Faced with the tension between reining in the federal deficit and maintaining a global Navy, I worry that the United States is on the verge of a maritime mistake. History suggests we’ll make the wrong choice, as did the Spanish in the 17th century, the French in the 18th, and the British in the latter half of the 20th. Is the 21st century America’s turn?
The U.S. Navy is slowly becoming a garrison force because some believe it’s getting too expensive to operate around the world. This is akin to having firemen wait in the firehouse. I love firemen and all their bravery, but it’s the wrong model for our Navy.
The United States is well-served economically, diplomatically, and militarily with the Navy out and about—not as the world’s policeman, but simply positioned to respond quickly to a range of exigencies. Five contemporary trends point to the need for a global Navy: