In light of global economic and strategic realities, here’s how the Navy of the future might look.
American sea power is clearly coming to a crossroads. Demand for naval forces is rising as U.S. ground troops withdraw from the Middle East and maritime competitions heat up in the Western Pacific and Indian oceans. Federal budgets are tightening while the Navy is becoming increasingly expensive to build and maintain. With this widening gap between resources and demands, the United States may have to fundamentally change what it expects from sea power. Some missions or platforms may be left behind to protect the nation’s most vital maritime capabilities. A new national strategy may be needed to sustainably pursue America’s security interests. The challenge facing national leaders is whether this new direction will result from a series of ad hoc decisions or be guided by careful assessment of what America will really need from its naval forces.