It could take about ten years to implement, but all three branches of the military sea services are in Houston touting a new joint maritime strategy that will shift their focus for the first time in decades. Houston Public Radio’s Jack Williams explains.
It’s a unified strategy the Navy, the Marine Corps and the Coast Guard are all a part of, a plan that highlights the importance of seapower to the nation’s economy. The actual document, called “A Cooperative Strategy for 21st Century Seapower” was signed by all three branches of the military sea services just a few months ago and now officials are traveling the nation to explain the shift in focus. Commander Brian McGrath is the director of the Strategic Actions Group for the Navy and led the effort to write the strategy.
“What we’ve done in this strategy is we’ve raised the prevention of war to a level philosophically co-equal with the conduct of war and in the process we have looked at two major areas of endeavor; maritime security, which is good order at sea, and humanitarian assistance and disaster relief. We’ve looked at those two broad areas and we’ve raised the prominence that we place in organizing, training and equipping to carry-out those missions.”
The strategy puts a new focus on using seapower to protect U.S. assets and interests, things like shipping and port security, vital parts of the nation’s economy. This is Rear Admiral Kevin Donegan is the Navy’s Director of Strategy and Policy.
“When you look at statistics you’ll see that about 90-percent of the trade of the things that we take for granted, the things we have in our homes, the things that we go and buy, the things that we sell, transits the oceans some way, or the parts to make them transit on the oceans. And so ensuring that we have maritime security, not just off our own coasts, but around the world, is important to our economy and our prosperity and our way of life and the same thing for other countries.”
U-S Coast Guard Vice Admiral and Atlantic Area Commander Brian Peterman says the transition to the new strategy shouldn’t be difficult.
“I think that the strategy has been evolving for a long time. We finally got it down on paper. I would say that the Coast Guard’s participation with the US Navy and the US Marine Corps, although we’ve just signed this strategy, we’ve been working together for a long time and this codifies what we’re doing now and have been doing in the past.”
Houston was one of the first stops on a multi-city tour, called “Conversations with the Country”, to introduce the new maritime strategy.