This is the second of five entries looking at Navy #Warfighting by Rear Adm. Michael Smith, Director, Strategy and Policy Division (N51).
“Control of the seas means security. Control of the seas means peace. Control of the seas can mean victory. The United States must control the sea if it is to protect our security.”
President John F. Kennedy
Historically, control of the sea has been a critical element for victory in war and prosperity during peacetime. During World War II, U.S. submarines sank millions of tons of enemy cargo in the Pacific, critically disrupting Japanese war efforts. Similarly, the Allied victory in the Battle of the Atlantic proved critical to our success in Europe – allowing the continuous flow of supplies, troops, and equipment from the U.S. to Allied forces engaged in the African and European campaigns.
Sea control, the core element of seapower, allows our forces to close within striking distance of land, enhances freedom of action at sea, and enables us to project power ashore. While the vastness of the world’s oceans makes it impossible for any navy to achieve global sea control, in times of crisis the focus of our sea control operations is on select strategic areas around the world.
Sea-based forces, supported by land, air, and other forces as appropriate, conduct sea control operations to achieve military objectives in vital sea areas. These operations include denial of maritime access to adversary forces, destruction of enemy forces, protection of vital sea lanes, and establishment of local military superiority in areas where we need to operate.
While the U.S. Navy remains the world’s preeminent maritime force, the spread of advanced weapon technologies threatens our unimpeded access to the maritime commons, including critical commercial shipping lanes. Overcoming this challenge requires new concepts – such as cost-imposing strategies against our adversaries, better integration of all U.S. military forces, and improved technologies to ensure that the U.S. Navy can attain sea control wherever and whenever required. The Navy is hard at work on developing and implementing these concepts and capabilities.
I hope you will share your thoughts with me on sea control. I look forward to hearing from you.