The Navy has a rich tradition of riverine warfare. However, in the push for newer and more capable blue-water forces, the Navy has ignored its brown-water heritage.
Following major combat operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, the Navy has assumed a significantly reduced role in ongoing insurgency operations. Constrained by its blue-water focus, the Navy has contributed little to counterinsurgency efforts and post-conflict reconstruction. If the new Chief of Naval Operations has his way, however, this may soon change. In the CNO's Guidance for 2006, Meeting the Challenge of a New Era, Admiral Mike Mullen clearly articulates the value of joint operations in future conflicts—particularly those conflicts that might occur in the littoral green- and brown-water operating environments and the adjacent land areas. In remarks delivered at the Naval War College in Newport, Rhode Island in August 2005, the CNO said, "I want the ability to go close in and stay there. I believe our Navy is missing a great opportunity to influence events by not having a riverine force."