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While there is much that is unclear in regard to U.S. defense policy, one thing is crystal clear: the future national military strategy of the United States will be largely maritime in nature.
With the withdrawal of forward-based land and air forces from Europe, the Middle East, Central America, and the Far East, U.S. presence in these key regions can be provided only by forward-deployed naval forces. In many cases, U.S. warships on the high seas will be the only way to show the flag and express U.S. strategic interest. Along with changes in
the international and domestic political environments, this change mandates a shift in the way we conduct the force-projection mission. Virtually all future U.S. military operations will be expeditionary operations staged from bases in the continental United States. Naval forces often will be the first U.S. military presence on the scene and the bulk of follow- on U.S. forces and their supplies will come by sea.
In the 1992 National Military Strategy of the United States, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General
Colin L. Powell, outlined the four military force packages—Strategic, Atlantic, Pacific, and Contingency—that would be required to meet future national security needs.' In the Pacific package, naval forces and maritime strategy are dominant; in the other three, they play significant—and, more notably, not subservient—roles.2
The violent world in which we live today—made even more dangerous by the proliferation of advanced weapons—requires a strong force to meet U.S. national security needs and defend U.S. national interests. Along with many Navy officers, I would like the Navy to have 14 carrier battle groups, a state-of-the-art follow-on stealth aircraft, four battleship-based surface action groups, the Seawolf attack submarine, and more surface combatants. I would also like to see a Marine Corps with the amphibious ships it needs to lift all of its Marine Expeditionary Brigades, an Air Force with 25 wings, and a 14- division Army—all with the most modern equipment possible. As a land power-biased Army officer, I would like to see sufficient airlift and sealift to move U.S.-based Army units rapidly to threatened regions of the world
where land power is needed.
Unfortunately, it became clear in the late 1980s that- with the collapse of the Soviet Union, the perceptions 01 the Congress and the American people regarding national' security requirements shifted dramatically. Both became unwilling to make the large outlays necessary to maintain what—in relation to a fast-diminishing Soviet threat--' seemed to be a bloated force structure.
Faced with reduced budgets, the Navy and Marine Corps redefined their doctrine and strategy in order to ensure an adequate matching of available resources to national security requirements—and eventually produced “. . . From the Sea.” This document represents a bold step forward in the way the Navy and Marine Corps see the execution of their traditional roles in a joint environment as well as
their interrelationship with
This is not to say that the other two services ignored doctrinal development. After World War II, the Army and the Air Force pursued their own separate doctrines regarding land power and ait power until the early 1970s’ when they realized that they could not hope to defeat the Soviet Union on the all-in1' portant Central European front without combining forces.
Introduced in 1976, the Army-Air Force Air-Land Battle Doctrine marked th6 first time that these two set" vices had hammered out a joint doctrine for applying land and air power in a ground campaign. Much as the 1986 Navy-Marine Corps Maritime Strategy—and its successor “The Way Ahead”—largely ignored the roles of the Army and the Air Force in a maritime campaign, the Aim Land Battle Doctrine gave only cursory consideration t° the use of Navy and Marine forces in support of the land campaign.
However, the next generation of this evolving Army' Air Force doctrine—Air-Land Operations—examines thoroughly the successful integration of advanced technology and naval forces in a land campaign. Not surprisingly, the Navy-Marine Corps doctrine takes the reverse vie'v'’ looking at the land aspect of maritime power in the context of joint operations.
The Natural Habitat of Man
History is replete with examples of wars—from the Pel0' ponnesian War through the present day—between a sea power and a land power where decisive victory was no1
Proceedings / June
. . . From the Sea
achieved—despite large expendi- tUfes in men and equipment. The United States must avoid such f°Hy by preparing itself to bring ’he appropriate force to bear a§ainst the enemy’s center of gravity—whether it be on land or sea—in order to defeat him without bogging down in extended, c°stly campaigns.
future conflicts and adversaries are unknown at this point. h°r example, the war with Iraq "'as essentially a land conflict—
^’th heavy, mechanized land °rces supported by air and sea P°Wer. Other operations such as the freedom-of-naviga- hon exercises in the Gulf of Sidra and subsequent engagements with Libya were dominated by sea power, therefore, the United States must maintain sufficient levels of air, land, and sea power to meet all possible c°ntingencies. ^
However, it is the occupation of the enemy’s territory ’hat offers the decisive solution to war. As the Naval War College’s 1942 text Sound Military Decision notes:
The final outcome [of war] is dependent on ability to isolate, occupy or otherwise control the territory of the enemy. The sea, though it supplements the resources of the land areas, is destitute of many essential requirements of man, and affords no basis, alone, for the secure development of human activities. Land is the natural habitat of man.'
