Monday, August 18, 2008

Maritime Strategy Monday: Realist, Academic, Historian, Theorist

How do you start an intellectual Naval War? Simple, you publish something like The Center for Strategic & International Studies (CSIS) Arleigh A. Burke Chair in Strategy Anthony H. Cordesman's new report, "Abandon Ship: The Costly Illusion of Unaffordable Transformation."

In general, the Realists embrace the power of good, the Academics are easily seduced by the succubus of perfection - but let's not let my own bias bleed in too much...

The below is collection of selected portions of an email thread (origins described in the disclaimer at bottom) with my comments where needed. As there is no room to put in the entire thread, I think the selected pull quotes outline broadly the multiple camps that helped put together the latest Maritime Strategy and continue to work the issues that revolve around it and its aftermath.

Though there is a lot of violent agreement, the different perspectives represent in general two distinct areas of thought; the Realists who accept imperfection and reflect on historical norms, and the Academics who embrace the complicated, cleverly crafted constructs of the future perfect. The Academics' belief in the wisdom of their own insight often lead them to believe that they have grasped the previously unseen, allowing them to use the alchemy of their desire to transmute the lead of the known into the gold of the hoped for. All would be fine if their opponents would just shut up and do what they say --- but what fun would that be?

Without question, both sides are populated by exceptionally smart, patriotic, and talented writers well versed in their profession. They just happen to see things from different angles and contexts.

Enough of my babble though, let's look at the thread. A style note; I have removed all trace of the author's names and where they work, but otherwise their words are as they came in the email. There are four players here; the two major ones; The Realist and The Academic, and two smaller players; The Theorist and The Historian.

First of all, you need to read Cordesman's article if you have not already, then you will be ready to go.
Here are the parts of the executive summary of Cordesman's article that started it all that I like.
The Navy's procurement policy is in serious disarray. Unrealistic force plans, overoptimistic cost estimates, unrealistic projections of technical feasibility, and inadequate program management have created an unaffordable ship building program, led the Navy to phase out capable ships for new ships it cannot fund, and threaten the US Navy's ability to implement an effective maritime strategy.
The Congressional Budget Office estimates that the execution of the Navy's current 30-year shipbuilding plan would cost an average $25 billion per year, 30 percent above Navy estimates. Cost overruns, such as estimated $1 billion for the CVN-78 aircraft carrier jeopardize the entire program. Overoptimistic cost estimates have led Navy officials to shift funding to the outyears. This will cause a temporary shortfall of carriers and a breach of US law.

Unrealistic cost estimates and doubts about requirements have led to the cancellation of the DDG-1000 guided missile destroyer project. After expenditures of over $10 billion, the program is abandoned at two ships, and the production line of the older Arleigh Burke-class destroyer will be reopened. A similar fate has struck the Littoral Combat Ship program, where a threefold cost increase and unrealistic schedules led to the cancellation of appropriations for the next two ships and to consequential rescheduling of the program. The discrepancy between plans, strategy, and reality will further produce a shortfall of nuclear submarines of up to seven boats over twelve years.
Summarized the shipbuilding, LCS, DDG-1000 tags below well - nothing real new or shocking in the summary.
This reality-strategy disconnect in the entire shipbuilding program is a case study in failed leadership on the part of the most senior officers and civilians in the Navy. No reforms in procurement, changes in program management, cost analysis, and test and evaluation can begin to compensate for taking hard and realistic decisions at the top, and holding senior flag officers, senior civilians, and the Secretary of the Navy accountable.
The correct cure mostly, though ... SECNAV Winter is not the problem. Neither is the present CNO.

If, like me, you initially stopped reading at the Summary be warned before you sing its praises too high - the body of the report isn't all that great in many respects. That being said, I don't want to focus to fisking it - I'll let smarter folks do that - no it is the response to it I am interested in.

