wedding a new strategy to a new ship count and subsequently updated shipbuilding plan.


The election of Donald J. Trump to the Presidency of the United States represents a break with past policies as did that of Ronald W. Reagan in 1980 and offers the Navy an opportunity to make a fresh argument for a global warfighting strategy. Past U.S. joint force constructs that emphasized ground forces over naval forces are not as relevant as they were during the Iraq and Afghanistan wars at their heights. The present strategic situation suggests that the time is right for the U.S. Navy to come forward with a modern successor to the 1980s Maritime Strategy. The price tag for this endeavor will also have to be acceptable to the legislature and the public. The Navy must decide which of its emerging technologies and capabilities will be part of the strategy-supporting force and which will be cancelled or relegated to limited experimentation. The OPNAV staff is better organized now than in past decades to articulate and advance such a strategy. A 350-ship navy might be the right size to accomplish this goal, but it must have a strategy in close cooperation in order to convince Congress that 350 ships or even greater numbers are required. The incoming Trump administration should demand a global naval strategy to accompany its proposed increase in fleet strength in order to achieve its goal of a superior U.S. Navy.

Steve Wills is a retired surface warfare officer and a PhD candidate in military history at Ohio University. His focus areas are modern U.S. naval and military reorganization efforts and British naval strategy and policy from 1889-1941.

Featured Image: 161014-N-OI810-449 WATERS SURROUNDING THE KOREAN PENINSULA (Oct. 14, 2016) The Navy’s only forward-deployed aircraft carrier, USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76), steams in formation with ships from Carrier Strike Group Five (CSG 5) and the Republic of Korea Navy (ROKN) during Exercise Invincible Spirit. Invincible Spirit is a bilateral exercise conducted with the ROKN in the waters near the Korean Peninsula, consisting of routine operations in support of maritime counter-special operating forces and integrated maritime operations. (U.S. Navy photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Nathan Burke/Released)

Eight Good Questions Strategic Thinkers Should Ask

This article originally featured on The Bridge and is republished with permission. Read it in its original form here.

By Aaron Bazin

Strategic thinking can happen almostb anywhere: in a conference room, a university lecture hall, or in the dark basement of a military headquarters. If you think about it, really anyone can do it, from a president to an Army private, from a subject matter expert to an armchair general. Although anyone can do it at any time and in any place, doing it well is neither easy nor is it commonplace.

A variety of research projects have sought to uncover what it means to think strategically in the military context. In general, strategic thinkers act primarily in one of four roles: leader, advisor, practitioner, or planner. To function effectively in these roles require the skills of information gathering, learning, critical thinking, creative thinking, thinking in time, and systems thinking. Building upon these ideas, the purpose of this article is to explore some of the timeless questions that strategic thinkers can ask to help themselves and others think clearly about issues of strategic significance.


"My belief is we will, in fact, be greeted as liberators." Vice President Dick Cheney on Meet The Press. (NBC)
“My belief is we will, in fact, be greeted as liberators.” Vice President Dick Cheney on Meet The Press. (NBC)

This question is so basic it is often forgotten or glossed over, but asking it is absolutely essential. In a strategic context, there are a tremendous number of facts to consider. The key is to identify the ones that really matter the most without going too far and reaching the point of paralysis by analysis. As for assumptions, if never surfaced and debated they represent a sizable gap in one’s logic. Many failures at the strategic level are due to people insufficiently discussing assumptions, or worse, dismissing them outright. One recent example that highlights the importance of good assumptions is when decision makers assumed that the troops that invaded Iraq in 2003 would be “greeted as liberators.”

While strategic thinkers always should try to think in an unconstrained manner, there always exist some physical, logistical, moral, or financial limits to what is possible. Failure to understand the parameters and limits of a strategic approach has led to many military overextensions throughout history (e.g., Napoleon in Russia, Soviet Union in Afghanistan, etc.). Much like the enemy, the real world always gets a vote. Understanding the limiting factors and developing a common understanding of the problem are supporting activities, which leads to the next question.


