Prize Essay 1971
SECOND HONORABLE MENTION
The Administration’s public words and international actions of late suggest that President Nixon perceives the “blue water option” to be an attractive strategic prospect. And, of the many moves that must be made, one move—involving our Minuteman missiles—must be made now, while there is yet time.
In six years the United States of America will celebrate its two-hundredth anniversary. The political-military policies adopted in the next half decade will determine in large measure the broad outlines of American grand strategy for the first years of America’s third century. The slowly emerging implications of the Nixon Doctrine seem to indicate that oceans, ships, and maritime prowess will play a far greater role in the U. S. defense posture than in any time since the 1930s, when the U. S. Navy was the first line of defense.
The main points of the Nixon Doctrine are now clear: America will carry out existing treaty commitments; it will not undertake any new formal Asian commitment or new deployment of ground troops to the continent of Eurasia; primary military reliance will be placed on conventional air and naval power; nuclear threats will be deterred by counter-poised nuclear capacity; and greater stress will be given to international economic and socio-political assistance. The key policy problems will result from meshing international situations with the proper forms of power—military, economic, political, or moral. What is called for seems to be a new American foreign policy dedicated to preventing World War III and to protecting America’s vital interests at home and abroad.
President Richard M. Nixon’s first annual State of the World address, coupled with policy decisions linked to the Nixon Doctrine (accelerating Vietnamization and increase of oceanic power in the Mediterranean), are evidence of the beginning of a realistic re-examination of America’s proper role in the world. Out of this re-examination will come a new foreign policy, a new military policy, a new mix of weapons systems and force levels, and the modified political, economic, and social institutions to carry out these new policies.
Today, after nearly two centuries of independence, the doubt and uncertainty concerning America’s role in the world and concern for society and tranquility at home may be only a temporary phenomenon and symptomatic of an old policy dying and a new one aborning. It seems inevitable that Vietnamization will soon have its counterpart, Europeanization of America’s commitment to Western Europe, with our allies taking upon themselves a greater share of their own defense. Thus on both edges of the great Eurasian land mass, American political-military policy is being re-examined, and it appears inevitable that most of the troops introduced on the continent of Eurasia as the direct or indirect result of World War II will be coming home. Yet, judging from the happenings of the fall of 1970 in the Eastern Mediterranean and the Levant, it is apparent that the U. S. Fleet will stay in the Atlantic, the Western Pacific, and in the Eastern Mediterranean, protecting the rimlands and the peace for the remaining decades of the 20th century.
Essentially, from 1945 to 1969, American foreign policy attempted to preserve the status quo created by the twin victories in Europe and Asia. By and large, our postwar political, economic, and military policies were eminently successful. The Red Army has not moved one inch forward, and prosperity has returned to Western Europe. American military power prevented border changes in Korea and Taiwan. Japan has rebuilt its industrial base until it is the third most productive nation in the world. Only in Southeast Asia and Western Asia (the Middle East) has the quarter-century of American application of measured disciplined power been less successful—partly because of the difficulty of re-establishing order in two areas of the world where traditional British and French spheres of influence had clashed for 150 years. A more fundamental cause for the failure is the nearness of Western Asia to the traditional geo-strategic interests and thrusts of the Soviet Union and the proximity of Southeast Asia to the borders of an awakening, militant, and thermonuclear-armed Communist China.
During the next few years, our policy-makers must digest the changed international reality brought about by the spread of nuclear weapons and the rise of new power centers, and they must create new or revised policies that take these changes into account. It also seems likely that these years will witness a slow disengagement from the continental aberrations made necessary by our victories in World War II and by the postwar aggressiveness of the Soviet Union.
This disengagement does not have to be—and indeed is not—the same as the nationalism and isolationism of 1815-1917 or 1920-1941. Obviously it will not resemble the interventionism and internationalism of either 1776-1814, 1917-1919, or 1941-1969. What the changed international reality and circumstances do imply, however, is a much greater reliance on oceanic power, a reliance that will require a rebuilding program for the U. S. Fleet comparable to the naval buildup under Teddy Roosevelt or the abortive naval building program of Woodrow Wilson.