Rising to the bait, The Academic starts the conversation,
Perhaps Mr. Cordesman has ammunition to back up his rather shotgunned and scathing assertions,
Yep, hoped for Effect generated - and the argument is joined. The Academic continues,
...(Cordesman) also says:
"A strategy that cannot be implemented or resourced is not a strategy, but rather a critical failure in leadership and management. It is nothing more that a statement of hopes and good intentions without credibility."
There is no blank sheet of paper available to the Navy nor is there a clean slate date when we can say "that was then, this is now." The maritime strategy was plopped down on a whole bunch of existing programs and documents. What Cordesman is missing is the fact that the Navy has a strategy that was developed to actually produce beneficial strategic effects for the US around the world (which it is doing). We have just completed a Global Wargame which is another step in a disciplined process to go from strategy to force structure. This process will probably not produce a definitive position on forces until maybe POM-12 or later, but neither did we put together a clear picture of the "600 ship navy" overnight, much less the Big Blue Fleet that won WWII in the Pacific. Regardless of preexisting difficulties, current leadership (including Mullen) should get credit for putting the rudder over in the best possible way - turning the Navy into a strategically thinking organization.
Interesting disconnect. We seem to be inside our own OODA Loop. If we are so lost, then who is being held responsible (including Mullen)? Who had the con while when we got lost? When did we stop thinking Strategically? Why? Did we really, or did only certain parts? Nice start.
If we can weather the spurious critiques such as this, I predict the Navy will be looking real good about this time next year.
Ick. Being dismissive of an opposing force gets you killed at sea; intellectually it can make you look a itty-bit arrogant and your argument vulnerable. There are holes in the article, and in some places can bring a giggle or harumph -- but it isn't a total fabrication --- nor are better critiques like it. Don't dismiss, dismember.

Back to the email. From the deep reaches of cyberspace's To: and Cc: lines though, the battle-hardened and over-caffeinated Realist just can help himself and responds.
The bottom line is that until the Navy demonstrates it can design affordable ships and execute a stable shipbuilding program within reasonable future budget projections, it will continue to take these shots, deserved or not. This is true regardless of the soundness of the strategy. The "inside the beltway political maneuvering" --which I see collectively as the strategic budgeting know, the part about Congress maintaining a an important part of making any strategy a reality. I don't think you should dismiss it so lightly.
Now don't get me wrong. I think there is a lot of good in the maritime strategy. However, I am less convinced than you it is some sort of seminal document. It conforms with the broad outlines of cooperative partnership building outlined in the 2004-2005 National Defense and National Military Strategies and 2006 QDR. It is a nice packaging of many traditional naval concepts of persistent forward presence, etc. It codifies the transition to two fleet hubs which occurred after the end of the Cold War. It elevates maritime security and HA/DR to core capabilities (I would argue these always were core capabilities). But it is so very broad that almost any force structure the Navy comes up with from here out could be "justified" by the strategy. Still a lot of work to do.

With The Realist's cannonade reverberating through his hull, The Academic starts to back off a bit .. just a little ... as the battle has now moved far beyond the initial catalysis.
On the other hand, I think it can be used as a criterion for judging the suitability and acceptability of various options. Feasibility is at least partially a matter of issues outside the strategy such as valid cost estimating, etc. At heart, the document is a strategic communication. I believe this because of the reaction I have seen from naval colleagues around the world (even China), which has been positive in ways I did not anticipate. In a similar vein, the Global game we just did, with the participation of reps from 19 other navies, served as both an analytical tool and a vehicle for the execution of the strategy.
Ungh. Quickly falling into the pit of the Global Maritime Partnership (nee 1,000 Ship Navy), seduced by the fool's gold that ignores the experience of Afghanistan and JTF-HOA when it comes to relying on other nations to execute your Strategy and achieve your desired End State. There is one simple word that needs to be said; caveats.

We should be a Navy with global reach, not a Global Navy. 19 nations are not under the control of the CINC, and are not accountable to the American taxpayer.
In the context of the way that machinery operates, the number is both reasonable and justifiable. Until he has something underpinned by newer and supportable analysis, the CNO can't easily jump around to other numbers. As the Navy's Strategic Planning Process matures and progressive issues of the Navy Strategic Plan flow into the N8 processes, we are liable to see the number change, but this will take a while. In the meantime, the CNO has to manage the atmospherics of transitioning from the process we have had for some years to the new one. I don't see how he moves off 313 without support from the new process, despite what you and many others justifiably see as quite apparent and compelling disconnects between budget realities and the POR.
There. You had to throw in N8 and POR somewhere, didn't you? He is, of course, exactly right. Pesky facts again.

