Strategic and Operational Mobility: The Foundation for the Success of the United States in Future War
MARINE CORPS UNIV QUANTICO VA SCHOOL OF ADVANCED WARFIGHTING
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If the United States is to continue to maintain its status as the most powerful nation on earth, strategic and operational mobility, the capability to project credible military forces abroad, must become a foremost priority in the design of its 21st century military forces. There are many parallels to be drawn between the current and future position of the United States and the historic positions of England during the 19th century and Athens during the Peloponnesian Wars. A significant similarity is the role of strategic and operational mobility in securing worldwide influence. Influencing conflicts to support U.S. national interests will demand the actual presence of U.S. forces in the region of conflict precision weapons unsupported by conventional forces will not alone be decisive. To meet future challenges, all U.S. forces must focus on expeditionary capabilities. The undeniable ability to rapidly project, build, and sustain credible conventional combat power must become the cornerstone of the U.S. military. To ensure this capability, all services must leverage traditional U.S. strength in logistics to improve deployment, entry, and enabling actions allowing forces to close rapidly and engage in decisive operations anywhere in the world. The United States has built well-trained and equipped forces that enjoy virtually unmatched conventional operational capabilities. At the same time, the fleet of ships and aircraft that support the strategic lift needed to move these forces are declining in numbers. Doctrine, forces, and equipment devoted to forcible entry operations are atrophying. The number of engineering forces currently on hand devoted to the complex task of improving ports, beaches, and airfields is inadequate. To ensure future success, the United States must pursue a more balanced approach, recognizing that nonprojectable operational capability equates to no capability at all.
- Military Forces and Organizations
- Logistics, Military Facilities and Supplies
- Military Operations, Strategy and Tactics
- Humanities and History