Maritime Power Projection
The US Navy Strategic Planning Guidance focuses on two overarching strategic concepts - Forward Presence and Knowledge Superiority-and three operational concepts - Battlespace Control, Battlespace Attack, and Battlespace Sustainment - by which Maritime Power Projection is achieved.
Maritime power projection is power projection in and from the maritime environment, including a broad spectrum of offensive military operations to destroy enemy forces or logistic support or to prevent enemy forces from approaching within enemy weapons' range of friendly forces. Maritime power projection may be accomplished by amphibious assault operations, attack of targets ashore, or support of sea control operations.
The foundation of maritime power projection is robust and credible naval expeditionary forces present forward where vital interests-economic, political, and military-are most concentrated. They provide a security framework that complements other instruments of national power to build stability and favorably shape regions of interest. In cooperation with friends and allies, forward-deployed forces discourage challenges to shared interests. Through combat-credible forward presence-including that of strategic nuclear forces-naval forces deter aggression. Through engagement, critical partnerships are developed and interoperability enhanced with allies and potential coalition naval, air, and ground forces. Combat-ready naval forces provide both a unique understanding of an emerging crisis and the means for timely, and when necessary, independent response. Should combat operations by joint and coalition forces be required to resolve conflict, the early, sustained response of combat-credible naval expeditionary forces will have shaped the battlespace to the advantage of US forces.
Knowledge superiority is the second key enabler that underpins maritime power projection. Through exploitation of technology and parallel improvements in organization and processes, naval forces will achieve an unprecedented awareness and understanding of the future battlespace. Information, however, will not improve awareness unless it is provided real-time as the knowledge required by commanders to make timely and informed decisions. Improvements in information technology, matched by an agile and adaptive command organization, will provide dispersed and highly mobile naval forces dramatically enhanced knowledge of the battlespace. The resultant acceleration of our decision-making process will place us inside an adversary's engagement timeline. US combat credibility in the information age will depend as much on speed of command as on weapon or platform. Networked operations will improve operational tempo and provide the knowledge to maneuver or produce effects to effectively "lock out" a foe's intended actions and overcome his anti-access strategy.
Three components of maritime combat power are the ways we exploit the capabilities of our naval forces. These ways are: battlespace control, battlespace attack, and battlespace sustainment. The battlespace-determined by our widely dispersed, networked forces and their organic and joint sensor and weapon reach-is the only appropriate dimension in which to consider the boundaries of control, attack, and sustainment. Naval expeditionary forces must be able to operate seamlessly throughout the battlespace, transitioning smoothly from peacetime presence or other expeditionary operations to large scale forcible-entry operations as volatile political factors may dictate.
Battlespace control encompasses the full range of actions required to shape the battlespace for naval, joint, and combined forces. Sea control will always remain a unique naval contribution to joint warfighting, and is essential to assuring the flow of joint forces to a theater. But no longer is it sufficient to think only in terms of sea or area control. Future naval forces will be challenged by anti-access capabilities such as land-based cruise missiles, space-based satellite targeting, and information operations. Naval forces must therefore control the entire battlespace-sea, air, land, space, and cyberspace-by defending against, defeating, denying or negating an adversary's capabilities. Forward naval forces will also project defensive power over land to protect US and allied forces and their homelands with sea-based theater air and missile defense. Long-range, responsive, and accurate reconnaissance, surveillance, and target acquisition; strike operations; and the full range of actions required to protect naval and joint forces will shape the battlespace to enable simultaneous offensive operations. Battlespace control is more than efforts to ensure naval survivability in order to place follow-on forces and power ashore; it permits naval forces to simultaneously impact events both offensively and defensively.
Concurrent with battlespace control, attack operations exploit the advantages of seaborne maneuver and naval or joint supporting fires. The speed of employment and tactical and operational surprise afforded by networked forces forward are invaluable when speed of deployment from the United States - and the loss of surprise - are disadvantages. But the unprecedented reach, volume, and precision of our weapons and sensors, along with the flexibility afforded by Operational Maneuver from the Sea, will also allow the US to project power deep inland. Shortening our decision timelines by improving and connecting sensor, information, and targeting systems, including focusing on the real-time location of an adversary's mobile targets, will accelerate the operational tempo at which attacks can be delivered to achieve the greatest effect. As a result, our distributed, netted forces will apply dominant effects to attack an adversary's critical vulnerabilities. US ability to apply these effects inside an adversary's decision timeline - with a knowledge and understanding of their impact upon him - permits effects-based planning to disrupt his operational design. Concurrent battlespace attack and control also enable joint attack, making follow-on forces more immediately available for offensive operations. In the end, this battlespace-attack capability can foreclose the attractiveness of anti-access strategies, deter would-be aggressors, and permit the decisive application of combat power.
Mobile, dispersed naval forces require an equally agile and tailored logistics system to support their dynamic operations. Logistics focused to arrive where and when it is needed, without a large footprint requiring significant protection, will support sustained maneuver in an expanded battlespace. Networked, distributed sea-based logistics employing pre-positioning and strategic sea and airlift is key to sustaining future joint and coalition forces. Maneuvering sea-based forces will permit commanders to conduct fully integrated joint command and control, surveillance, targeting, logistics and re-supply.
Configured to the mission, sea-based logistics and joint command and control will provide the required support to sustain operations on land and to support maneuver forces across the battlespace, from replenishing and refueling forces at sea, to delivering tailored logistics support from sea-based forces. Asymmetric and conventional threats will require ground forces to become less dependent on vulnerable fixed bases or stockpiles ashore. Force sustainment through sea-based logistics will reduce the threat of an attack on key logistics nodes and the requirement for dedicated forces to protect shore-based logistics concentrations. In the final analysis, the joint team will depend upon the ability of forward naval forces to provide sea-based sustainment and protection of the entire logistics pipeline for as long as US interests require.
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