Then again, I want everyone to think of the build-up of the navy from '39 to '45 (same time frame as 2002 to 2008) and then read that quote again then flow right to the next. You will start to see, if you don't work in it, the self-generating bureaucratic goo that we are stuck in. The Mastodons and Saber Tooth Tigers still think that it is simply mud. They are too close - they just don't see it.
The maritime strategy development process explicitly and persistently banned any talk of numbers or types of ships, mostly to avoid the wrangling that was going on between the supporters and detractors of the "3/1 Strategy." There are some folks who adamantly hold to the notion of a general purpose force and others who are equally passionate about the need for a tailored force. These opinions seem to be cultural rather than analytic. There is no solution by continuing to argue at the level of budgets and forces; you have to, as Mullen ordered us, "elevate the discussion." We did, and that discussion was hard enough. There did not seem to be any way to get to force structure in good order given our geostrategic starting point and the time we had available. Ten months down the road from the strategy's signing, Global Wargame didn't even get us there. The N8 folks will have to take the game's output and figure out what it all means in terms of numbers and types.
Tar. Hot, sticky, thick tar. Look at that time line again.
Off the top rope! The Realist warms my heart.
At the risk of turning this into a blog (!): We are in broad agreement. Lots of change going on. Coupled with uncertainty over the next administration, the planning horizon is extremely muddled. Navy is well served by sticking with the strategy and riding out the turbulence until things start to clear. In the meantime, lots of choppy water ahead, especially on the program side.
The 1980s maritime strategy benefited from being congruent with war planning. And I would note that the 600-ship Navy was already built in the mind of John Lehman before the strategy was published; just read the speech he gave on the day he was sworn in: 15 CVBGs, 4 BBSAGs, 100 SSNs, etc, etc. The numbers drove the strategy as much as the strategy drove the numbers. The strategy's great usefulness was to explain broadly how we intended to use the 600 ships in time of war, and the strategic value the nation would get from building them. Congress bought was sold, and the Navy was off to the races.
Perfect. Cutting to the core,
... the big question is not whether the strategy is a good or bad one, it is this: can we design a "300-ship Navy" that is affordable over the long run?
The Realist also deflates The Theorist's recurring theme of The Maritime Strategy --- that it is a Strategic Communications device. If so, they were too clever by half in that it undermines the whole. If they wanted it to be, or others are going to use it as a StratCom device, that would explain some of the problems I have with it.
I see the current maritime strategy as simply telling the world how we intend to use the ships we build for war in peacetime. That is quite fine as far as it goes, and is very good for strategic communication. However, I think the Navy made a fundamental mistake by not making this point perfectly clear up front, since, it seems to me, that Congress still buys a Navy fundamentally to win wars. Hence their frustration in the strategy not saying more about how the Navy intends to handle China.
Exactly the concern many of you have voiced here.
...there is as great a value to telling the Congress in unclassified strategies how the Navy will help defend the homeland, win the Long War, contend with Chinese anti-access strategies, and confront nuclear-armed regional adversaries as there is to tell our allies how we intend to work with them in cooperative maritime partnerships in peacetime. That is the real way to garner resources.
Here he hits again at what I see as a critical failure in parts of our MarStrat -- hoping other nations will supply the means to do our job. It is a false hope, and hope isn't a strategy. We always have and will work with other navies, often with great success - often without. One thing we must keep in mind is that they, like us, have their own nation's interests at heart. Nations have permanent interests; not permanent allies. Allies can go away at any moment - a Fleet takes decades to build.
As The Theorist attempts to disengage, he returns to his argument that Operational concerns should be influenced and directed by the Strategy and not the other way around. True at first glance from a static, academic, and doctrinal point of view; the hierarchy of Strategic-Operational-Tactical is sound and exact, but historical fact describes a more complicated interrelationship.