Uncovering a problem statement is also essential, but often overlooked. Many strategic thinkers immediately dive in and start describing what must be done. In a fast-paced environment, it can be very tempting to do this, but it should be avoided. Fundamentally, if you do not pause and take the time to identify the problem you are trying to solve, how can you ever hope to solve it?

One of the easiest and most effective ways to develop a problem statement is to spot the gap between the current conditions and the desired conditions (the “want-got” gap). What is almost magical about developing a problem statement is that if you get it about right, the answer should begin to reveal itself, even in the most difficult of situations. Of course, most strategic problems are complex or wicked and change over time. Therefore, it is important for the strategic thinker to not only ask this question early, but also ask it again and again as the strategic problem unfolds.

By their nature, military thinkers often tend to think about negative, worse–case scenarios and outcomes. To take a more optimistic approach, one may find it valuable to look for opportunities as well as problems. The idea here is this: if one can seize small opportunities over time, this can build irreversible momentum and eventually bring about positive change. Overall, this question helps focus time, effort, and resources in a coherent, positive, singular direction.


Many strategic thinkers seek to implement parrot the latest policy position they heard without fully thinking about the inherent interests at play. Some argue that interests such as prosperity, values, security, and legitimacy, will always be important despite which direction the political winds are blowing. The strategic thinker should try to understand how the political intent is tied to the enduring interests that will remain long after a political position has changed. This question helps one put the problem in context and reflect upon the deeper strategic meaning behind the problem and its possible solutions.


The lessons of the past are always there to school the strategic thinker if they are willing to listen. Of course, events will rarely unfold exactly the same way twice, but there are often important echoes from the past to be heard in the present. This question suggests that strategists would be well served by looking for practical advice from history and tying those lessons to prudent courses of action in the present. Neustadt and May’s Thinking in Time describes even more questions that help the strategic thinker make the most effective use of history. The benefits of this question are that it helps one reflect upon the past and generate possible options on what can be done today.


In the past, policy makers may have been satisfied with being presented between one and three courses of action. Today, many policy makers demand strategic advice as a menu of options, where they can pick and choose what to implement and when to implement it. In these cases, the strategic thinker has to think divergently and come up with as many options as possible. As strategic problems rarely have solely military solutions, strategic thinkers should have the ability to develop options that include elements of national power beyond just the “M” in the Diplomatic, Informational, Military, and Economic (DIME) model. Of course, with wicked problems, there are often no good options, just a series of progressively bad ones.


It is easy for a strategic thinker to become so engrossed with the minutiae of the problem that they can lose sight of their goal. Perhaps, at times, the goal shifts and the previously agreed upon destination is now a fool’s errand. That is why this question is so important. The strategic thinker must have the ability to take a break from the crisis of the day and take the long view. Because there is often so much uncertainty surrounding strategic problems, reflecting on the end state is often difficult. However, if you do not know where you really want to go, any road will take you there.


When a policy is approved or a plan is signed, the thoughts captured on the document are frozen in time and begin their rapid descent into irrelevancy. This is a natural progression where a key concept’s idea is game-changing today, much less so in six-months, and barely remembered a year later. The key here for the strategic thinker is to not rest too much and remain in a state of continual assessment and advocate appropriate change as events unfold. As strategic problems are usually both quantitative and qualitative in nature, keeping an open mind to all types and sources of information is prudent.


Even the best strategic ideas are subject to failure if the follow through is lackluster, therefore, it is important to always ask what happens next. Every strategic choice comes with some degree of risk. These risks should be understood and, if possible, mitigated. In addition, with complex problems many issues remain unseen, and there is always the possibility of unintended consequences. Many strategic shortcomings are the result of taking prudent action in the present that results in future blowback that was unforeseen at the time.  An excellent example is the lack of U.S. follow through in Afghanistan following the withdrawal of the Soviet Union, popularized in the movie, Charlie Wilson’s War.


