Another great day on the Maritime Strategy front, including a great back and forth via email with one of the guys I respect most in this town who has some serious problems with the strategy, and some work putting together a series of briefings for flags to take on the road.
I continue to get pretty consistent feedback—professional Navy people (active and retired) and the defense intelligentsia/industry folks hate it—folks outside the beltway, not in the military/defense industry and interestingly enough, Air Force and Army officers—like it.
I briefed a group of senior Navy Intel Officers on the strategy this morning, and there were some tough questions. Some of that discourse is contained in the criticisms below.
- It just isn’t Joint enough. This is one I hear almost exclusively from Navy people, who look really hard for the words “Army and Air Force” in the text. Not there. We talk about Joint operations, but this is not a Joint warfighting document. It is a document designed to reinforce the links between Seapower and our national aspirations. It goes beyond Joint, to interagency. Very few people seem to pick up on that, and those that do, are from outside DOD.
- Climate change continues to be a topic of interest, at least for a couple of posters. I get the feeling that their own political biases are coming out, as they are reading things into the strategy that are just not there—one even suggested that the strategy cites human endeavors for causing “global warming”. Not the strategy I was part of.
- The lack of personal hobby-horses continues to create enemies for the strategy. Folks don’t see their particular pet issues dealt with (today, it was “sea-basing”), and they then are unable to see anything positive in the document. If you have such a hobby horse, and don’t see it discussed, move one level of abstraction up. If you’re a mine-warfare guy, and you’re mad it is not in here, go one level up to sea control. Are you aware that From the Sea and Forward from the Sea basically walked away from Sea Control as a core element? This strategy puts it back, front and center. You don’t see “1000 ship Navy?” What is it the 1000 ship Navy is supposed to do? Cooperative Maritime Security. Yep that’s there.
- That’s actually good advice for reading this. Throughout the process, folks have had the tendency to drive down from the strategic to the operational and tactical. Resist the urge. Stay at the strategic level.
- Deterrence/prevention of war. Continues to be a big issue. The MS86 guys take issue with this strategy’s elevation of the prevention of war….they claim that deterrence did just that. What they don’t seem to see is that preventing war is more than just credible combat power….it is a host of peacetime activities aimed at the root causes of war and other shocks to the global system.
- Oh yeah, the global system. Boy, do some folks hate that! Sorry gang, we’re in one, and it is a HUGE part of our daily lives. We’re really not out there alone and unafraid….we’re part of an incredibly interconnected world.
Enough for tonight. Thanks as always for the great questions and insightful commentary.