In October the Navy, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard jointly issued a new maritime strategy, A Cooperative Strategy for 21st Century Seapower, that was printed in last month's Proceedings. The fruit of a long effort, including a series of "conversations with the country," the document was greeted by many with the criticism that it seemed pedestrian. The long process of consensus-building that produced it had apparently eliminated whatever sharp edges it may have initially possessed.
But the critics miss the point. The first job of public naval strategy is to educate said public, which often means policy-makers, in the basic realities of the maritime world. The Sea Services are expensive. They operate mainly in places few civilians see, since most who travel outside the United States do so by air. The reality, which has not changed, is that most goods move by sea and most people in the world live near the sea (or near major rivers), because transportation by water is so much easier than any other sort. If fuel becomes far more expensive, the sea is likely to become more, not less, vital as a means of transportation.