The French and German Strategic reasons for invading Russia were sound, but the Operational concerns of logistical support, reinforcements (..and in the German case insufficient long range air..) negated the Strategic goals. The Strategy must be informed by Operational and fiscal reality or it is just a academic paper lying around and getting in the way of getting the job done. Intellectual gear adrift is an invitation for Strategic failure. It must be secured by reality. The point,
In any case, it isn't that I don't get that force structure is and should be driven by things other than the maritime strategy; I just don't think that the strategy should be created as a justification for force structure, regardless of how it was derived. It seems to me that Cordesman is saying just the opposite. There are too many subtle ways the strategy dog can be wagged by the operational tail - and making strategy a handmaiden of DC political maneuvering is one.
The dog and the tail's relationship is much more complicated - at least with my dog.
At this point in the discussion, a third player comes in; The Historian. He is just having too much fun and doesn't want anyone to disengage. I agree.
Jumpin' Jehoshaphat, gents! Don't stop now!

This is the best dialogue on the connection between strategy and force structure that I've heard/read in a long tim
True. True.

After a review of what happened in the 1980s (I would love to publish that in whole, maybe later), The Historian gives a 1-2-3 that just nails it, and provides a bridge between The Realist and The Academic.
First, the application of enduring principles of American sea power will help navigate the way ahead: resolute flexibility; global strategic mobility; exploiting the external lines of communication; persistence and sustainability; the preference for the offensive; leveraging maritime coalitions when possible; and defending the global system.

Second, it makes no sense to disconnect the strategic planning process from the force structure design and acquisition process. If I am wrong about any of this say so, but as near as I can tell, the irony here is that what is meant to be a sequential process - this is what we are going to do; this is how we are going to do it; this is what we are going to do it with; this is what we need to do it -- has been disrupted by consolidating it in the Navy's programming process. This dispenses with the special qualifications for and independence of the first two steps. If the last two steps come first (this is what we are going to do it with; and this is what we need to do it), it makes no difference where the rest is written down , whether at the Naval War College, on the Navy Staff, in the Fleets, or in conversations with the country.

Third, we don't have it right yet, in part because the entire national strategic planning process has broken down. You would never know it, given the proliferation of scores of so-called "National Strategy for XXX" documents.
...and then brings it all up to date.
If you think about it, our strategic constructs have no basis for coming to grips in a substantive way with the Russian invasion of Georgia. It's one thing to have to say "we want to deploy, but can't get there", as in Hungary in 1956 and Czechoslovakia in 1968. It's another to ask if we're supposed to do something.

Less than a year ago, the 6th Fleet Commander declared that we no longer needed naval forces in the Mediterranean. Just after his tour finished, the Russians deployed into the North Atlantic and the Med. I'll bet you a vodka martini on the rocks with six olives at the Pentagon City Ritz Carlton lobby bar that Moscow read his remarks before deciding to deploy. C6FLT presented the North Sea Fleet commander an intellectual and geostrategic gap of historic proportions that was too good to pass up.
Skippy, that was your buddy!
Frankly, I'm tired of the Navy getting beaten up and knocked around. American maritime power is of epochal importance to us and everyone else. We have a good story to tell, and we should tell it well, having convinced ourselves first, and then get down to the business of designing, building, and operating the fleet.

