One of CNO Admiral Mike Mullen's highest priorities is the writing of a new maritime strategy. The reason and imperative are obvious. There is no serious blue-water naval threat on the horizon-and China is included in that assessment. The nation's military is preoccupied with waging largely ground campaigns in Iraq, Afghanistan, and the war on terrorism. Hence the roles of the Navy and Air Force are publicly perceived as secondary. The addition of 92,000 more troops, as proposed by President Bush in January, for the Army and Marine Corps underscores this shift.
Ensuring that naval forces are neither ignored nor discounted in this environment is a responsibility Admiral Mullen rightly regards as critical. So the Navy staff has embarked on a thorough and painstaking process to develop a maritime strategy at a time when the principal clear and present dangers to the nation are not from the armies and navies of enemy states. But for this or any strategy to succeed two lessons from history are instructive.