Winner, Arleigh Burke Essay Contest
In Desert Storm, the Navy was not joint enough, and this shortcoming limited its contributions. The challenge now is not to give over completely to the methodical warfare of the elephants, but to meld the unique qualities of naval maneuver warfare into joint doctrine.
Early on 2 August 1990, Saddam Hussein shocked the world by invading Kuwait. Coalition forces, however, would return the surprise in a stupendous six-week counterattack that would level Saddam's palace, destroy his national air defense, and nearly ruin his grand army. So what had Saddam gained? Not much. But he did manage one victory of sorts. He unintentionally discomfited the U.S. Navy—so much so that nearly eight years later, it still is recovering from its doctrinal tailspin. The Navy painfully learned that it was not joint enough, and its poor understanding of joint operations prevented it from contributing fully.