After more than a decade of fighting in the Middle East, President Barack Obama announced that these wars are coming to an end. The new national strategy shifts the military’s focus to maintaining peace in the Pacific through cooperative alliances rather than conflict.1 This poses two serious challenges. First, we must prepare current and future military leaders to execute a peacekeeping strategy that relies on military diplomacy far more than kinetic conflict. While the military must always be prepared to fight and win the nation’s wars—and deterrence will continue to be essential to maintaining the peace—our success in executing the President’s Pacific Command (PACOM) strategy will rely less on traditional military force than the “soft power” of human relations and diplomacy. Second, the national strategy’s focus on the Asia-Pacific region requires the military to make greater and more deliberate efforts to increase its depth of regional knowledge and understanding, and extend that knowledge across the entire force.
Striking the Right Balance
To succeed as an increasingly diplomatic and peacekeeping military force, the Navy must prioritize technical and humanities majors more equally when educating future officers.
By Lieutenant Edward Wright, U.S. Navy