Seabasing Expanding Access (Joint Force Quarterly, Issue 50, 3rd Quarter 2008)
NATIONAL DEFENSE UNIV WASHINGTON DC INST FOR NATIONAL STRATEGIC STUDIES
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In the 21st century, information can move almost instantaneously around the world via cyberspace, and people can quickly travel great distances by air. The preponderance of materiel, however, still moves the way it has for millennia. Whenever the United States has committed military power beyond its shores, whether to fight foes or assist friends, the vast majority of the U.S. joint force-its equipment, fuel, ammunition, and sustenance-has been transported by sea. For previous generations, projecting military forces and the resources necessary to support and sustain them overseas was often a hazardous undertaking. Peer competitors applying their own naval power sought to deny the ocean crossing or, failing that, the landing on the far shore. In the first half of the 20th century, demonstrating considerable foresight and innovation, U.S. Navy and Marine Corps leaders developed the capabilities necessary to establish sea control and project power ashore where and when desired. In the latter half of the same century, the importance of these capabilities waned, as the United States enjoyed the luxury of extensive overseas basing rights, including secure ports and airfields. In recent years, this network of bases has been dramatically reduced, even as the United States is confronted by a variety of strategic challenges and locked in a global struggle for influence. The ability to overcome geographic, political, and military impediments to access has reemerged as a critical necessity for extending U.S. influence and power overseas.
- Military Operations, Strategy and Tactics