Naval support of land power is not a new concept. The eminent British naval strategist, Sir Julian Corbett obServed that “We speak glibly of ‘sea power’ and forget ’hat its true value lies in its influence on the operations ot arnties.”4 Over the course of history, the majority of naval campaigns have supported land campaigns directly e.g., ’he invasions of Normandy and Southern France in World ^ar II—or had a significant impact on the land cam- Paign—g g ^ the Battle of the Atlantic in World War II.5
The Key West Agreement of the early 1950s codified ’his arrangement in terms of formal interservice agreements on the service roles, which have been refined ’hrough several subsequent agreements and memoranda °f understanding. The Army and Marine Corps have forked closely together in weapons development, training, strategy, and doctrine for years, while fighting side- Vside in World War I, World War II, Korea, Vietnam, Grenada, and the Middle East, and while serving together m Somalia.
In the bygone days of congressional largess, each Service could afford to pursue its own doctrinal and force- s’ructure developments, based solely on its own parochial interests. Therefore, the doctrinal progress that has been
Noceedings / June 1993
made is welcome. However, “. . . From the Sea” and AirLand Operations still do not go far enough in planning for and supporting joint operations.
In these times of increasingly limited resources, allowing the four services to break up into two competing pairs makes as little sense as having them go four separate ways. All four services must sit down to develop a workable joint doctrine that includes a clear definition of warfighting responsibilities. General Powell recently proposed a joint combat command to train elements of all services for joint operations.6 A similar allowance should be made for the development of joint doctrine and strategy by establishing a joint doctrine command. Significant work has already been started in the planning for joint- warfare doctrine. For example, Joint Pub. 1: Joint Warfare of the Armed Forces has been published and distributed to major commands and all officers in the grades of major and lieutenant commander and above, in order to provide an introduction and overview to joint operations. More work remains to be done because shortcomings remain in interoperability—especially as it relates to doctrine, strategy, equipment, and institutional service mind-sets.
Doctrinally, the services must work together on common goals and means to meet national security needs. The cutthroat competition within the Pentagon for defense dollars—like the bitter interservice rivalries of the early 1950s—cannot be allowed to occur during the current drawdown. Any and all unilateral actions by the individual services eventually must support the joint effort required to meet future contingencies and work within a joint framework. Above all, service parochialism and ill- founded interservice bias must come to an end. We need to devote our energies to working and thinking “joint” in order to defend—effectively—U.S. security interests with a shrinking military establishment.
'Gen. Colin L. Powell, USA, National Military Strategy of the United States (Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office, January 1992).
"Gen. Colin L. Powell, USA, Address to the Royal United Services Institution; London, England; 5 December 1990.
1Sound Military Decision (Newport, RI: Naval War College, 1942), p. 46.
4Sir Julian S. Corbett, quoted in Robert D. Heinl, Jr., (ed.) Dictionary of Military and Naval Quotations (Annapolis, MD: Naval Institute Press, 1966), p. 289. ’Cap. J. L. McClane and Cdr J. L. McClane, USN “The Ticonderoga Story: Aegis Works,” U.S. Naval Institute Proceedings, May 1985, p. 129.
‘William Matthews, “Powell Plans Super ‘Combat Command’,” Army Times, 11 January 1992, p.32.
A Military Police Corps officer, Captain Fedorchak presently is serving as an assistant professor in the Department of Physics at the U.S. Military Academy, of which he is a 1982 graduate. He is a graduate of the U.S. Marine Corps Amphibious Warfare School and Command and Staff College, the U.S. Air Force Air Command and Staff College, and the U.S. Navy College of Naval Command and Staff.