Editor's Page

Here at Proceedings , we tend to be wary of invented phrases and new buzzwords—at least until someone can explain what they mean. In this issue, retired Marine Corps Reserve Colonel Grant Newsham lays out what he refers to as “amphibiosity,” especially as it pertains to the friends and partners of the United States in the Asia-Pacific and specifically what they can bring to the table in terms of amphibious capability. He describes how the partnerships should fit together, using analogies of pillars, cross-bracing, and the old hub-and-spoke, “where nothing much happens unless the United States is around.” Colonel Newsham pulls no punches, saying it’s about time somebody “keeps score on genuine amphibious development” in the region. While he sees value in multinational exercises, he also notes that “the Marines would do well to measure progress (or lack thereof) rather than holding post-exercise barbecues and declaring success.”

Retired Navy Captain Robert C. Rubel, professor emeritus of the Naval War College, returns to our pages once again with his own new concept, “in-fighting,” which he believes should be a top priority for naval forces faced with doing battle in a hotly contested and close-in littoral environment. Although a term most would use to describe civilian bickering and backbiting in an office setting, board room, or professional playing field, in-fighting as it applies to operations at sea is something completely different. “The ability to ‘hold our ground’—when tactical geometry is dictated by others or by political requirements—will depend on the Navy developing concepts, forces, weapons, and doctrine to conduct ‘in-fighting,’” says Captain Rubel.

The more diverse force structure needed for in-fighting can achieve another goal: that of exercising sea control in disputed regions. William M. Beasley Jr. believes that the U.S. Navy’s current preference for large vessels has been detrimental to the service. Securing and exercising command of the sea are distinct functions that require vessels with different characteristics. By prioritizing larger, costlier ships over smaller ones, the Navy sacrifices presence. This trend has diminished the Navy’s police powers, reducing the areas in which it can exercise command and ensure maritime objectives. The results have been particularly apparent in East Asia. China has taken advantage of this decline in presence and replaced freedom of the seas there with a closed-sea system. The United States needs smaller ships to augment the functions of its larger vessels, and to that end, the author argues, the Navy should revive flotillas to reassert control in East Asian waters.  

Paul Merzlak, Editor-in-Chief



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