The level of responsibility placed on the shoulders of a strategic thinker can be daunting. The ability to think clearly is difficult in situations where time is of the essence, lives are on the line, or billions of dollars are on the table. It is precisely because of the high-stakes that good strategic thinkers need to ask good questions to uncover good answers. Of course, there are many questions that strategic thinkers should ask and this list is simply one starting point. In the end, the quality of one’s strategic thought will be directly proportional to the time and effort they put into the endeavor, no more and no less.

 Aaron Bazin is career Army officer with over 20 years of leadership and experience at the combatant command level, NATO, and the institutional Army.  Aaron was the lead-planner for four numbered contingency plans between 2009 and 2012, and has operational experience in Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Bahrain, and UAE. He is the author of the new book, Think: Tools to Build Your Mind. The views expressed in this article are the authors and do not represent the views of the U.S. Army, Department of Defense, or the U.S. Government.

Featured Image: A reporter raises his hand to ask a question as US Army Gen. Ray Odierno, Commander of US Forces-Iraq, delivers an operational update on the state of affairs in Iraq during a press briefing at the Pentagon, 4 June 2010. (Cherie Cullen/DoD Photo)

Naval Strategy Returns to Lead the POM

By Steve Wills


Newly appointed U.S. Navy Secretary John F. Lehman Jr. gave a signature speech at the Naval War College in Newport, RI in 1981. In his remarks Lehman hailed, “the return of naval strategy” to the forefront of the Navy’s planning.Such a message was again issued last week by Chief of Naval Operations Admiral John Richardson. While the CNO’s 18 October naval message (R 182128Z OCT 16) did not have Secretary Lehman’s dramatic turn of phrases, it is no less important and in fact is the most significant change in the role of U.S. naval strategic thinking since late 1991. The CNO’s message implements a major change in the planning and execution of the annual Navy budget statement known as the Program Objective Memorandum (POM.) For the first time since July 1991, the Navy Staff (OPNAV) Operations, Plans and Strategy (N3/N5) office will have the first input to the Navy POM building process. While this may not seem significant at first glance, it is a major course correction in Navy thinking. It could signal a return to the halcyon days of the 1980s when the Navy’s Maritime Strategy served as the service’s global blueprint for operational naval war against the Soviet Union, informing Navy programs, budgets, exercises, war games, education, training, and real world operations.

POM and Strategy Evolution Through the Cold War

The POM was created in 1970 by President Richard Nixon’s Defense Secretary Melvin Laird. It was designed as a response to what was seen as overbearing domination of service programming by the Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD) in the Kennedy and Johnson administrations under Defense Secretary Robert S. McNamara.The POM was prepared by service rather than Defense Department analysts and was seen as a better way to allow the services to plan for their own futures. The Navy POM was controlled largely by the CNO’s OP 090 programming and budget directorate with the powerful systems analysis divison OP 96 in the lead for the development of Navy programs and associated budgets.

The system remained in place across the 1970s as a trio of influential CNOs brought about the conditions for what Navy strategist Captain Peter Swartz and naval historian John Hattendorf have called, “A renaissance in naval strategic thinking,” that occurred in the 1980s.3 Admirals Elmo Zumwalt Jr, James Holloway III, and Thomas Hayward all explored ideas for global naval strategy against a growing and more capable Soviet fleet. Admiral Zumwalt conducted a major reorganization of the Navy Staff (OPNAV) and worked to create an affordable yet capable fleet to confront its Soviet counterpart. Admiral Holloway explored differing fleet sizes and offensive concepts. Admiral Hayward had conducted significant research into a new offensive naval strategy while serving as the Pacific Fleet Commander. He further tried to reintroduce a strategic culture through the creation of a Naval War College-based, CNO strategy “think tank” called the CNO Strategic Studies Group (SSG) to create operational solutions to naval strategic problems.4 All three of these extraordinary CNOs worked to restore the Navy from its post-Vietnam War doldrums. They laid the groundwork for success in the 1980s, but faced severe policy and budget restraints and did not have optimum mechanisms to translate their naval strategy concepts into solutions acceptable to civilian leaders.

