It is a truism that the chief function of a navy is to wage war upon the sea, and all other functions are but derivatives of this chief one. Thus a navy may be a powerful instrument in the maintenance of peace, but only in proportion to its preparedness and efficiency for war, since without these a navy becomes but a meaningless and powerless aggregation of ships. In fact, an inefficient navy may actually become a menace to peace by leading to a false sense of strength and security in the minds of those statesmen and diplomats of a country charged with its policies and international relations. As a case in point may be cited the Spanish Navy before the Spanish-American War. The Spanish statesmen, relying upon a mere physical valuation of their navy, maintained certain policies which led to war; which they would surely not have done could they have read with the clear, prophetic eye of Admiral Cervera that the efficiency of their navy as an instrument of war was so woefully inadequate.
Naval Efficiency and Command of the Sea
By Lieut. Commander Lyman A. Cotten, U. S. Navy