Communicating Strategically in South America
By Lieutenant Robert McFarlin, USN
The historic, joint Cooperative Strategy for 21st Century Seapower presents six strategic imperatives. In addition to traditional missions, naval forces are now tasked with fostering "and sustaining cooperative relationships with international navies." This soft mission is the impetus behind new Navy initiatives such as Partnership of the Americas (POA) and Africa Partner Station.
My ship, the USS Farragut (DDG-99), recently completed the POA deployment, conducted annually since 2006. Its exercises emphasize interoperability with our partner nations in the Caribbean and Central and South America. Increasingly ships are being charged with conducting the Cooperative Strategy's new mission, where ideas are more valuable than weapons. Operators must rethink traditional ideas about the role of sea power. On the Farragut, our principal tool during deployment was not Tomahawk missiles, it was strategic communication (SC)—in which we had not been formally trained.