Ukraine Snake Island Flag - Buy it Here!


From The Sea - - To Where

From The Sea - - To Where?


CSC 1993








Title: From the Sea--To Where?


Author: Lieutenant Commander E.T. O'Brien, United States Navy


Thesis: The issuance of the Navy white paper From the Sea is a positive and significant step

forward. It reflects the Navy's changing strategy and focus, conforming with the effects of the

changing world. This new maritime strategy must be a viable and credible "vision" for the Navy

as it focuses on expeditionary operations conducted from the sea instead of the Mahanian doctrine

of blue water/open ocean warfare. The Navy's commitment must be strong with a corresponding

shift in doctrine and force structure to support this strategy as we operate into the 1990's and



Background: From the Sea was issued changing the focus of the Navy's strategy to

expeditionary warfare. The Navy's commitment to this new strategy will be tested as future

force structure and doctrine are developed in these austere financial times. Recent

decommissioning of cruisers and destroyers have increased the percentage of amphibious ships

in the surface force. This coupled with rapid improvements in fast sealift shipping are

indications that the Navy has initially moved in the right direction. Reduction in the total

number of amphibious ships will create problems in meeting the 12 ARG requirement set forth

by the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Training is the one area where immediate changes can be made.

Changes in the curriculums of the Naval War College and Marine Corps Command and Staff

College to include expeditionary warfare is necessary to provide parent services and joint staffs

with the expertise required to implement the concepts of From the Sea.


Recommendations: The Navy must commit to From the Sea as the basis for future force

structure, doctrine and training.


From the Sea -- To Where?




Thesis. The issuance of the Navy white paper From the Sea is a positive and significant step

forward. It reflects the Navy's changing strategy and focus, conforming with the shift in

National Security Strategy and the effects of the changing world environment. This new

maritime strategy must be a viable and credible "vision" for the Navy as it focuses on

expeditionary operations conducted from the sea instead of the Mahanian doctrine of blue

water/open ocean warfare. The Navy's commitment must be strong with a corresponding shift

in doctrine and force structure to support this strategy as we operate into the 1990's and beyond.


I. Navy changed Maritime Strategy to expeditionary warfare

A. OPNAV Staff realignment

B. Implementation of new strategy

l. Done within precepts of civilian controlled military

2. Budgetary Considerations have considerable impact


II. Expeditionary Warfare is centerpiece of new strategy

A. Define expeditionary warfare

B. Focus of expeditionary warfare is amphibious capability

C. Many missions already being conducted


III. Force structure must change

A. Recent decommissioning of cruiser/destroyers

B. Future force structure will be difficult to build

C. Shift current acquisition policies to buy more amphibious ships

D. LX construction

E. Adaptive force planning as influence of future platforms


IV. Amphibious shipping and lift requirements

A. Navy/Marine Corps requirement for 2.5 MEB lift

B. JCS requirement for 12 ARG (3.0 MEB) lift

C. Amphibious force structure to meet 12 ARG requirement

D. Fast Sealift shortages


V. Training

A. Development of expeditionary warfare experts

B. Expeditionary warfare not being taught in any school

C. Develop pipeline training for all levels

D. Accession and career paths


From the Sea - To Where?



From the Sea, The Department of the Navy's white paper giving the Navy's new


vision of the future, is a positive and significant step forward. It reflects the Navy's


changing strategy and focus, conforming with the shift in National Security Strategy and the


effects of the changing world. Vice Admiral William A. Owens, Deputy Chief of Naval


Operations for Resources, Warfare Requirements, and Assessments, stated that From the Sea


" is the most significant change in direction with regard to how we use the Navy that we


have seen since World War II."1 This "new" strategy must provide a viable and credible


"vision" as the focus shifts to expeditionary operations conducted from the sea, instead of the


Mahanian doctrine of blue water/open ocean warfare.


Operating expeditionary forces from the littorals of the world is not a new concept for


the Navy/Marine Corps team. Previously, the focus of national strategy has not been on this


capability; as the events of the last two years have demonstrated, that focus needed to be


changed. From the Sea is the first public acknowledgement of the shift in Maritime Strategy


to expeditionary warfare, in order to respond rapidly to world crises.


