Naval Transformation, Ground Forces, and the Expeditionary Impulse: The Sea-Basing Debate
ARMY WAR COLL STRATEGIC STUDIES INST CARLISLE BARRACKS PA
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The end of the Cold War has ushered in a period in which Western military forces have engaged primarily in expeditionary operations. These have turned out to be much more complex politically than first thought and have required naval planners to focus on delivering effects from the sea rather than at sea. Accordingly, navies around the world are going through a time of transition and transformation in which questions are being asked about their priorities, the relative importance of their contributions to joint and combined campaigns, and how these best might be provided. Because of the understandably widespread fixation on the warfighting phase of the expeditionary operation, current conceptions of the naval contribution, even in the United States, do not pay sufficient regard to the less obvious aspects of the naval contribution to campaigns which mostly are by their nature maritime. It is easy, for example, to neglect the importance of the diplomatic activity that acts as a kind of before-and-after-sales service to the main warfighting event. Naval diplomacy, of course, may reduce the necessity for high-intensity expeditionary operations in the first place. But even when it does not, a naval diplomatic campaign to win friends and influence people and to deter potential malefactors should be designed to create the optimum political context within which the expeditionary campaign may be fought. The same can be said for the naval effort to assure maritime security by maintaining good order at sea against those that threaten it e.g., waterborne terrorists, pirates, smugglers, arms suppliers, and the like. Even navies with their institutional and budgetary priorities for the requirements of high-intensity capabilities have a tendency to neglect these less visible low-intensity tasks that often are crucial to the winning and, as important, the sustaining of victory in the land campaign.
- Military Forces and Organizations
- Logistics, Military Facilities and Supplies
- Military Operations, Strategy and Tactics