In August 1982, with a new presidential administration in power and a new CNO at the helm of the Navy, Deputy CNO Admiral Small sent an influential message to both the Navy’s strategy (OP 06) and Director of Naval  Warfare (OP 095) offices with a powerful instruction. To this end, Admiral Small (and presumably CNO Admiral James Watkins) adjusted the Navy POM process to give the Strategy branch the first “cut” on the POM building process as opposed to the OP 96 systems analysis branch. Small had been exploring this change for some months. In March 1982, he sent a memo to OP 06 Vice Admiral Sylvester “Bob” Foley in which he stated, “A review of maritime strategy may well change many of the assumptions currently explicit in our systems requirements. I guess the responsibility for this type of thinking lies somewhere between (or among) OP-06 and OP-095, but seems dormant.”The Director of Naval Warfare (OP 095) Rear Admiral W.R. Smedberg IV suggested that, “OP-06 take the lead in this action” and that the strategic setting and operational concept should be spelled out more explicitly as the backdrop of our POM development.” The Navy Programming and Budgeting Director (OP 090) Vice Admiral Carl Trost and the systems analyst division head Rear Admiral Jack Baldwin agreed with Small’s statements. Small submitted an August 1982 memo to, in his words, “Get the whole OPNAV staff moving in that direction (of strategic thinking in POM development).”6 In a 1998 letter, Small recounted that he, “had been increasingly perturbed by a lack of any relationship of POM development to any kind of maritime strategy, not only from an affordability standpoint, but the concomitant failure to challenge the assumptions made by program and platform sponsors.”7

Small’s memo set in motion a historic series of events. If strategy were to play a part in the 1983 POM process, a strategy briefing would need to be prepared in support of the Navy POM input. The OPNAV Strategic Concepts branch head (OP 603) Captain Elizabeth Wylie was ordered to prepare such a strategy appraisal. She selected Lieutenant Commander Stanley Weeks, who was assisted by Commander William Spencer Johnson from OP 605, in preparing this input. Weeks and Johnson’s document became the first iteration of the 1980s Maritime Strategy, which grew in sophistication and influence throughout the early and mid 1980s.

Strategy Adrift in the Post Cold War Era

A Maritime Strategy appraisal (CPAM) remained the first input to the POM process through 1991, but by then the global strategic system had been turned upside down. The passage of the Goldwater Nichols Act of 1986, the collapse of the Warsaw Pact, the end of the Cold War, Desert Storm operational practices, and the looming fall of the Soviet Union itself had precipitated significant changes. The Goldwater Nichols legislation had given the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff rather than the CNO control of the size and strategy of the fleet, although these powers would not be fully invoked until the accession of General Colin Powell to the chairmanship of the Joint Chiefs in 1989. The collapse of the Soviet opponent further weakened the need for the Maritime Strategy. By the spring of 1990, incoming CNO Admiral Frank Kelso was forced to concede that there was no need for a Maritime strategy in the absence of a great maritime enemy like the Soviet Union. He officially declared the 1980s Maritime strategy as “on the shelf” until again needed during his June 1990 Senate confirmation hearing as CNO.8

Between 1990 and 1991, the Maritime Strategy was replaced by the White Paper Revision, later known as “From the Sea,” as the opening assessment for the POM process. Admiral Kelso later suggested that “From the Sea” would play a similar role to that of the 1980’s Maritime Strategy in getting the Joint Staff, Congress and the Office of the Secretary of Defense to support, “The Navy’s job in the years ahead of us.”9

The new strategy was used in a method similar to its predecessor at the start of its existence. Many of its components were incorporated into a Total Force Assessment (TFA) brief scheduled for the CNO Executive Board (CEB) as a kickoff to the POM cycle by Captain Dick Diamond (OP 603 Branch Chief) to Admiral Kelso on 18 July 1991. Diamond’s brief was undercut at the last minute by an additional slide produced by RADM Dave Oliver’s OP 81 (systems analysis) office entitled, “The Coming USN Budget Train Wreck” that Oliver insisted be inserted into Diamond’s brief. Diamond recalled that Admiral Kelso did not like the littoral warfare focus of Diamond’s presentation and exploded when the OP 81 slide suggesting the Navy would shrink to less than 300 ships by 2010 was displayed.10 Admiral Kelso called Diamond into his office the next day and reversed course, stating that, “the brief was essentially correct and what you recommended is the right path ahead for the Navy…so I am going to do it.”11

Reorganizing OPNAV

The new strategy appeared to have CNO support as a POM influencer, but this condition was only temporary. Over the summer of 1992, Admiral Kelso responded with the most significant reorganization of the OPNAV staff since Admiral Zumwalt’s two decades earlier.12 In a 1994 USNI Proceedings article, Admiral William Owen, Kelso’s lead for the reorganization effort, suggested the reason for Kelso’s massive staff restructure was to implement this new strategy.13 Admiral Kelso stated in his Reminiscences of 2009 that the strategy was merely a rally point behind which Owens as the new N8 would organize programs and their funding.14

The OPNAV staff would now be organized by “N” codes along the Army-centric lines of the Joint Staff. The OP 08 programming office under the leadership of Admiral Owens was re-branded as the N8 and all Navy programmatic activity was effectively centralized under his control. Its primary management tool, the Joint Mission Assessment, was an analysis-driven document, developed by OPNAV flag officers and coordinated by the N81 (formerly OP 81) analysis office. The three star platform “barons” were downgraded to two stars and subordinated to N8.

The OP 603 office had previously conducted its strategy appraisal of the POM as part of the CNO Executive Board Review (CEB) prior to the other POM appraisals. The CEB was disestablished as part of the October 1992 OPNAV reorganization. The list of POM development assessments conducted before the 1992 reorganization includes a “White Paper Revision,” also known as “From the Sea,” described as a successor to the Maritime Strategy. Subsequent lists of POM development assessments make no mention of a strategy assessment.

The apparent demise of a direct service strategy input to the POM in 1992 was paralleled by a rise in the influence of systems and campaign analysis in POM development and management. In 1994, when recruited by CNO Admiral Mike Boorda to work in N81 analysis branch, veteran Navy operations analyst Bruce Powers said Boorda desired, “To revitalize N81 and turn it back into what OP 96 had been earlier.”15

The new analysis branch (formerly OP 81) N8 in time became even more powerful than the old OP 96 office over the next decade. In 2000, Admiral Vern Clark, a 1970s-era alumnus of the OP 96 office, succeeded Admiral Jay Johnson as CNO.16 Clark was a former Joint Staff Operations officer (J3), its director, and the first business school graduate to be appointed CNO. Clark believed that strategy properly belonged to OSD and the Joint system. His own job as a service chief was to manage the organization, training, and equipment provision to the service. Clark desired a “readiness-based” Navy; especially after the 9/11 terrorist attacks.17

Strategy Struggles

The N3/N5 (Deputy CNO for Plans, Policy and Operations) office attempted to get back into the business of influencing the POM in the 1990s and in the 2000s. In 1994, N3/N5 RADM Phillip Dur and his N51 Captain Joe Sestak attempted to improve the 1992 “From the Sea” White Paper with a successor document entitled “Forward From the Sea.” While it had some initial success, it did not achieve any influence in POM development since it was still focused on “blue water” programs and did not “Script a convincing story about how a littoral strategy works.”18 It was further criticized as just a repeat of the Navy’s Cold War presence operations and provoked backlash from the Army and Air Force due to its, “Parochial focus on uniqueness of naval forward presence.”19 “Only “boots on the ground,” combined with robust land-based (as opposed to carrier-based,” aviation could actually influence others.20 Although useful for two years in shaping the Navy POM, it did not achieve lasting influence.21 Further attempts by the N3/N5 office to influence the POM including a Navy Operational Concept, and the Navy Strategic Planning Guidance for POMs 02 and 03 were short-lived and failed to develop lasting influence on the budget cycle. They were greatly overshadowed by Department of Defense strategic initiatives such as the First Quadrennial Review (QDR) and increasing attempts at joint operations.22

In 2002, Admiral Clark told Vice Admiral Kevin Green, the incoming N3/N5 that the Navy did not need a “strategy,” as it already had one and it was called the POM.23 Admiral Clark assigned control of the Navy’s 30-year shipbuilding plan to N81 in 2000.24 The N81 office was also instrumental in developing the Global Concept of Operations (CONOPS) for Admiral Clark’s “Sea Power 21” concept.25

The decade of the 2000s was more successful in terms of re-asserting the influence of strategy on the OPNAV staff. Admiral Mike Mullen became CNO in 2005. Vice Admiral John Morgan was N3/N5 from 2004-2008 and had more success than Vice Admiral Green in pushing strategy documents to a wider audience, but was still outpaced by N81 in terms of POM influence. The Navy Operating Concept for Joint Operations, written by N513 (the strategy office of N3/N5) by contrast was little cited in either POM documents or within the press.

Succeeding strategy documents were also ineffective. The Navy Strategic Plan in support of POM 08 (2006) was signed out six months too late to be of significant influence on its intended POM cycle.26 The Strategic Plan for POM 10 (2007) had some influence in the development of the 2007 Cooperative Strategy for 21st Century Seapower. It was deliberately targeted at Navy Department programmers supporting POM development.27 It had extensive support from N81 including influential officers such as Commander Bryan Clark and Captain John Yurchak to ensure it “fit with the OPNAV POM process.”28 However, this document was Secret only and did not get wide distribution as a result. Unfortunately, the POM 10 Strategic planning effort was lost to a degree in the turmoil of the end of the Bush administration during which operations in Iraq and Afghanistan dominated Defense Department thinking.29 It reflected current and near-term Navy programming already in place rather than attempted to influence future efforts. It did not include the Marine Corps, and had no mechanism to secure OPNAV support, as did the N8 /N81 POM development process.30

Admiral Morgan’s greatest triumph was perhaps the 2007 Cooperative Strategy for 21st Century Seapower. It was championed by CNO Admiral Mullen and drafted by N3/N5 staff member Commander Bryan McGrath, and writers from the other sea services. The 2007 Cooperative Strategy was designed as a tri-service effort in support of POM 12.31 The document had widespread influence in the wider U.S. and international naval community, but again failed to have a significant impact on its intended POM target. Despite its influence, the 2007 document had no direct connection with POM development, unlike the pre-1992 Maritime Strategy CPAM inputs to the POM process.32 The distinct lack of a formal relationship between strategy and the programming process allowed Navy programmers to ignore strategic input from 1992 through the beginning of the second decade of the 21st century.

By contrast, the N81 analysis branch’s formal connection to the programming process has allowed it wide influence.33 Since 2000, the 30-year shipbuilding plan has in effect served as the Navy’s de facto strategy document. Its key supporting element is the Naval Force Structure Assessment (FSA). The FSA is described in OPNAV Instruction 3050.27 (12 February 2015), as a tool that, “determines long-term Navy force structure objectives to support a global posture of distributed mission-tailored ships, aircraft, and units capable of regionally concentrated combat operations and peacetime theater security cooperation efforts.”34 The 2012 FSA was used to, “determine a post-2020 requirement for 306 ships in the battle force and emphasized forward presence while re-examining resourcing requirements for operational plans and defense planning scenarios.”35