What is new, however, is building a naval strategy around the expeditionary warfare


concept that drives future procurement and force structure. The first step in this process was


the reorganization of OPNAV staff in order to align with the Joint Chiefs of Staff


organization and facilitate implementation of expeditionary warfare into the budget and


procurement process.2 Currently, the Director for Expeditionary Warfare, Major General


Harry W. Jenkins, works under Vice Admiral Owens in his N-8 organization. As


expeditionary warfare concepts evolve crossing many operational specialties and service roles


and missions, the role of the Director of Expeditionary Warfare could eventually expand to


the point of becoming the deputy chief of naval operations for expeditionary warfare.


Close scrutiny of From the Sea raises many questions and potential problem areas


concerning the Navy's commitment to expeditionary warfare as the focal point of a new


Maritime Strategy. How and why was the maritime strategy changed? What is the future


force structure and how do we build it with a tighter defense budget? Have training pipelines


been changed to reflect the concepts put forth in From the Sea? These are three questions


that need to be answered in order to ascertain the Navy's commitment to expeditionary




The Navy Department's change of strategy follows the precepts of the civilian


controlled military system. The National Security Strategy was changed in May 1992 to


reflect the post-Cold War world situation.3 This dictated a corresponding shift in the


National Military Strategy to conform with National Security Strategy providing guidance for


future force structure and deployment. The Maritime Strategy then was changed to become


aligned with the new Military Strategy. This new Maritime Strategy was From the Sea


Recent world crises in Somalia and Bosnia have validated this shift to expeditionary warfare


as the building block of our Maritime Strategy. Concepts and visions developed during


President Bush's administration have been carried forward and embraced by President Clinton


and his administration.


The centerpiece of the new maritime strategy is expeditionary warfare.4 It is difficult


to write a strategy with "expeditionary warfare" as a centerpiece when it has not been defined


in even general terms. What From the Sea does outline are the general principles to be


considered in defining expeditionary warfare. Amphibious warfare, mine warfare, aircraft


carrier and air wing operations, surface warfare, submarine warfare and land warfare are all


areas which comprise expeditionary warfare. Also, From the Sea uses the terms littoral


warfare and expeditionary warfare interchangeably. Initially, this does not seem to be a


problem; however, failure to distinguish the two terms will lead to different interpretations of


From the Sea. Littoral warfare is that which is conducted in the coastal regions of the world


and is a subset of expeditionary warfare. One theme that does emerge is that there will be a


shift in focus to the amphibious force and embarked Marines.


The amphibious force and expeditionary capability have been around for many


years with Amphibious Ready Groups (ARG) continuously deployed in the Atlantic and the


Pacific for many years. They have conducted Non Combatant Evacuation Operations (NEO)


and humanitarian missions professionally in support of CINC and national taskings. Marine


Expeditionary Units (MEU) have been designated Special Operations Capable (SOC) since


1987, completing arduous workup periods in achieving SOC designation. From the Sea, has


not discovered a new form of warfare - it has rediscovered the capabilities of the


Navy/Marine Corps team.


In government as in business, one proof of commitment is the allocation of


money to a project or strategy. Recent cuts in the defense budget have tested the Navy's


commitment at a much faster pace than anticipated. The decommissioning of


cruiser/destroyer assets while limiting cuts to the amphibious forces, mine forces, and the


Marine Corps has shown the Navy's initial adherence to the tenets of From the Sea.


Force composition is a visible sign of the Navy's commitment to expeditionary


warfare. Future force structure is the key factor in having a flexible force that can transition


into the 21st century. Building a force with expeditionary warfare as guidance is a difficult


transition from the historic blue water focus of the past fifty years. Battlespace dominance in


the littorals and open ocean is assumed in From the Sea. This may be true in 1993;


however, failure to have a force which will continue this domination across the range of


warfare specialties will significantly decrease the survivability of ships, aircraft and ultimately


the ability to conduct expeditionary warfare.


Recent force cuts in surface ships have increased amphibious and mine warfare ships


as a percentage of the total force. This indicates that senior Navy planners are using


guidelines and concepts contained in From the Sea. Taking this to the next step would be a


hard assessment of exactly what is needed to maintain our control of the open ocean. There


has been no reduction in acquisition of Arleigh Burke class destroyers. The money saved


from not building one Arleigh Burke destroyer could be used to construct a large deck


amphibious ship (LHA/LHD), mine warfare ships, or develop Naval Fire Support Systems


replacing the firepower lost with the decommissioning of the battleships. Not only would this


enhance the ability to conduct expeditionary warfare missions it would send an important


political sin to the Navy and Congress that senior Naval leadership is committed to


expeditionary warfare.