Walter Lippmann, speculating in 1964 on the post-Vietnam era, said: “A policy of stabilization in Southeast Asia demands that the American power and presence in the South Pacific shall not be withdrawn when our troops withdraw from South Vietnam. On the contrary, we should strengthen our position in the South Pacific. We should be able to do this if we do not forget, as we have allowed ourselves to forget, that we are a sea and air power.” Lippmann, although he may not have realized it, was making the case for what is currently called the “blue water option.”
What we are witnessing can be regarded as the beginnings of the Americanization of our foreign policy. The years 1971-1976 most likely will be the transition years between two very old policies that have competed with each other since the beginnings of our Republic: isolationism and interventionism. A defense of the Eurasian rimland and our homeland would entail a policy halfway between these two extremist solutions. The oceanic, naval, or blue water option is the only option that can carry out the Nixon Doctrine and simultaneously meet the pressing needs of American society at home. And, from the Administration’s public words and recent international actions, it seems that the Nixon shift toward the naval option is already progressing. This shift, if fully carried out in the next six years, can rebuild our military forces and recast our alliances and commitments to meet and match the changing international reality and circumstances of this era of transition and negotiation and to create in the process a new political-military-economic-social base.
President Nixon, in a Los Angeles news conference on 30 July 1970, responding to a question concerning military preparedness, delivered a classic dissertation on modern political-military policy, and in effect adopted the oceanic option. Coincidentally, presidential actions since then have been very consistent with an unfolding oceanic strategy. The President, first tackling the question of strategic nuclear war, said: “If there is a war between the Soviet Union and the United States, there will be no winners. There will be only losers. The Soviet Union knows this, and we know that . . . . And that is why it is very much in our interest in the SALT talks to work out an arrangement, if we can, one which will provide for the interests of both and yet not be in derogation of the necessity of our having sufficiency, and their having sufficiency.”
President Nixon then made a point concerning the relative military strength of the United States and Soviet Union. “What the Soviet Union needs,” the President reminded his listeners, “. . . is different from what we need. They’re a land power, primarily, with a great potential enemy on the east. We’re primarily, of course, a sea power and our needs, therefore, are different.”
The President was historically correct. For most of this Republic’s existence, from 1775 to 1945, the United States was “primarily, of course, a sea power.” Neglect of the fleet in the postwar period was caused primarily by an almost total obsession with the unusable power of land-based strategic nuclear weapons. In the 1960s the inability to replace or modernize the Fleet because of the resources drain caused by the Vietnamese War have threatened to impair the readiness, modernity, and sufficiency of the Fleet, now about 700 ships strong.
But the Soviet surge to the sea during the 1960s—a fond dream of Tsars and commissars since the 17th century days of Peter the Great—has caught the U. S. public and many leaders almost by surprise. House Armed Forces Chairman L. Mendell [sic] Rivers warned, “If we are not already a second-rate naval power, we are perilously close to becoming so.” But most civilians and liberal intellectuals will credit these warnings as another case of crying “wolf, wolf” or brand them the products of special interests and pleadings. They will also chalk down as budget window-dressing General Accounting Office warnings on the combat readiness of the Navy’s Atlantic Fleet and the Sixth Fleet: “Approximately 80% of the major ships in the Atlantic Fleet are over ten years old, and 50% are over 20 years. In April 1969, the average age of the ships of the Sixth Fleet was 18.3 years.”
On the other hand, 60% of the Soviet Fleet is less than ten years and only about 2% is over 20 years.
What happened during the 1960s was the surging of Soviet naval power and the continuing decline of American seapower except for the fleet ballistic submarine force and the heavy carrier task force that barely held its own.
It is now obvious that, after the Cuban missile crisis of 1962, the Soviet leaders evidently decided to accelerate their shipbuilding program so that in any future global crisis they would be able, like the United States, to have a choice other than humiliation or catastrophe. After the successful resolution of that crisis, President John F. Kennedy, on board the USS Kitty Hawk (CVA-63), summed up his hard-won wisdom on the utility of mobile naval power: “Control of the seas means security. Control of the seas can mean peace. Control of the seas can mean victory. If there is any lesson of the twentieth century, especially of the last few years, it is that in spite of the advancement in space and in the air, this country must still move . . . safely across the seas of the world. Knowledge of the oceans is more than a matter of curiosity, our very survival may hinge on it.”