Back to the Future

It now appears that Admiral Richardson intends to reverse the last 25 years of total N8-dominated POM development. The POM will now be a three-phase process with the Deputy Chief of Naval Operations (DCNO) for Operations, Plans and Strategy (N3/N5) as the supported commander for the first phase; the N9 Warfare Systems office in charge of the second requirements integration phase, and the N8  leading the third resource integration phase effort. POMs will begin three months earlier than usual in order to ensure “strategic deliberation.” There will be no separate Resource Program Sponsor Proposals (RPSPs) in this new, more transparent POM environment. In addition, billets from the CNO’s own OPNAV “think tank,” office of 00K and the N81 Quadrennial Defense Review Division have been moved to the N50 divison (under N3/N5) to create a powerful new Strategy division capable of managing the first phase of the new POM process. The formal connection of the N50 office to the programming process appears to ensure that the influence of the inputs it creates will not be lost in bureaucratic channels as in the last 25 or so years. The final goal in the words of the message is, “a strategy-based, fiscally balanced, and defendable Navy Program for submission to OSD, which appropriately implements OSD fiscal and programming guidance, addresses SECNAV and CNO priorities, and achieves the best balance of strategic guidance as provided in the CNO guidance.”


Admiral Richardson’s new POM process is a bridge from the days of the 1980s Maritime Strategy across a quarter century of force structure management, and pseudo-strategy to a new era of great power competition. This process is perhaps the beginning a new global maritime strategy with which the Navy can confront the collective and growing maritime power of the Chairman’s “4+1” combination of potential threats (Russia, China, Iran, North Korea, and terrorism.) Admiral Richardson’s change to the Navy’s POM process is perhaps again the beginning of another golden age of American naval strategy.

Steve Wills is a retired surface warfare officer and a PhD candidate in military history at Ohio University. His focus areas are modern U.S. naval and military reorganization efforts and British naval strategy and policy from 1889-1941. 

1. Peter M. Swartz with Karin Duggan, U.S. Navy Capstone Strategies and Concepts, 1981-1990, Strategy, Policy, Concept and Vision Documents, Alexandria, VA, The CNA Corporation, December, 2011, p. 21.

2. Richard A. Hunt, Melvin Laird and the Foundations of the Post-Vietnam Military, 1969-1973,  Washington D.C, The Office of the Secretary of Defense,  Historical Office, The Secretaries of Defense Historical Series, Volume VII, Erin R. Mahan, General Editor,, pp. 16, 17.

3. John B. Hattendorf and Peter M. Swartz, U.S. Naval Strategy in the 1980’s. Selected Documents, Newport R.I, The United States Naval War College, The Newport Papers #33, 2008, p. 4.

4. John Hanley, “Creating the 1980’s Maritime Strategy and Implications for Today,“, Newport, R.I., The United States Naval War College Review, Spring, 2014, Volume 67, No 2, p. 15.

5. John B. Hattendorf, The Evolution of the U.S. Navy’s Maritime Strategy, 1977-1986, Newport, R.I, The United States Naval War College Press, The Newport Papers #19, 2003,  pp. 66-68.

6. Ibid.

7. Fax letter from Admiral William Small USN (ret) to Captain Peter M. Swartz, USN (ret), 02 October 1998, Arlington, VA, The Personal and Professional Papers of Captain Peter M. Swartz, USN (ret), used with permission.

8. “The Nomination of Admiral Frank B. Kelso, Jr USN, to be Chief of Naval Operations,” Hearing before the Committee of the Armed Services, The United States Senate, Second Session of the One Hundred First Congress, 14 June, 1990, pp. 326, 327.

9. Frank B. Kelso II and Paul Stilwell, The Reminiscences of Admiral Frank B. Kelso II U.S. navy (Retired), Annapolis, Md, The United States Naval Institute Press, 2009, p. 687.

10. Email from Captain Richard Diamond, USN (ret) to Dr. John Hattendorf, Naval War College, subject “Paper Review Status” (unpublished narrative of the events leading up to the September 1992 publication of “From the Sea”), 09 September 2006, Filed jointly inThe United States Naval War College, The Naval Historical Collection, The papers of Dr. John Hattendorf, and in the Professional papers of Captain Peter M. Swartz, USN (ret), 1991 “The Way Ahead” file, used with special permission of Dr. John Hattendorf, Captain Swartz and Captain Richard Diamond, USN (ret).

