After 20 years a new maritime strategy if being crafted for the new century. But those charged with drafting it are finding that the challenges the nation faces today present obstacles no one could have imagined two decades ago.
On 14 June 2006, Admiral Mike Mullen, the Chief of Naval Operations, announced plans to draft a new maritime strategy to replace the current document, which has been in force since 1986. Early indications are that the task will be daunting.
There's little doubt that the effort is needed. The 1986 strategy marked a major turning point when it was issued. By citing Soviet ballistic-missile submarines as one of the key military threats facing the nation—and suggesting that the U.S. Navy be tasked to contain them in their home waters—it added a new dimension to U.S. strategy for the Cold War. The document served as the cornerstone of the Navy's thinking about what kind of fleet would be needed over the next several years. And it laid the groundwork for the Reagan administration's ambitious plan to expand the naval force to 600 ships.