Because the most likely location for the outbreak of the next war is in Western Asia, the acid test of American foreign policy in the next five years is likely to come in the Eastern Mediterranean. The Middle East, so far from the United States and so near Russia, floats on a sea of oil essential to the industrial growth of Western Europe and Japan. The crossroads of three continents, it contains the Suez Canal with its easy access to the Indian Ocean, and hosts that most inflammable of modem tinder boxes, the Arab-Israeli conflict.
Late in September 1970, Deputy Defense Secretary David Packard, obviously as part of an Administration attempt to spotlight Soviet naval penetration of the Mediterranean and to prepare the American public for a larger American naval presence in the “Middle Sea,” was quoted as saying that he was greatly troubled “by the trend of the Soviet naval buildup.” Packard added that if this buildup continues as it has, the U. S. Navy “four to five years from now would find it difficult to put a carrier into the Mediterranean and protect it.” Already Soviet ships were inhibiting U. S. policy, and for the first time since the appearance of the USS Missouri (BB-63) at Piraeus, Greece, in 1946, “we had to look carefully at what we would do if the situation got out of hand.”
Secretary Packard also acknowledged that the Soviet navy has significantly changed the balance of power in the Eastern Mediterranean in the last few years and added, “It is a whole new ball game when you think of using naval power.” Chairman Rivers seconded Packard’s growing fears concerning the use of Soviet sea power and warned that it “is inexorably pushing us out of the Mediterranean, is firmly entrenched in the Indian Ocean, and now is established in the Caribbean.”
The Israeli general, Moshe Dayan, observed that “the Russians are advancing south . . . Their way is a succession of straits—the Dardanelles, Suez, Bab el Mandeb—but it is a painless progression, no power blocks their way.”
Ironically, the southward thrust of Soviet power toward the Indian Ocean and the world ocean beyond has been temporarily blocked because of Israel’s closing of the Suez Canal. This oceanic breakout of the U.S.S.R. would be of historic proportions: the encirclement of China would be completed, Western Europe outflanked, America challenged globally, the Soviets’ capability to supply North Vietnam increased, economic-political penetration of the Southern Hemisphere facilitated, and Russian naval prestige enhanced.
Hence it can be argued that the prime reason for the Soviet missile defense of the Suez Canal, by Egyptian-serviced SAM-2s and Soviet-manned SAM-3s, is not to destroy Israel (which may indeed be the Arab goal), but rather to force open the Suez Canal which has been effectively blocked since the Israeli victory of 1967. General Dayan believes that “Soviet forces are helping the Egyptian army drive the Israeli army out of Suez,” and once that is accomplished, the Arabs will then attempt to conquer or destroy Israel.
Although Dayan does not mention it, it is speculated that if Israel’s existence is placed in extremis by invading Arab armies backed up by Soviet planes or missiles, then Israel will respond with the deterrent threat or use of nuclear weapons. For it is generally agreed that any modern industrial state with a nuclear reactor and $200,000,000 can produce a respectable number of atomic bombs in three years from the time the decision is made. And it is now over three years since the Six Days War and the Soviet rearmament of Egyptian military forces.
But, if Packard is correct and in four or five years the American fleet is frozen out of the Eastern Mediterranean, what will stand between Israel, the Arabs, and nuclear war? Without the stabilizing presence of the Sixth Fleet, a future Mediterranean crisis, like the Greek Revolution of the late 1940s, the Lebanon incident of the mid-1950s, Round Four of the Egyptian-Israeli War, the continuation of the Jordanian-Palestine Civil War of the fall of 1970, or violent Arabic coups and counter coups that spill over and spread, would either be the prelude to a wider war and perhaps a nuclear one or would involve the destruction of Israel. Any possible, even if now distant, Soviet-American cooperation to end the fighting as was accomplished in 1956 and 1967 would be forfeited by the lack of a fleet-in-being with which to bargain and negotiate.
