Busy touting the benefits of expeditionary operations, the Navy and Marine Corps have ignored the side effects. Carrier-based S-3 squadrons, for example, have become more focused on intelligence gathering and tanking-this S-3B refuels a Royal Omani Air Force Jaguarto the detriment of what should be Job #1: control of the seas.
Forgoing the posturing that might have seemed an inevitable response to the Quadrennial Defense Review, the Navy has decided to stick with its "Forward . . . from the Sea" vision, claiming that it's right for the foreseeable future. But the Navy and Marine Corps, which have been so eager to embrace expeditionary operations as the backbone of our force structure assumptions in the post-Cold War world, should realize that there is a down side to this emphasis on expeditionary warfare and be concerned that it might lead to a weakening of our naval posture on a strategic as well as a tactical level. Here follow a few cautionary thoughts about the dark side of our expeditionary faith: