Quite a bit of back-and-forth over the new MS and lack of discussion over force structure/resource allocation.  Not the first time this has been confronted though and the following paragraph, drawn from a 1954 article in Proceedings by Samuel P. Huntington may be particularly germane to the current discussion:

"A second element of a military service is the resources, human and material, which are required to implement its strategic concept.  To secure these resources it is necessary for society to forego the alternative uses to which these resources might be put and to acquiesce in their allocation to the military service.  Thus, the resources which a service is able to obtain in a democratic society are a function of the public support of that service.  The service has  the responsibility to develop this necessary support, and it can only do this if it possesses a strategic concept which clearly formulates its relationship to the national security.  Hence this second element of public support is, in the long run, dependent upon the strategic concept of the service.  If a service does not possess a well-defined strategic concept, the public and the political leaders will be confused as to the role of the service, uncertain as to the necessity of its existence, and apathetic or hostile to the claims made by the service upon the resources of society." 

Here is the full article.   Of note is that it was written during a period where the Navy found itself facing new missions and challenges abroad while competing for scarce resources at home and this, a scant five years after the cancellation of the USS United States and subsequent "Revolt of the Admirals."


  1. rickusn

    Proceedings is by far the finest military magazine ever published in my very biased opinion its why I made the investment to be a life mamber in 1990.

    Also the Oakland, CA city library has an extensive collection going back if IIRC at least this far.

    And online the site has an archive although it is of far more recent years and if I remember far more limited in what is available.

    I find myself referring back to my old issues over and over.

    And have from time to time ordered older articles from USNI.

    Thanks for this.

  2. rickusn

    Gave it a once over and found discussions :

    Of the “littoral”, “ASW”, sea base and amphibious operations that are still relevant 50+ years later IMHO.

    I know there is much more in there depending on your perspective and interest.

    Those four are high on mine and started on page 8 under the heading “3. The Mission of the Navy”.

    And ends appropriately enough with the question:

    “What do we need a navy for?”.

    Its amazing how little has really changed over the decades.

    Technology may have changed but the factors and issues facing the Navy remain much the same.

  3. And this is the reason I am so worried about the fact that no one in the general population seems to have a good idea of what the USAF actually does…we wonder why our budget is getting slashed big time, I can’t help but think the lack of awareness has something to do with it.

    And yes, your guest was right on WRT the article relating to the MS. It might not have all the details of how we’re going to smite the godless ChiComs that would get a SWO hot and bothered, but this is something you can point to when the public asks what it is exactly that ya do.

    Maritime Services – 1, USAF – a large negative number.

  4. Steeljawscribe


    Also goes to an interesting dichotomy I pointed out over here regarding the McCaffrey airpower memo released the same week as the new MS. The former reads as nothing more than an extended shopping list with little in the way of strategic underpinnings to back up the “why” these particular force structure elements are of importance…
    – SJS

  5. Yup, I’ve been meaning to blog about that McCaffrey memo…maybe later today. I did find the Carlo Kopp comparison amusing.

  6. Be advised, have taken the quote from the top of the post and run with it, throwing the McCaffrey memo in the mix here. Thought you might be interested…

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