It is difficult for most Americans to realize that nearly ten years ago the Mediterranean was, for all practical purposes, a Mare Americanum, a foreordained strategic position resulting from the U. S. inheriting the pre-World War II responsibilities of a bankrupt and weakened Western Europe. Today the Mediterranean “is a region where U. S. and Russian naval power confront each other in much the manner of Roman and Carthaginian or Christian and Arab rivalry in the past.”
Even fewer Americans, experiencing a general disenchantment with the study of history, understand the significance of the growing Soviet influence along the coasts of that inland sea. Western Europe and the United States have been in command of the Mediterranean since the Battle of Lepanto in 1571 which represented the end of Islam’s last “fervent dream of conquest” and the culmination of a 500-year Western European attempt to reclaim the Eastern Mediterranean, beginning with Peter the Hermit’s call for the First Crusade in 1096. At Lepanto, in Cervantes’ words, “the world and all the nations were disabused of the error that the Turks were invincible at sea.” Except for a few Barbary pirates in the early 19th century, Western civilization has not been challenged in the Mediterranean Sea for 400 years.
It is also in this historic context that President Nixon’s recent remarks to the sailors of the U. S. Sixth Fleet on board the USS Saratoga (CVA-60) should be interpreted. The Jordanian crisis, the President said, had been a “hard two or three weeks,” and then he added, “but believe me, never has American power been used with more effectiveness. When power is used in such a way that you do not have to go to the ultimate test, then it is really effective. That’s what happened.”
And so it did, that time. The key factors were the existence of available naval power, the willingness to use it, and the carefully orchestrated measured response that is only possible through the calculated use of naval forces.
Given the history of traditional great power behavior, the Russians during the Tsars and the Soviets since 1917, it is obvious that President Nixon’s prediction that “Russia is going to continue to probe” in all the seven seas and the continental shores they wash, will be an accurate forecast for the remaining decade of this century.
During the Jordanian crisis of 1970, the President effectively used naval power, probably instinctively. There will be other challenges to the Nixon Doctrine, and for that reason it is perhaps necessary to consider the advice of Rear Admiral George H. Miller, U. S. Navy, and “bring the strategists back into the picture . . . The strategist has to take his part in the picture along with the decision-maker, the tactician, the weapons operator, the analyst, and the cost man. The moment is at hand,” Admiral Miller added: “where past and present ways of doing things must undergo most ruthless reappraisal. In an era of technological comparability, everything humanly possible must be done to insure that we are as close to optimum as possible in our weapons system designs, our weapon systems mixes, in our overall geographical developments.”
If a modernized U. S. Fleet can serve as the backbone, for the successful implementation of the Nixon Doctrine in order to defend traditional American vital interests, to carry out treaty commitments, and to act as a grey steel stabilizer, then are our national interests preserved and our security protected? Obviously not, since the answer to the over-riding question of deterring a thermonuclear World War III which President Nixon mentioned in his 30 July press conference, is not to be found by the surface fleet as currently constituted and outfitted.
If asked, an oceanic strategist would tell the President that in order to pursue his policy of nuclear sufficiency and at the same time deter World War III, a blue water oceanic option is the only option for deterrence or defense during the next six years and in the first decades of our nation’s third century.
Nearly 200 years ago the young republic faced a great crisis after the failure of the American army in 1775 to take Canada and protect our northern flank from a British invasion. Two weeks before the Declaration of Independence, Silas Deane, on a special mission for the Secret Committee of the Continental Congress, pleaded with Robert Morris to “increase at all events your navy.” Today, if an oceanic advisor could penetrate the land-minded guardians of the presidential ear, predictably he would say, “Increase at all events the movement of the strategic deterrent to sea while there still is time.”
Why? Because the inexorable advance of technology in both the United States and the Soviet Union is making all fixed, land-based deterrent systems vulnerable, obsolete, and highly risky and tempting for pre-emptive attack. Whether or not the Russians are building a strategic submarine base at Cienfuegos, Cuba, for “Yankee” class nuclear-powered submarines carrying 16 nuclear missiles, the mere existence of Soviet missile-firing submarines off our coast significantly changes the strategic equation. A Cuban base for Soviet submarines would allow the Soviets to keep more submarines on station and reduce the total number of nuclear submarines needed to deter the United States.
