As the United States moves from intense land combat to a renewed emphasis on naval and air power, the transition team for the next Chief of Naval Operations is about to start work. Concern for U.S. naval power is surging, and the Navy is at a key juncture. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates summed up the situation on 25 February 2011 at West Point: “Any future defense secretary who advises the president to again send a big American land army into Asia or into the Middle East or Africa should have his head examined.”
Washington Post columnist George Will wrote on 16 and 18 March 2011 of “America’s Navy and the Rise of China,” and on 2 March, The Wall Street Journal published an op-ed piece by Mark Halperin, senior political analyst at Time, titled “The Decline of U.S. Naval Power.” Paralleling other astute Navy-related geostrategic commentary, this is an undeniable wakeup call at a time of great flux and global change.