The recent approval of the LX class as the replacement for LST and LPD class ships


being decommissioned is a large step in solving the shortages currently experienced in


amphibious lift.5 This replacement program has been a lengthy process which has extended


the service life of aging ships whose systems and propulsion plants were designed in the


1950's and 1960's. The uncertainty in finalizing details and delays in building the LX on


line reflect shortfalls in the programming and acquisition processes during the 1980's. The


aggressive pursuit of a viable and well thought out future force structure is key to keeping a


vibrant and capable modern force.


New and innovative ideas have arisen in addressing shortfalls in amphibious lift and


transitioning to an expeditionary warfare focus. The most current idea implemented is that of


adaptive force planning. A recent example of this process entails placing a Special Purpose


Marine Air Ground Task Force (SPMAGTF) on an aircraft carrier for a deployment.


Ideally, this force would be able to respond as quickly and effectively as the ARGs currently


deployed with the addition of carrier based aviation for support. As this process matures,


different combinations of forces will be tried in order to maximiie available assets and


respond to specific threats.


In theory this would seem to be a good idea; however, there are serious issues that need


to be addressed. The first is the likelihood of a CINC permitting a national asset to be tied


to supporting a small force ashore for an extended period of time. During Operation Sharp


Edge, the evacuation and support of the American Embassy in Liberia, one amphibious ship


was used to support a MAGTF ashore. It is difficult to imagine that a CINC would permit


the carrier assigned to the Mediterranean to sit off the coast of Africa for 3-4 months


providing logistical support for forces ashore. The second issue is that amphibious ships are


built to support the landing force ashore. Communication suites, supportability and the


experience of the USMC/Navy Amphibious team are key factors in deploying MAGTFs on


amphibious ships for scheduled deployments.


Adaptive force planning is for a range of contingencies rather than concentrating on


providing a more robust capability in one area. In doing this, there could be a mismatch


between available forces and the mission assigned. The 1986 Libyan strike by forces of the


Sixth Fleet could not have been conducted if the carrier had been loaded with a SPMAGTF


instead of the notional carrier air wing. Many lessons have been learned in the employment


and sustainment of troops ashore through years of ARG deployments. There has been a force


specifically built to do amphibious operations and it should be used. The primary purpose of


amphibious ships and their embarked troops is amphibious warfare, not conducting NEO or


humanitarian missions. Future force and operational planners must keep this in mind as an


attempt to try a variety of lesser options is considered.


Amphibious lift is the critical factor in expeditionary warfare in order to support


National Security objectives. Forward presence and crisis response are two of the pillars on


which National Security Strategy is built.6 The Navy/Marine team has based lift on USMC


warfighting requirements which translate to having the capability to lift 2.5 Marine


Expeditionary Brigades (MEB). This 2.5 MEB lift does not factor forward presence into the


equation. Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff (CJCS) has dictated a 12 ARG requirement to


support Marine Corps warfighting requirements and forward presence. This translates into a


3.0 MEB lift equivalent. The Navy has rightfully brought forth the point that it would be


difficult to meet the 3.0 MEB requirement within present financial constraints.7 The solution


in meeting the 12 ARG requirement was using large deck amphibious ships (LHA and LHD)


which have been built or bought and building bigger ships (LX) to meet lift requirements.


There will be a reduction in the total number of amphibious ships from 60 to 36 by the year


2007. There will be 12 ARGS, each consisting of 3 ships - LX, LHA or LHD, and LSD.8


Correcting these lift shortages in these times of austere funding is difficult at best.


Budget constraints have necessitated the 36 ship amphibious force to support the 12 ARG lift


requirement.9 Decreased flexibility will necessitate more time deployed for amphibious ships


or dictate less worldwide coverage. These are difficult choices. More time at sea will take


its toll on both the ships and its crew which could negatively impact retention and recruiting


efforts as well as maintenance.10 Lessening coverage, thereby increasing response time,


would be a risk that national policy makers would have a tough time accepting.