However, the strategic results are the same with or without the Caribbean naval base. If the deterrent should fail and World War III should begin, fixed-based strategic offensive and defensive systems, like SAC bomber bases, Minuteman ICBM sites, arid the radar controls of the Safeguard ABM systems, would be sitting ducks to sea-launched missiles because of the reduced warning time and the wide spread of attack. For the last decade, Soviet SS-9 and SS-11 submarine-launched missiles and their American counterparts have held American and Soviet cities hostage in what has been called the “balance of terror,” or, “mutual strategic deterrence.”
In anticipation of the obsolescence of fixed, land-based ballistic missiles and because of the danger to America and the U.S.S.R. in relying on fixed-based systems (both for the safety of the homeland and for world peace), many strategists and commentators, like McGeorge Bundy, Ralph Lapp, Joshua Lederberg, and Stewart Alsop, have suggested that one of the goals of the SALT talks should be to press for a mutual blue water option. In other words, we should propose to the Russians the phased elimination of all land-based intercontinental ballistic missiles from the territory of both the Soviet Union and the United States.
The mounting furor over the Cienfuegos naval construction highlights a cruel fact. Within the next five years, unless something radical is done, the United States will be relying on highly vulnerable fixed-based systems of bomber missile bases for the bulk of our strategic deterrent to World War III, and they in turn will be “protected” by equally vulnerable ABM sites.
It has been estimated that given the accuracy of Soviet ballistic missiles and the vulnerability of the fixed-based ABM, we will need additional ABMs to protect the vulnerable radars of the ABM that are protecting the Minuteman ICBMs, which, by their very presence in the heart of North America, are endangering the people they are supposed to protect. Further calculations indicate that the Soviet accuracy of the MIRVed (Multiple Independently-targeted Reentry Vehicle) missiles could destroy 19 out of 20 Minutemen in a first or pre-emptive attack.
The prime mission of strategic weapons is often overlooked: to protect the life, society, and civilization of the nation states, which is best accomplished by deterring or preventing a thermonuclear war. The best way to deter thermonuclear war is to eliminate the high confidence of an adversary in gaining strategic advantage by removing any motivation to strike first. However, these weapons have to be based somewhere, and it is this basing or deployment mode that causes a serious defensive problem to arise from the prime mission.
The key to the entire deterrence equation, then, is the deployment mode of the strategic forces. Because all (U.S.S.R. or U. S.) the fixed-based weapons have known addresses (thanks to space satellite scrutiny), they automatically increase the temptation of military planners to opt for the first strike. Make no mistake about it: fixed-based bomber and missile installations are tempting targets for military strategists. It can be calculated, knowing the nature, size, and speed of Soviet strategic nuclear buildup, that the United States has about five years before America will be at peril point unless we take immediate steps to radically change the basing mode of our strategic systems. Short of scrapping any hopes for the SALT negotiations, and engaging in a tremendously expensive and massive buildup of obsolete fixed-based bomber, missile, and ABM support systems, there seem to be only two quick fixes open to the United States:
► Immediately deploy between 300 and 400 Minutemen at sea and make them mobile aboard specially designed or modified missile ships.
► Phase out land-based strategic bombers and increase the strategic delivery capability of the CVAs (by both bombers and missiles).
Admittedly, this is a drastic, short-range solution, but the strategic mistakes of the past (fixed-basing of Minuteman) and the increase in accuracy and numbers of Soviet land-based and sea-based missiles have placed the majority of our deterrent at risk and with it our very security and place in the world.
A number of questions are suggested. Will we recognize our peril in time, and will we make the short-range moves and eventual long-term solutions (ULMS—Underwater Long Range Missile System) to correct this potentially catastrophic error? Will the professional U. S. Navy take the initiative within the Pentagon and the JCS to point out these survival facts of life to the civilian leadership; or will the politics of defense, obsolete weapons systems, and swollen bureaucracies deny the short-range fixes that the situation so obviously demands? Ten years ago President Dwight D. Eisenhower, faced with a similar situation, took some corrective strategic steps that may be instructive.
