Forward naval presence is the historic and enduring purpose of the Department of the Navy in the service of our maritime nation. Indeed, it is the logic behind our constitutional mandate that Congress maintain a navy. The overseas deployment of warships and embarked Marines literally dates from the infancy of the Republic. In the early 19th century, the maritime excursions against the Barbary pirates who preyed on U.S. merchantmen eventually were made a regular practice and organized into a Mediterranean Squadron. In the Pacific, early naval expeditions asserted our maritime interests in the waters off the contested coast of California and in the rich whaling grounds of the North Pacific. The mid-19th century deployments to the Far East of Commodore Matthew Calbraith Perry strengthened America’s diplomatic hand in the Pacific and were pivotal in opening Japan to world trade. The long-term result was the Asiatic Squadron.
Presence: Forward, Ready, Engaged
Critics who would size naval forces strictly to meet regional contingencies are overlooking one vital requirement—the demand for forward naval presence forces built to win wars and positioned to prevent them.
By Rear Admiral Philip A. Dur, U.S. Navy