Toward a New Maritime Strategy

American Naval Thinking in the Post-Cold War Era

  • Subject: Strategy
  • Format:
  • Pages:
  • Published:
    July 15, 2015
  • ISBN-10:
  • ISBN-13:
  • Product Dimensions:
    9 × 6 × 1 in
  • Product Weight:
    13 oz
Hardcover $53.95
Member Price $43.16 Save 20%
Book: Cover Type


Toward a New Maritime Strategy examines the evolution of American naval thinking in the post-Cold War era. It recounts the development of the U.S. Navy’s key strategic documents from the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 to the release in 2007 of the U.S. Navy’s maritime strategy, A Cooperative Strategy for 21st Century Seapower. This penetrating intellectual history critically analyzes the Navy’s ideas and recounts how they interacted with those that govern U.S. strategy to shape the course of U.S. naval strategy.

The book explains how the Navy arrived at its current strategic outlook and why it took nearly two decades to develop a new maritime strategy. Haynes criticizes the Navy’s leaders for their narrow worldview and failure to understand the virtues and contributions of American sea power, particularly in an era of globalization. This provocative study tests institutional wisdom and will surely provoke debate in the Navy, the Pentagon, and U.S. and international naval and defense circles.

About the Author

Editorial Reviews

“An absolutely outstanding book! The book follows the development of U.S. maritime strategy from the Cold War to 2007. The argument is that it wasn't until 2007, that the U.S. Navy published a strategy that acknowledged the central role, that the Navy plays in upholding the American world order. Until then, the Navy had had an enemy-centric focus, and Haynes argues that in 2007 that changed to a systemic-centric focus. It is hugely interesting to read, how the Navy has fought to argue for it continued relevance both during the Cold War and subsequently .... The book is based on extensive reading of strategy documents at various stages of the process, and is excellent to show the development in strategic thinking in the U.S. Navy since 1945.” —
“The analysis is candid and his conclusions reflect a degree of independence that one might not expect from a serving officer. He is to be congratulated on his objectivity and thoughtful conclusions.” Canadian Naval Review
“In this study of American naval thinking in the Cold War Peter Haynes is unafraid to make critical judgments on the makers of policy in the period from the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 to 2007 and the publication by the US Navy of A Cooperative Strategy for 21st Century Sea Power. It is to the credit of the US Navy and the Naval Institute that such a frank commentary on recent events is allowed in the public domain. This book is of outstanding importance. Haynes argues convincingly for a real revival of thought and action for an American global maritime strategy. This will make for uncomfortable reading to many, but read it they must. It is criticism, but of a constructive and fundamentally friendly kind.” —International Journal of Maritime History
“Haynes' research provides the reader with an extraordinary history of the intellectual thinking, political pressure, bureaucratic infighting, personalities and budgetary constraints that have shaped strategy making in the Department of the Navy over this time. Colin Gray is correct when he writes in his endorsement that 'it will make uncomfortable reading to many, but read it they must.' Peter Haynes has written an essential book. It is one everyone interested in strategy and the future of American power in the world needs to read and reflect upon. The US view of war, despite its limitations, has proved enormously successful. Yet nothing lasts forever. No view of war can persist unless its purpose is clear: why does the United States use and threaten force? One of the most important ways must be to support and defend the global political and economic system. It is, after all, primarily an American system. As Haynes concludes, regardless of where 'globalization may lead,' the US Navy is the 'only institution on earth currently capable of conceiving and executing a maritime strategy.' (252) Or it is until a nation with a more compelling maritime narrative emerges to replace it.” —Parameters
“For those readers, and they should include as many folks as possible in government and security circles, who have wondered about whether the Navy has a 'strategy problem' or not, a topic of much recent debate, this book will address their curiosity. It also has much to offer those with broad interest in how institutions change, see themselves, and try to reconcile their institutional identities within the context of a national strategy, or even grand strategy–especially those interested in how the United States fits into the overall picture of the global system and why it remains an essential leaders and system manager. This book is also recommended to the officers of the People's Liberation Army Navy (PLAN), if not already on their lists–as radical and unconventional as that might sound coming from the keyboard of a former US Navy officer. Knowing one's counterparts can be as useful for advancing peace and understanding as it is in 'knowing one's enemy' for the darker purposes of war.” —Naval Historical Foundation Review
“Haynes has written an insightful and penetrating history with many lessons identified. will be of great interest to defense leaders, students and thinkers, as the relevance and parallels are clear. In his final comment Haynes states that while the US Navy alone cannot conceive and execute a maritime strategy in a changing era of globalization, it does not relieve it of the requirement to exercise strategic leadership.” —Australian Naval Institute
“Books which discuss and analyse contemporary maritime strategy are few and far between, vying for an even smaller share of what is already a relatively limited market. When one does come along it tends to be worth reviewing because the publisher has taken a chance; they have considered it likely to be either commercially appealing or so important in its content and message that they feel duty bound to share it with the world. Or both. And when that happens readers should take note. If you buy just one contemporary naval book this year, make it Peter Haynes' Toward a New Maritime Strategy. It is that good.” —The Naval Review