Another important part of the lift equation is Fast Sealift shipping. These ships are either


owned or chartered by the Navy and Maritime Administration (MARAD) with civilian crews


from the Merchant Marine. These ships provide lift for Army heavy forces, USMC Assault


Follow-on Echelons (AFOE) as well as providing sustainment for forces ashore and supplies


for humanitarian operations.11 Desert Storm and operations in Somalia have proven the


value of these ships. However, the U.S. Merchant Marine has been in decline and the


shortage of merchant seamen coupled with a reluctance of civilian companies to commit


profit-making assets to be ready to convert to military support operations on short notice


requires a hard look at the Fast Sealift program and its ability to support lift requirements.


The Navy has also addressed the Fast Sealift problem as well. Present programs to


add an additional 20 Fast Sealift ships have begun.12 These ships will be instrumental in


providing the required lift. More importantly, they provide more jobs for the U.S. Merchant


Marine. Another important benefit from the acquisition of these ships is that shipyards will


be provided with necessary work in the construction and maintenance of these ships to


maintain vital skills such as welding and machinery repair to keep the industrial base current.


Another demonstration of commitment is the allocation of personnel to a project or


strategy. Simply put, people cost money, therefore a commitment of personnel is in fact a


commitment of money. Expeditionary experts must be developed (both Navy and Marine) in


order to provide guidance and information to operational and administrative staffs and must


be directly involved in the decision making process. The Navy needs to take immediate steps


in correcting this problem. Initial actions in implementing the tenets of From the Sea are


critical in providing credibility and substance to the new strategy.


One area that can be addressed immediately is training. The first step in this process


is defining expeditionary warfare. From the Sea describes many of the factors that need to


be considered in defining expeditionary warfare. Amphibious warfare, mine warfare, anti-


submarine warfare (ASW), anti-air warfare (AAW) and land warfare are all components in


the expeditionary warfare equation. Currently there is no formal traing in expeditionary


warfare in any pipeline or school.13 There have been no changes to the curriculums at the


Naval War College or Marine Corps Command and Staff College since the issuance of From


the Sea. If the concepts and tenets of From the Sea are to put into practice then officers must


be formally trained early in their careers with their fleet experience reinforcing principles


learned "in the schoolhouse."


Due to the broad spectrum defined by expeditionary warfare, the Naval War College


should be the lead agency in developing and instructing the concepts of expeditionary


warfare. Inclusion in the curricula of the Naval Command and Staff and Senior courses


would present expeditionary warfare in an academic background where innovative concepts


could be tried and existing doctrine and attitudes could be validated or changed. The


development of the expeditionary ward curriculum must be done in tandem with the


Marine Corps War College and Command and Staff College in order to ensure that there is a


common approach to expeditionary ward and it agrees with published joint and service




If we are to embrace expeditionary warfare as the future of the Navy/Marine team


then we must rapidly train "experts" and get them in the fleet and also in the schoolhouse.


Surface Warfare Officers School (SWOS) should teach expeditionary warfare at all levels of


instruction including Division Officers Course, Department Head School, Prospective


Executive Officer (PXO), Prospective Commanding Officer (PCO), and Major Command


Course. This would provide the fleet with the academic principles of expeditionary warfare


while providing the "schoolhouse" feedback on how it is done in the fleet.


This aggressive approach to training at all career levels of the surface warfare officer


coupled with force reductions will make a more "complete" surface warfare officer who is


better equipped to operate in the expeditionary environment. This will pay dividends as


officers are trained across a variety of mission areas providing them with a better


understanding of the team concept that is so vital in these operations. The biggest beneficiary


of this training pipeline are the joint staffs who would be assigned officers who understand


the theory and practice of expeditionary warfare.


Accession policy for expeditionary warfare officers in the Navy is critical in getting


quality people whose ideas could make the difference in future developments in expeditionary


warfare. A viable and credible career path for these officers must be provided in order to


permit retention and upward mobility in the Navy and the joint arena.


Historically, the Navy has abdicated its role in amphibious warfare to the Marine


Corps. At operational and administrative staffs above the Amphibious Group (PHIBGRU)


level, Marine officers have been the point of contact for amphibious or expeditionary matters.


This would not appear to be a problem at first glance, however, there are many problems


related to expeditionary warfare: Carrier Battle Group (CVBG) and ARG interoperability,


mine warfare, and protection of the ARG against air and subsurface threats are just some of


the problems that must be solved. The landing force is just one component of expeditionary


warfare and in a truly joint environment the landing force could be Army or Marine. The


Navy must provide experts to staffs in order that all aspects of the expeditionary warfare are


adequately represented to Commanders.


