A naval philosophy of space—the application of naval organizations and traditions to the use of space—would permit full integration of efforts from sea and land into the heavens. Under this philosophy, we would think in terms of voyages rather than missions. A team-oriented concept of crew would prevail, not the lone eagle approach that shaped the conquest of the air, but led to organizational schisms. More important, we would exploit space not as a separate region, but as a continuation of the spectrum of media—from the ocean depths to the heavens above—in which mankind can live and explore for extended periods in a mutually supportive fashion.
As regards defense, requiring a naval tone is not a nuance. Underlying the Navy's efforts to ensure mastery of the seas is the realization that the ultimate purpose of such mastery is to affect directly events on the land. Inherent in the natural jointness of the naval approach shared by the Navy and Marine Corps, is the history of integration of forces capable of acting throughout the earthly spectrum of land, sea and air. Thus it is natural for naval forces to view such wartime missions as close air support as integral to, not separate from, the range of missions conducted by naval air forces.
A naval philosophy toward spacefaring and space defense would ensure that "close space support" would not become an orphaned mission in any battle for the outer reaches. At the same time, the core competencies of the expeditionary naval services could be applied to extended deployments in space during peace and times of potential conflict.
Space is not just an extension of the air. Space is an ocean, and oceans are where navies go.
Commander Tangredi is Head of the Strategy and Concepts Branch, Office of the Chief of Naval Operations.