Others outside the Navy are thinking this through, in this country and elsewhere, obviously in preparation for a new administration. I recommend that you read the attached Center for New American Security Solarium Strategy Series document, "Making America Grand Again: Toward a New Grand Strategy", by Shawn Brimley, Michèle A. Flournoy, Vikram J. Singh, June, 2008. It argues for using as an organizing principle the application of American power and influence to sustain the international system upon which all modern states depend.
Absolutely outstanding advice.
The Theorist starts to get a bit annoyed and retreats, sadly, a bit to the redoubt of the intellectual - of bit of talking down to the unwashed heathen masses.
...we conducted a long strategic game to explore the possible challenge and response cycles among key strategic actors over the next 20 years. In doing so, we discovered that all states, including Iran and North Korea, had some kind of stake in the effective functioning of the current global system. In a certain sense, it looked to some of us like the world has reset itself to the period before August, 1914. The outbreak of WWI halted the globalization process that was in full swing at that time (see Niall Ferguson's book The War of the World), and the downstream effects of that disaster continued until the Soviet Union fell. US maritime strategies in that 75 year "dark age" had a clear context of warfighting against militant, geopolitically dangerous Eurasian hegemons. Today's geopolitical conditions are fundamentally different and the context of a maritime strategy must follow suit. Our answer to context was defense of the global system of commerce and security, and specifically the prevention of war among major powers. This approach might have been much more intelligible to the cognizenti of 1900 than it is to those contemporaries who think exclusively in terms of the 20th Century dark age.
No, no, no, no ... and damblit no! Let me pull some economic history into this perhaps. Globalization has ebbed and flowed throughout history. Mercantilistic global interdependencies have always been with us. The Romans have been here. The Renaissance players have been here.

But, ah ha - wait! Who said that the Cold War was a dark age? The huge growth in the Free World's standard of living in that time and the advance of technology and trade doesn't seem so dark, but ... here we go. The Theorist finds a little political angle, i.e. the problem is US power and if we surrender our power - we will gain Strategically. The worst of Albrightism.
A Canadian colleague said we have created a strategy of co-option. We are trying, he says, to bring as many nations as possible into the fold of cooperation by offering benefits, much as the US did in the post-WWII era when it stitched together the grand system of alliances to counter an expansionist Soviet Union. In that era, offering a defensive umbrella to nations who could not defend themselves from the Soviets was the benefit. Today, the implied benefit in the maritime strategy is that the US will act as a status quo power and itself operate within the confines of the system (via this implicit promise, the Sea Services have written a policy check to the world that future administrations may or may not cash). That is no small carrot to nations that have been spooked by our post-Cold War and especially our post-9/11 actions in Iraq and elsewhere. This soothing effect was illustrated to me when we were conducting a maritime strategy seminar over at Shrivenham, England at their staff college. At one point during a discussion of defense of the global system, a retired Royal Navy flag officer got a thoughtful look on his face and said he thought this approach denoted a return of "American benevolence." He was groping for the right words, and perhaps benevolence is not the right term, but I think the important word is "return" - as if we have not been very benevolent lately. Similarly, the press the maritime strategy is getting in China is more positive than that emanating from inside the Beltway. Given a choice I would opt for plaudits from the PRC. Cooption may have a shot.
Then again, it might not; and at what cost if you are wrong? I ask, in a world governed by the use and abuse of force, when has it been better to be like than to be respected? What has the track record of best preserving the national interest?

Oops, a little more talking down here. Not a good thing to do if you want to sell others on your ideas.
If you follow and accept the rationale I have set out so far, you might get a glimmer that attempting to calculate force structure from the additive requirements of potential MCOs did not relate well to the logic that was emerging from our analysis, nor did it seem advisable to ask ourselves first what kind of Navy we thought Congress might give us and spin out a story from there.

Others can make that argument better. One thing I do know about The Realist - he doesn't like being talked down to.
I must frankly admit I am taken aback by your very good and detailed explanation. It went along way toward confirming what I have long thought, but not really confirmed. Bottom line up front: I guess you must count me as one who thinks the Navy went WAY off the reservation. I apologize if my following reply is too blunt; I am quite fired up. With that said, here goes:
Realists often have blunt, but effective tools.
You actually undercut your own argument by writing: "A Canadian colleague said we have created a strategy of co-option. We are trying, he says, to bring as many nations as possible into the fold of cooperation by offering benefits, much as the US did in the post-WWII era when it stitched together the grand system of alliances to counter an expansionist Soviet Union." Exactly. These alliances were part of a grand strategy aimed at both protecting the global system and preventing war with another great power. The "dark age" was actually quite enlightened. Moreover, unlike the cognizenti of 1900, the strategy actually worked after 1945.
This point brings great light to the discussion.
...that this entire effort was less trying to develop a service "strategy" and more an attempt to propose a national grand strategy: "Today, the implied benefit in the maritime strategy is that the US will act as a status quo power and itself operate within the confines of the system (via this implicit promise, the Sea Services have written a policy check to the world that future administrations may or may not cash). ... let me be perfectly blunt: The US Navy, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard HAVE NO FRIGGIN BUSINESS MAKING ANY SUCH a PROMISE, IMPLIED OR OTHERWISE. I am absolutely astounded you and your cohorts could conceive otherwise.
Right at the heart of the ill-conceived globalist agenda.

