For many years the United States has considered its economic and security interests inextricably linked to a larger international system composed of interdependent networks of trade, finance, information, law, people, and governance. As a result, it has been the nation’s long-standing policy—across changes of administration and party affiliations—that the United States will act to protect the global system from disruptions. Such disruptions may come in a variety of forms, to include natural disasters, lawlessness, acts of terrorism, regional conflict, or major-power war.1 Given the nature of the global system, the United States prefers to act in concert with international partners but will, if and when necessary, take unilateral action—as the demise of Osama bin Laden recently demonstrated.
National Policy and Reaching the Beach
Times—and strategic imperatives—may change, but as long as the United States needs the sea, the United States needs an amphibious capability.
By Colonel Douglas M. King, U.S. Marine Corps (Retired), and Lieutenant Colonel John C. Berry Jr., U.S. Marine Corps (Retired)