11. Ibid.

12. William A. Owens, High Seas, The Naval Passage to an Uncharted World, Annapolis, MD, The United States Naval Institute Press, 1995, p. 5.

13. William Owens, “The Quest for Consensus,” Annapolis, MD, The United States Naval Institute Proceedings, Vol 120/5/1095, May 1994, pp. 69, 70.

14. Frank B. Kelso II and Paul Stilwell, The Reminiscences of Admiral Frank B. Kelso II U.S. navy (Retired), p. 688.

15. Bob Sheldon and Michael Garrambone, “Military Operations Research Society (MORS) Oral History Project Interview with Mr. Bruce F. Powers,” Military Operations Research, V21 N#2,  2016, doi 10.5711/10825983212107, p. 118.

16. Wayne P. Hughes, Jr., (2002) Navy Operations Research. Operations Research 50(1):103-111. http://dx.doi.org/10.1287/opre.,  p. 107.

17. Ronald Ratclift, “CNO and OPNAV Reorganization,” In  David A. Williams (ed.), Case Studies in Policy Making and Implementation. 6th ed,  Newport, RI, The United States  Naval War College Press, 2002 , p.p. 326-328.

18. Edward Rhodes, “…From the Sea and Back Again, Naval Power in the Second American Century,” Newport, RI, The United States Naval War College Review, Vol LXX, No.2, Sequence 366, Spring 1999, p. 32.

19. Peter M. Swartz with Karin Duggan, U.S. Navy Capstone Strategies and Documents, 1991-2000, Alexandria, VA, The CNA Corporation, D0026416.A2/Final, March 2012, p. 93.

20. Ibid.

21. Ibid, p. 95.

22. Ibid, p. 102.

23. Peter Haynes, Toward a New Maritime Strategy, American Naval Thinking in the Post Cold War Era, Annapolis, MD, The United States Naval Institute Press, 2015,  pp. 227, 228.

24. Ronald O’Rourke, “Navy Force Structure and Shipbuilding Plans: Background and Issues for Congress,” Washington D.C., The Congressional Research Service (CRS), 7-5700, 12 June 2015, p. 8.

25. Peter M. Swartz with Karin Duggan, U.S. Navy Capstone Strategies and Documents, 200-2010, Strategy, Policy, Concept and Vision Documents, Alexandria, VA, The CNA Corporation, D0026241.A2/Final, p. 27.

26. Ibid, p. 101.

27. Ibid, p. 127.

28. Ibid, p. 136.

29. Ibid, p. 129

30. Ibid, p. 138

31. Ibid, p. 166.

32. Ibid, p. 189.

33. James A. Russel, James J. Wirtz, Donald Abenheim, Thomas Durrell-Young, and Diana Wueger, “Navy Strategy Development in the 21st Century,” Monterey, CA, The United States Navy Postgraduate School, The Naval Research Program, #FY14-N3/N5-001, June 2015, p. 4, electronic resource, https://www.hsdl.org/?view&did=768350, last assessed 25 October 2016.

34. “OPNAV Instruction 3050.27, Force Structure Assessments,” Washington D.C., The Office of the Chief of Naval Operations, 12 February 2015, p. 1, electronic resource, https://doni.daps.dla.mil/Directives/03000%20Naval%20Operations%20and%20Readiness/03-00%20General%20Operations%20and%20Readiness%20Support/3050.27.pdf, last assessed 5 October 2016.

35. “Report to Congress on the Annual Long Range Plan for Construction of Naval Vessels for Fiscal year 2016,” Washington D.C., The Office of the Chief of Naval Operations, The Deputy Chief of Naval Operations (Integration of Capabilities and Resources,) March 2015, p. 7. Electronic resources, https://news.usni.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/FY16-30-Year-Shipbuilding-Plan.pdf, last assessed 5 October 2016.

Featured Image: ARLINGTON, Va. (Jan. 12, 2016) Chief of Naval Operations (CNO) Adm. John Richardson delivers remarks during the 28th annual Surface Navy Association (SNA) National Symposium. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Nathan Laird/Released)