He also points out a danger to all Academics; they can often forget what team they are on.
Then you say: "Similarly, the press the maritime strategy is getting in China is more positive than that emanating from inside the Beltway. Given a choice I would opt for plaudits from the PRC. Cooption may have a shot." Well. I'm not sure how I should respond to this. The entire US approach toward China across successive administrations has been to encourage its assimilation into the global system and to be a responsible stakeholder. I would prefer not to use the term co-option in our dealing with China; I think it is a loaded term that will actually work against our long established strategic aims. Be that as it may, there is no way the Navy should take credit for being the first to foster such a notion. Furthermore, the people inside the beltway you keep dissing include the Congress--the elected reps of the American people--who are tasked with maintaining the Navy. Unless I am mistaken, the PRC doesn't buy US Navy ships and planes. I therefore think you should be far more concerned if your strategy is not resonating with the Congress than more happy that the Chinese are saying it's great. Regardless of the nice words emanating from the PRC, this strategy will not change the Chinese build up of a formidable anti-access network aimed squarely at the US 7th Fleet, or the need for the US Navy to respond directly to it.
As many of us have been saying with SECDEF Gates; there is a lot of next-war-itis out there. Next-war-itis delenda est!
I am calming down somewhat. The current strategy is PERFECTLY aligned with national strategy in its embrace of pursuing cooperative relationships and working through and with partners. It follows, it does not lead. But it has some serious shortcomings, chief among them: it doesn't explain fully how the US Navy will help win the war we're in, or which wars it is most concerned about deterring. For example, I was told by a principal author of the strategy that after great debate, the consensus was that the sea services had no major role to play in the "GWOT"/Long War, etc, in the maritime environment. I disagree fundamentally with this. If this is a Navy position, they should expect to lose budget share, and would deserve it if that happened.
In sum, by attempting to develop a new grand strategy rather than explaining how the US Navy supports the current national defense strategy, I think the Navy did indeed wander far off the reservation, and squandered a golden opportunity.

Via The Academic, the fourth player comes in at this point; The Theorist.

In response to the original article, he provides some background to a frustration many of us have; donde esta el shipbuilding plan?
...VERY SENIOR Navy leaders (were asked) about force structure and strategy. ... were (we) to produce a strategy that supported the 313 ship Navy. "No" was the answer. What if we produce a strategy that would logically infer a smaller Navy...was this ok? "Yes" Was the answer. What if the strategy logically infers a larger Navy? "No problem" was the answer. So we went and did our job. I think even a casual reading of the document would infer a larger Navy more globally distributed than the one we have today (which is incidentally, some 30 ships or so shy of even the 313 ship figure...I believe that the Navy MUST put out a new shipbuilding plan, one that responds to operational planning, strategic thinking, budgetary realities and telling the truth with numbers and dollars. And I think the Navy has done itself a disservice by not putting that plan out already.
(Linkage to force plan, modernization plan, program or budget)
I am disappointed that the Navy hasn't moved out faster to provide this linkage. This was the unspoken assumption when we put out a strategy that did not have a force structure. We wanted to get the ideas out there without the fratricide of a force structure debate, and put off the bloodletting for later. That bloodletting should have occurred by now.
That is follow-through leadership. Speaking of gear adrift, DDG-1000 ...
If we were going to advocate a "maritime boots on the ground" strategy of sustaining a global system favorable to us, we couldn't do it with 6 or 8 $3.8B ships. We needed NUMBERS, and the shipbuilding plan we had before us didn't support it. In some forum or another, someone (maybe one of you!) asked me directly what I thought might happen, and termination of DD1000 was the first thing I answered (as on opinion). The strategy gave CNO and others the arrows they needed in their quiver. That they chose not to fire them is disappointing, and perhaps reflective of the limited traction the document has gotten.
The Theorist then makes a step to playing peacemaker.
I stand in awe of those who worked so hard to create the Maritime Strategy of the 80's. They produced an ideology and documents that were visionary, far-reaching, and inspirational. That they did so under the rubric a coherent grand strategy (essentially unchanged at that point for 30 plus years), and budgets flush with support is not their fault. The perfect storm occurred then, and they got it right.