Toward a New Maritime Strategy is a masterful look at how our Navy thinks about, and creates, strategy. This book belongs on the shelf of anyone interested in naval and maritime affairs, or the development of military strategy more broadly, both in uniform and civilian clothes. Frankly, it should be on every officer and national security professional's reading list because, as the strategist Adm. J.C. Wylie wrote: 'Strategy is everyone's business.' Yes, even maritime strategy.” —
“Few if any of these scholarly explorations have come close to touching upon the actual impetus, evolution, and bureaucratic calcification that make such pathology an almost indelible part of a service's culture and identity. Haynes' study of the Navy's Staff (Office of the Chief of Naval Operations [OPNAV]), the evolution and structuring of its various bases of power, and their ability to compete for influence alongside the other institutional bases of power within the Navy all marks the book as an original approach to understanding how military services as institutions formulate their own identity and how that identity shapes service policy and planning. Scholars interested in exploring concepts like 'strategic culture' within the framework of a specific service would do well to read and emulate Haynes's approach.” —Journal of Strategic Studies
“This work is not an operational history of the navy between 1989 and 2007, but readers seeking an intellectual history of navy leadership during this period will profit handsomely from this book. Haynes has provided an accurate chart of the shoals encountered by navy leadership as it navigated a course from a post-war, victorious, forward-deployed navy to a much smaller, leaner navy trying to come to grips with early twenty-first-century threats.” —The Mariner's Mirror
“This thoughtful and carefully researched book is honest and absolutely relevant in summarizing and explaining the U.S. Navy's current strategic thought processes. The author is an insider but a very objective one. He tells it 'warts and all.' Much broader in approach and more worldly than many recent U.S. strategists, especially at the top level, the author is a realist. His global view is hopefully shared with some of his important colleagues who are likely to be heavily involved with the planning for any major naval war in the foreseeable future. A brilliant contribution to modern military and political thought.” —Baird Maritime
“This book is a wake-up call for many senior officers to start thinking strategically again and designing and building the ships necessary to maintain global law and order in an increasingly contested and unstable future. Peter, you have done us a great favor in beginning the long tack home to maritime thinking and reason!” —The Navy Magazine
“This crisp and authoritative review is written by an insider, but one who is prepared to criticize. Coinciding with the issue of a new version of the 'Cooperative Strategy for 21st Century Seapower,' this book will strike many as controversial. For that reason alone, this is a 'must-read' for anyone seriously interested in the world's maritime future, as well as its past.” —Geoffrey Till, author of Seapower: A Guide for the 21st Century“In Toward a New Maritime Strategy, Capt. Peter Haynes' meticulously researched study of American naval strategy in the post-Cold War era, the reader is drawn behind the scenes of the Navy and Marine Corps' Pentagon staffs to see the battle lines of intellectual thought. Haynes manages to untangle the complicated thicket of maritime strategy over three decades and render it historically coherent and indeed fascinating.” —Adm. James Stavridis, USN (Ret.), Dean, The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, Tufts University; former Supreme Allied Commander at NATO, 2009-13; author of The Accidental Admiral: A Sailor Takes Command at NATO“In this meticulously researched book, Capt. Haynes dissects the process and products of naval strategic thinking from the end of the Cold War to the present. Towards a Maritime Strategy is a penetrating but lively 'deep dive' as the Navy adapted to the shifting strategic context which culminated with the publication of the 2007 edition of the Maritime Strategy. Readers will come to understand the bureaucratic, political and personality issues inherent to the formulation of strategy in the maritime services in this era of strategic adjustment. As a scarred participant of these debates, I can confirm the author has accurately captured the tenor and substance of the arguments in the distinctive evolution in American naval strategy. Highly recommended for students and scholars of U.S. military theory and strategy.” —Dr. Frank Hoffman, Senior Research Fellow, National Defense University“An authoritative, extremely clear evaluation of the search for an answer to the high-stakes question, 'What's the Navy for?' Haynes' unique study, rich in drama and insight and elegantly written, leaves us with lessons all around. A brilliant and immediately relevant book.” —George W. Baer, former chairman, Department of Strategy and Policy and Alfred Thayer Mahan Chair of Maritime Strategy, U.S. Naval War College; author of One Hundred Years of Sea Power: The U.S. Navy 1890-1990
“In this finely crafted history, Peter Haynes identifies the institutional constraints that shape the Navy's strategy-making process. He shows how organizational culture, an overwhelming focus on operational considerations, and the impact of the Goldwater-Nichols reforms limit the Navy's ability to adjust to a changing international setting. Toward a New Maritime Strategy not only describes the Navy's strategic products since the end of the Cold War, it also explains how Navy culture shapes successive visions of future strategy.” —James J. Wirtz, co-editor of Strategy in the Contemporary World
“This book is of outstanding importance. Haynes argues convincingly for a real revival of thought and action for an American global maritime strategy. This will make for uncomfortable reading to many, but read it they must. It is criticism, but of a constructive and fundamentally friendly kind.” —Colin S. Gray, professor emeritus of strategic studies at the University of Reading; author of The Future of Strategy
“Haynes book is a must-read for those engaged in naval works buy disengaged from the process and thought of strategic development…. Toward a New Maritime Strategy should be required reading for upwardly mobile officers. The book demonstrates just how significant individual agency is in advancing the Navy’s understanding of its strategic position in the maritime commons.” —Marine Corps History