In the past year, naval forces have transitioned from conventional combat operations to a complex global politico-military role in support of deterrence, counterterrorism, economic growth, and political stability. Fortunately, they are well suited to the job.
As the U.S. Navy sails deeper into the 21st century, it is charting a new course. The global war on terror and the defeat of Saddam Hussein in April 2003 fundamentally altered the threats we face, changing in important ways the means by which naval forces enhance security around the world. The relationship between operations and strategy in the maritime context must be reevaluated. Time is of the essence, because as one security analyst wrote recently, "There is evidence that the al Qaeda terrorist grouping has taken note of the value and vulnerability of the maritime sector." 1