But theirs is not the only way, and in time, perhaps this new approach will also be successful. But in a world in which we do not have the luxury of deducing grand strategy (and maritime strategy) from the machinations of a single opponent, the move to a defensive strategy always struck me as a good it seems to strike the CNAS folks too.

Best to all of you, and thanks to those who made it this far.
Nice shot - but he brings up a question for me. Do we want a defensive strategy? Is that a strategy for victory?
We have one more run by The Historian.
...if the navy is committed to shaping, where is the added year in the Naval academy curriculum for language training and study abroad to prepare new officers for these tasks? Where is the funding for additional fleet billets for language-trained personnel? Have Naval Attaché billets been doubled, or even increased?
What an outstanding point. There are some of our finest officers out front, alone and unafraid, waiting in this area for the Navy to catch up. Perhaps too late for the early adopters, but what about our sharp JOs who want to take this path?

The Historian also provides a strong response to The Academic's attempt along with others, to shoehorn the globalist agenda in The Maritime Strategy.
...watching CNO Rougheads introductory briefing at Newport, presented in front of practically the entire international class of Navy Chiefs. He mentioned the idea of defending the global system once, in passing. If defending the global system was central to the current strategy, wouldn't CNO have been leaning forward, figuratively poking the audience in the chest, telling them that the U.S. Navy was declaring its intent to protect, preserve, and command the maritime commons for the use of all because the world had changed dramatically in the last 20 years; that the 21st century global economy was radically different from earlier periods; that the Navy would do so because our mutual security depended upon it; that this included for the benefit of potential strategic competitors like China; and that he was inviting the Navy Chiefs to sign up to participate for the common good, behind American leadership and to American specifications? CNO Roughead certainly did not do this, nor does strategy say this. Without this, its a bit of a stretch to claim an achievement for the current strategy.
I will wind up where The Historian wound up -- bringing the clear lessons of the past into the situation we find ourselves in today -- and why if today's MarStrat leaves you feeling unsated, you are not alone.
Admiral Hayward's thinking had the added virtue of being immediately, intuitively obvious, despite its direct and career threatening contradiction of the prevailing conventional wisdom. He pointed out what the Navy had to do, in quite explicit terms.

I guess my point is that the ADM Hayward Maritime Strategy was hardwired into the Navy system. The current strategy isn't. That may be why ADM Roughead is asking Michelle Flournoy for advice.
For my readers: I know many of you have this email as well. All I ask is if you comment to extend the courtesy and not reveal the names involved - use the ones I did. Also of interest, Galrahn discussed Cordesman's report earlier last week as well.
Disclaimer: Doing my best to parallel the "fair use doctrine" the above are selections are from a ~26 page email thread by some of the best thinkers in Navy matters. After one attempt to get an author's permission to post in full, I received a "Who are you and who are you affiliated with.." responses. You could almost hear the shields going up. As a result, I have kept the authors unidentified by name and instead gave them descriptive names. My apologies to the authors of the email if they are not happy that they have not been given credit by name - but being who they are I am sure they are happy they are not. I hope they do not mind my using their quotes - though as they state better some ideas we have heard here and in other places over the last year+ - I felt they needed a larger audience. Also, I have received multiple copies of this email by readers and therefore consider it in the public domain. My readers sent it to me knowing what I do in light of CDR Salamander being a open forum. They know this was an important conversation to share, and I agree.

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