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The Naval power and National Security Case for the Maritime Strategy Linton F. Brooks I F o r the past five years, U.S. Navy officers and their civilian colleagues have been taking to heart the centuries-old dictum of the first great theorist of conflict, Sun Tzu: they have been studying war. While military reformers have focused on the need for improved military strategy in a land campaign, a renaissance of strategic thinking has been taking place within the U.S. Navy. This renaissance has been marked by a series of internal and external discussions and debates in which naval strategy has received more attention than in any peacetime period since the days of Alfred Thayer Mahan.’ One important result has been to weave traditional naval thinking into a coherent concept for using early, forceful, global, forward deployment of maritime power both to deter war with the Soviet Union and to achieve U.S. war aims should deterrence fail. The concept, which has come to be called ”The Maritime Strategy,” was initially codified in classifiedinternal Navy documents in 1982 The author wishes to thank Rear Admiral William Pendley, Captains Thomas Daly, Michael Hughes, and Peter Swartz, Lieutenant Commander JosephBenkert, and Mr. Bradford Dismukes for their assistance. All have contributed to the development of the Maritime Strategy as well as to this paper; none are responsible for the use I have made of their thoughts and insights. Linton F. Brooks is a N a y Captain now serving as Director of Defense Programs on the staff of the National Security Council. 1. For a bibliographic summary of the professional debate, see Captain Peter M. Swartz, ”Contemporary U.S. Naval Strategy: A Bibliography,”Supplement to U.S. Naval Institute Proceedings, January 1986, pp. 4147, and his ”1986 Addendum” to the bibliography, U.S. Naval Institute Proceedings (hereinafter cited as Proceedings), forthcoming. Both the volume of the literature and the seniority of the military authors are significant. See, for example, AdmiralJames D. Watkins, “The Maritime Strategy,” Supplement to U.S. Naval Institute Proceedings, January 1986, pp. 217 ; Admiral Sylvester R. Foley, Jr., ”Strategic Factors in the Pacific,” Proceedings, Vol. 111, No. 8 (August 1985), pp. 34-38; Admiral Wesley McDonald, ”Mine Warfare: A Pillar of Maritime Strategy,” Proceedings, Vol. 111, No. 10(October 1985),pp. 46-53; and Vice Admiral H.C. Mustin, ”The Role of the Navy and Marines in the Norwegian Sea,” Naval War CollegeReview (hereinafter cited as NWC Review), Vol. 39, No. 2 (March-April 1986), pp. 2-7. Contrast these articles by the Chief of Naval Operations, Commanders-in-Chief of the Atlantic and Pacific Fleets, and Commander of NATO’s Striking Fleet Atlantic, all appearing within eight months, with the historical paucity of articles on strategy in Navy professional literature documented in Linton F. Brooks, “An Examination of Professional Concerns of Naval Officers as Reflected in Their Professional Journal,” NWC Review, Vol. 33, No. 1 (January-February 1980), pp. 46-56. Only three articles by flag officers on any aspect of strategy appeared in a typical five-year period in the 1960s. Of 719 articles in Proceedings during 1964-1968, only two were directly concerned with overall naval strategy. InternationalSecurity, Fall 1986 (Vol. 11, No. 2) 0 1986by the President and Fellows of Harvard College and of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. 58 Naval Power and National Security I 59 and was gradually revealed to public scrutiny through Congressional testimony and public statements culminating in a January 1986 Supplement to the Proceedings of the United States Naval Institute, the professional journal of the Navy and Marine Corps2This supplement, jointly authored by the Secretary of the Navy, Chief of Naval Operations, and Commandant of the Marine Corps, has been called ”the nearest thing to a British ‘White Paper’ . . . that we are likely to encounter in the American political ~ystem.”~ Both uniformed and civilian experts agree that the days of separate land, sea, and air strategies are long gone. No meaningful single-servicestrategy is possible in the modern era, a fact that the Navy has recognized both in its increasingly frequent references to the Maritime Strategy as ”the maritime component of the National Military Strategy”4and in its explicit...