First Honorable Mention, Arleigh Burke Essay Contest
Once a navy has achieved command of the seas, littoral operations are a natural progression; sea power’s ultimate aim always has been to influence events ashore. Here, an F/A-18 launches from the carrier America (CV-66) during operations off Bosnia, carrying naval striking power inland.
In his 1953 essay, “On Maritime Strategy,” Admiral J. C. Wylie wrote, “When a maritime power is reasonably successful in securing the sea for its own use (that is, in repressing the enemy’s power to interfere unduly), then it can turn to the second, or exploitation phase of maritime strategy.”1 He defined this second phase in terms of effecting some degree of control on land or in achieving a form of economic control over the enemy. His assertion was that the aim of sea power is to extend its control of the seas, once gained, to the land. In the continuing debate over the roles and missions of the post-Cold War Navy and the design of a force structure into the next century, influencing events ashore must be revived as a prime objective.