For Combined Regional Force Allocation, Look Again to NATOCooperation: Everybody Wins,” then-director of Navy Strategy and Policy Rear Admiral Michael Smith highlighted a disconnect between our current maritime strategic outlook, which recognizes broad areas of mutual interest between nations, and a U.S. force allocation process that continues to treat allied forces as an afterthought—even after years of unchecked operational demand and sustained budget pressure. In this context, Rear Admiral Smith was right to point out that real burden-sharing at sea is the way to divest some of our Navy’s presence requirements without assuming undue risk, and that now is the time to address the “say/do” gap in maritime cooperation. How our Navy can best do this—planning as it must in light of recent defense-strategy documents and the likelihood of an open-ended sequester under existing law—remains the question.
Step Forward to Step Back
Smith foresees “a de facto coalition of maritime powers with a vested interest in freedom of the seas” filling the vacuum left when the U.S.