So Much Strategy, So Little Strategic Direction
Cdr Michael Junge, USN
Proceedings Magazine, February 2012 Vol 138/2/1,308
There is a strategy problem in the Navy. Take as primary evidence that only three and a half years after completing A Cooperative Strategy for 21st Century Seapower , its primary author is now in favor of crafting a new strategy. 1 That strategy was published only four years after its predecessor, Seapower 21 . And that one came eight years after Forward . . . from the Sea , which itself was a two-year tune-up of From the Sea , which replaced the 1986 Maritime Strategy . In other words, the Navy has changed its strategy five times in 25 years—while its mission has remained unchanged for more than five decades.
Frankly, it’s not that the Navy has a problem developing strategy (five times in 25 years belies that idea), rather the issue is that the Navy no longer has a culture of strategic thought, and the lack of consistent, long-term, cohesive, and followed strategy is but a symptom of this problem. The Navy is now, and has been for decades, a tactical organization seeking, rewarding, and thriving on short-term, one-dimensional thought and quick, often indecisive action.
Phi Beta Iota: There is no strategic coherence within USG, DoD, or the individual services. Every generation of officers produces a few truth tellers willing to state the obvious, above is one such effort, noteworthy for being ignored, as most truth-tellers are. Of all the services, the US Navy is the one that truly has an affordable global mission that includes being able to deliver Marines to any Embassy. Below are some additional references, some from the notes in the above article, a few others.
Golsby-Smith, Tony. “Is Your Budgeting Process Killing Your Strategy?” (Harvard Business Review , 18 January 2011)
Marine Corps Intelligence Center, Overview of Planning and Programming Factors for Expeditionary Operations in the Third World (MCCDC, March 1990)
McGrath, Bryan. Toward a New Maritime Strategy (Information Dissemination, 5 June 2011)
O'Rourke, Ron, China Naval Modernization: Implications for U.S. Navy Capabilities (Congressional Research Service, 17 October 2012)
Steele, Robert. 2012 U.S. Naval Power in the 21st Century: 450-Ship Navy, <24 Hours to Anywhere, Peace from the Sea (Phi Beta Iota, Public Intelligence Blog, 10 November 2012)
Wikipedia / 600-ship Navy
Swartz, Peter M. with Karin Duggan. U.S. Navy Capstone Strategies and Concepts (1970-2010): Comparisons, Contrasts, and Changes: Volume I (Center for Naval Analysis, December 2011)