In the late 1950s, opposition politicians were transfixed by the bomber and missile gap scares. Although we now know they were largely self-induced inadequacies or even outright hoaxes designed to perpetuate a certain strategic theory and related weapons systems, so clever was the propaganda of the military-industrial complex that President Eisenhower was forced to respond prudently. As a short-range fix, two nuclear subs under construction were ordered cut amidships and missile tubes capable of handling 16 Polaris A-1s were inserted. Before General Eisenhower left office, two SSBMs, the George Washington (SSBN-598) and the Patrick Henry (SSBN-599), were on station with 32 second-generation, solid-fueled, invulnerable, hydrogen-tipped nuclear missiles.
Eisenhower also hedged his bets and added to the mobile oceanic-based strategic mix with increased numbers of A3D heavy attack bombers on carriers deployed to the Mediterranean. The reasoning was simple and compelling. If the Russians had secretly built hundreds of ICBMs that our U-2s hadn’t found (at this point the general public was unaware of the overflights operational since 1956), there was one type of basing mode the Soviet missiles couldn’t hit: mobile, sea-based deterrents.
The missile gap, like the bogus bomber gap, did not materialize either, but the principle of strategic mobility for the deterrent did. President Eisenhower gave the missile gap the coup de grace when he noted in his farewell State of the Union message that “the ‘bomber gap’ of several years ago was always a fiction, and the ‘missile gap’ shows every sign of being the same.” During the Cuban missile crisis a year and a half later, it is now known that the Soviets had only about 30 operational ICBMs. There was a missile gap, to be sure, but the Russians were on the short end of it.
Thus, there is a precedent from the Eisenhower years for the admittedly radical suggestion to move 300 Minutemen to sea during the next five years and add an increased strategic delivery capability and mission to the CVA, using modified F4H Phantoms as the strategic delivery vehicles. Undoubtedly, this modest proposal will be met by loud cries from vested interests within the Pentagon and the present military-industrial complex. But this is one time we simply cannot allow business as usual and, in the process, put the nation out of business before the beginning of America’s third century.
The all-oceanic mix of ship-based Minuteman III and carrier-based modified F4Hs, complementing a MIRV and MRV force of Polaris-Poseidon submarine-launched missiles, would be a sufficient strategic deterrent. But it would be a stopgap decision until a long-range pure deterrent solution along the lines of ULMS entered the strategic forces in the late 1970s. A pure deterrent force would be so designed that the nuclear missiles would be permanently mobile and hidden beneath the ocean and never required to come into port for servicing. Both the quick and long-range fix have two great advantages: They are immensely cheaper than the Minuteman III, B-1, ABM fortress land-based option, and they are the only solution to our deterrent security problem that is compatible with a constructive SALT outcome: the phased elimination of all land-based ICBMs from the territory of the United States and the U.S.S.R.
This historic weapons decision would mean that the invulnerable thermonuclear deterrents to World War III would have no known addresses. America’s mobile deterrent would be on patrol far from continental United States and its great cities. The incentive for an open-ended quantitative arms race would be over. A selective or qualitative strategic arms modification could begin. Sending the Minuteman III to sea and increasing the strategic bomber delivery capability of carriers could be the first phase of the larger arms control goal of increasing security, reducing temptation for the first strike and preventing a new arms race. Obviously, by moving Minuteman III to sea, we eliminate the need to protect the admittedly vulnerable weapons with ABM and reduce the total number of ICBMs needed for nuclear sufficiency. Furthermore, as we add to our carrier strategic delivery force, we phase out the land-based bombers and have no need to build follow-on systems like the multi-billion dollar B-1 strategic bomber. By cutting down on our strategic vulnerability, we lessen our adversary’s temptation to strike first while at the same time increasing our security and that of our homeland.
