I'm not going to bother too much with the Soviet talk or the nuclear war discussions, nor am I going to go paragraph by paragraph. Doing a read over a couple of times, there were a few items that caught my eye. Here they are.
Starting on page 4;
...the maritime component of the National Military Strategy helps us think and plan intelligently for the global use of naval forces from peacetime through global war to war termination. It is a strategy for today's forces, today's capabilities, and today's threats.Fair and direct. Refreshing, especially the realistic focus on "today's" as the authors know that they cannot predict the future, but only prepare for what they can see close.
As you read the whole thing, you can see how wrong they were for anything past 5 years when they thought of specific items. I think that is a good measure - 5 years. We should keep that as a "humble stick" to avoid thinking you are smarter than history.
What is known is that you need to have a versatile, diverse fleet; you need a range of capabilities as you don't really know what and where you are going. You need to know you will have to get anywhere on the globe and project power in the air, on the sea, under the water and ashore, and be prepared to do it 24/7 for a few years. The Army and the Marines have relearned that - methinks we may have forgotten.
Our national maritime strategy is designed: to preserve this country's political identity, framework and institutions; to protect the United States, including its foreign assets ans allies; to foster the country's economic well-being; and to bolster an international order supportive of the vital interests of this country and its allies. To achieve these ends, out national strategy is built on three pillars: deterrence, forward defense, and alliance solidarity.I like that a lot. The whole thing. Put a new date on it and tatoo it on your stern. Note the refreshing lack of promotion of democracy in brutal backwaters or delivering the pizza, condoms, giving away band-aids or other silly notions. Sure, it is good to do such things - but still.....when you break down your budget....this still holds true.
An important part of our cooperative effort has been the Memorandum of Agreement I signed with the Chief of Staff of the Air Force, in September 1982. This agreement accelerated such ongoing efforts as routinely including Air Force units in fleet exercises, developing doctrine and procedures for employment of AWACS and B-52s in maritime missions and identifying ariel refueling requirements. It also led to several new initiatives such as data link and communications interoperability, and joint air combat training ranges.This is something I think we had real good follow-through on and achieved a net gain for our nation over the next few decades. Sure, we don't now play with B-52s as much as we did through the early 90s, but everything else is done so much better than it once was. That being said, you can never have enough tankers; especially now that we don't have anything but F-18 buddy tanking anymore (soon even the S-3 will be gone - real soon - remember the KA-6, A-7, and a bit further back the KA-3).
...while the peacetime presence and crisis response components of our Maritime Strategy are less detailed and formal than the warfighting component, they are no less important. In fact, the volatility of today's international situation suggests that we must expect to employ these elements of our Maritime Strategy in an expanding set of the world's trouble spots. To understand the scope of their worth, we must recognize the chief characteristics of the modern era - a permanent state of what I call violent peace.More accurate than they thought at the time. Another timeless statement.
To channel the course of history, the Soviets foster evolutionary - as well as revolutionary - change and support proxies and surrogates - such as Cuba, Libya, Angola, and North Korea - who do their bidding.Well, the Soviets are gone, but the Communists are still here. They still have Cuba and North Korea. At least Libya and Angola are a net neutral to positive to the West now.
This profusion of crisis and conflict ... ran the gamut from civil unrest in Sri Lanka, to insurgencies in Central and South America, to civil war in Chad, to direct conflict between states in the Persian Gulf.Sri Lanka is still a problem, as is the area in area of Chad (E. Chad and Darfur). The Persian (Arabian) Gulf - no comment there. As for Central and South America - besides Hugo and Co., who would have guessed that all would have turned out as great as it has. CAFTA, Brazil, Argentina, Chile, et al. On balance - very nice if you ignore Hugo.
The international setting is complicated by the proliferation of modern, high-technology weaponry in the Third World. Certainly the most alarming aspect of this proliferation is the growing numbers of nations in positions to acquire mass annihilation weapons - chemical, biological, and even nuclear. Even in the absence of such weapons, impressive conventional arsenals possessed by Third World nations pose an immediate concern. While these weapons do not fundamentally change the causes of instability, they do change the nature of conflict and the threats we face. Naval forces must be prepared to encounter high-technology, combined-arms threats in virtually every ocean of the world.That was written 21 years ago. No Neocons. GWB was still drinking. It was, it is, it will be true and needs to be part of any Maritime Strategy.
The rise of state-sponsored terrorism is a new and disturbing phenomenon. Its unpredictability, worldwide scope, and anonymity render it one of the most insidious threats we face today. Terrorism is not new, but the threat has increased because terrorism has, in some cases, become a preferred arm of state action. If not countered, it can be effective against targeted forwarded-deployed forces. By placing at risk forward-deployed forces, terrorists (and their state sponsors) hope to be abli to intimidate us into withdrawing, thereby undermining our credibility.
Our economy and security require oil from the Persian Gulf and Caribbean, and strategic minerals from southern Africa. Our trade with nations of the Pacific Basin now surpasses that with Europe. Obviously, we have vital stakes in what happens in these and other key areas.Even more true now. Read it again, don't you enjoy the clear, precise, honest description why we need a strong Navy? Nothing fuzzy here - we exist to support the taxpayer's jobs. Their taxes pay for it - they bought it we deliver it. Very clear. Not selfish - honest, and true.
I like this next paragraph because it should be posted on the wall of every Intel Weenie's briefing room to keep them humble - and to remind everyone that they cannot see the future with precision.
As the challenges to peace and stability increase, so do the Soviets' capabilities for global military reach. Their military airlift and sealift have grown significantly. The Soviet Navy, wit a large deck aircraft carrier under construction, is increasingly capable of sustained distant operations. In addition, the Soviets continue to expand and improve their attack submarine force, making it a formidable global threat. They also have enhanced their access to air and naval facilities in key strategic locations, including Ethiopia, South Yemen, Cuba, and Vietnam.Oops. Then again, wasn't 1986 the year the Soviets had a Surface Action Group (I think it had a Kiev Class in it, I could be wrong) cruise through the Gulf of Mexico? (Editorial Note: I have tired of playing a YN3 - so for now on I am just going to paste pictures of the text.)
This sounds so good, but what happened? How did we get lost to the point we are heading to a 200- ship Navy after planning for ~313 or so for the last half decade? Where is the accountability? Where is the focus? Where is the fix before we lose all the human capital at our few remaining ship yards? Where?
The new Maritime Strategy is due out soon. We may have to break out three week plan to talk about it should it become available before the end of the month. Let's see.
What will be interesting is if it will avoid the B-school Bu11sh1t Bingo and buzzword of the week that infects so much Navy writing today. Did you enjoy, I certainly did, the relatively clear language of the 1986 document? On balance, clear, direct, and relatively balanced in tone and language usage. I hope we can avoid 1,001 uses of "Transform(ation)(ational)" and other substitutes for clear thought.
So, that is my broad brush of The Maritime Strategy 1986; what do you think?