As we draw down our land forces in Iraq and Afghanistan, there is renewed awareness that the United States is a maritime nation. Our fortune has been inextricably linked to our Navy since the nation’s birth. The bicentennial commemorations of the War of 1812 in many ways reflect this connection. Perhaps the most conclusive outcome of that war was that the United States was not going to be re-assimilated into the United Kingdom—and its fledgling but bold Navy was a decisive factor.
In the May 2012 issue of Proceedings, Under Secretary of the Navy Robert Work provided a compelling interpretation of President Barack Obama and Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta’s recently issued Sustaining U.S. Global Leadership: Priorities for 21st Century Defense. Work sees it as a blueprint for “a Naval Century: a new golden age of American sea power.” His article provides a sweeping vision of the way ahead into this era as a natural, fully executable continuation of our nation’s maritime trajectory.