From the Sea has provided the Navy with guidance for the force of the future.


Implementation will prove to be an extremely complex and difficult problem on almost every


level. Expeditionary warfare crosses every warfare and service boundary with far-reaching


consequences. The key factor in "changing the face" of the Navy is a well developed


implementation plan. This is crucial in today's austere fiscal environment; every decision


costs money, and bad decisions cost the most.


Rapid development of a professionally trained cadre of expeditionary experts is the


critical first step that must be taken. These experts must take existing and future force


structures and meld them to produce the Navy of the future. Rapid response by the Navy on


fast sealift issues and finalizing amphibious lift requirements and shipping are indications that


the Navy is adhering to the concepts and tenets of From the Sea.


From the Sea to where? It is the question that the Navy hierarchy must answer today.


The Navy has taken initial steps that demonstrate a commitment to expeditionary warfare as


the centerpiece of maritime strategy. There must be a sustained effort to continue structuring


a total force that will include the proper mix of surface ships, aircraft, submarines, and


supporting programs. It is impossible to maintain this momentum without a core of visionary


professionals who are trained and educated in expeditionary warfare. The next step in


moving From the Sea to the future is committing scarce dollars and personnel who will be


able to develop the concepts and nuances of expeditionary warfare. During the late 1980's


and early 1990's, the Navy's oversight of amphibious warfare and associated programs


caused more concern in Congress than in the Navy. If the tenets and precepts identified in


From the Sea are to be the basis of future strategy and policy-making, the Navy must


carefully and wisely take the next step in bringing the Navy into the next century.




1. Vincent C. Thomas, "The Most Significant Change Since World War II," Sea Power, March

1993, p. 11.


2. Ibid., p. 12.


3. Dick Cheney, Annual Report to the President and Congress, January 1993, p. 3.


4. From the Sea, September 1992,p. 2.


5. Interview with Commander John Maloney, USN, OPNAV N-853, Expeditionary Warfare,

Washington, D.C., 9 March 1993.


6. Cheney, p. 3.


7. Department of the Navy, Report to Congress on Amphibious Shipping Requirements, March

1993, p. 2.


8. Ibid.


9. Ibid.


10. Sean O'Keefe, "Be Careful What You Ask For...", Proceedings, January 1993, p. 73.


11. Interview with Captain Jenkins, USN, OPNAV N-853, Sealift Requirements, Washington

D.C., 11 March 1993.


12. Ibid.


13. Interview with Captain Paul Odell, Jr., USN (Ret), Naval War College, Newport, Rhode

Island, Curriculum changes as a result of issuance of From the Sea, 24 March 1993.





1. Cheney,Dick. Annual report to the President and the

Congress, January 1993


2. Department of the Navy. From the Sea--Preparing the Naval

Service for the 21st Century, September 1992.


3. Department of the Navy. Report to Congress on Amphibious

Shipping Requirements, March 1993.


4. Interview with Captain Jenkins, U.S. Navy, OPNAV, N-853,

11 March 1993.


5. Interview with Rear Admiral J.B. LaPlante, U.S. Navy, Deputy

Director for Logistics, Joint Staff, 16 March 1993.


6. Interview with Commander John Maloney, U.S. Navy, OPNAV, N-853, 9 March 1993.


7. Interview with Captain Paul Odell, Jr., U.S. Navy (Retired), Naval War College,

Newport, Rhode Island, 24 March 1993.


8. LaPlante, Rear Admiral J.B., U.S. Navy. " The Path Ahead for `Gators and Marines."

Proceedings, November 1992, pp. 34-38.


9. Mundy, General C.E., U.S. Marine Corps. "Something Old for Something New."

Proceedings, November 1992, pp. 12-14.


10. O'Keefe, Sean. "Be Careful of What You Ask for...." Proceedings, January 1993, pp.



11. Pierce, Commander Terry C., U.S. Navy. "Maneuver Warfare - From Theory to

Practice." Proceedings, November 1992, pp. 62-67.


12. Thomas, Vincent C. "Most Significant Change Since World War ll." Sea Power, March

1993, pp.11-17.


13. Trainor, Lieutenant General Bernard E., U.S. Marine Corps (Retired). "Still Go-ing...

Amphibious warfare." Proceedings, November 1992, pp. 30-33.


Join the mailing list