The overall strengthening of the Fleet in the Mediterranean and the quick strategic fix suggested above are visualized as transitional or short-range solutions. Once the Nixon Doctrine is carried out and the resources reallocation derived from Vietnamization and Americanization of our continental salients in Western Europe and Southeast Asia are applied to the modernization of the Fleet and our strategic forces, then a new rational security policy for the 1970s and 1980s will be possible. It is for these reasons that the oceanic option is the only viable one that will defend our vital national interests, tame the arms race, protect our republican-democratic society and our mixed economic system from a possible ultimate garrison state governed by a military dictatorship.
Historically, we are active participants in a three-milennia [sic]-long struggle of continental powers versus oceanic powers. The United States can be either, for, alone of the great powers, America faces both great oceans and has excellent bases that our adversaries lack. This elementary geographic fact gives the United States the oceanic option. The moment is at hand when we should carry out the implications of our splendid geographic position, our unexcelled oceanic heritage, and our superior naval expertise and technology. We must protect and perfect this great American nation, and the only way to do it without succumbing to a new isolationism is by adopting a new oceanic policy for America’s third century.
As we voluntarily return, at least part way, to our insular status and as we re-think our grand strategy, our aim should be to create a new and wholly American foreign policy. American oceanic doctrine and strategy, properly understood and implemented, could carry out the implications of this new foreign policy. They are implicit in the Nixon Doctrine, which is meant to be applied not only in Asia but also world-wide. Logic, weapons systems, geography, technology, and international realities all suggest that President Nixon in the years ahead will begin to implement the various pieces of the oceanic option. It can be argued that all the pieces of an oceanic renaissance are lying around in various stages of perfection just waiting to be picked up and synthesized by a new Mahan or Teddy Roosevelt. If this is to come about, certain institutional changes probably will be necessary:
► The President should have a special maritime advisor to help him understand the implications of the oceanic option.
► Because oceanic policy cuts across many of the great departments, it is perhaps advisable that all Cabinet officials be included in the special deliberations of the National Security Council.
► Congress once again should carry out the implications of Article 1, Section 8, of the Constitution, where the historic distinction is made between supporting armies and maintaining a navy. California Congressman Don H. Clausen very succinctly expressed Congress’ essential role in the reallocation of funds for a modernized navy: “We can reclaim America’s naval seapower without a crash spending program or even an increase in the present defense budget, if the Congress acts. It is not a question of spending more, but spending wisely once the decision is reached to move in the direction of rebuilding our outmoded Navy.”
Congressman Clausen believes that the Nixon Doctrine offers the key way to get the necessary funds: Let our allies spend more on weapons, bases, and manpower.
For the oceanic option to have a viable chance, it will require a new bi-partisan partnership between the Legislative and Executive branches and an in-depth understanding by all elements of the public through a program of oceanic education. Then and only then will America be set on the course toward implementing President Nixon’s promise of becoming a “great maritime nation.”
On 10 February 1970, the President stated that “the economic prosperity and security of our nation and the well-being of our people rest heavily on the future use we make of the world’s oceans.” Recognizing this, he pledged that his “administration is seeking to provide new incentives to assure our success as a great maritime nation, and to gain from the ocean a greater harvest of minerals and fuel for the benefit of our citizens . . . [and] for all mankind.”
Three hundred million years ago life came out of the oceans and settled on the land. Now man is returning to the seas for his security and sustenance. Perhaps we can realize a new sense of world community through oceanic cooperation now that Apollo has revealed that earth life on this “water planet” is a blue-green oasis in a lifeless universe. A Grand Strategy centered on the great oceans can offer a most hopeful turn on the tricky and tortuous route toward that goal for which the people of the world yearn: “a world without any war, a full generation of peace.”
A graduate of Grove City College, Pennsylvania, with an M.A. in History from the University of Chicago, Mr. Lowe entered the U. S. Navy in 1953 via the OCS program and served in air intelligence billets until 1957 and. again, in 1960-61. A former Foreign Service Officer and speech writer for the Navy Department, he has also taught history and political science at junior colleges in Illinois, the District of Columbia, and at the University of Maryland. He is the author of The Age of Deterrence (Little, Brown & Co., 1964) and numerous articles on military strategy and defense topics.