The Age of Great Sea Battles Isn't Over

June 14, 2016 Topic: Security Region: Americas Tags: Naval PowerStrategyDefenseU.S. NavyHistory

The Age of Great Sea Battles Isn't Over

The U.S. Navy can’t forget the Gods of the Copybook Headings.

PLA Navy strategists read Mahan deeply, and have premised their maritime strategy in part on his teachings. Mahan and Corbett help China think about its strategic predicament—just as they help us think about ours.

To avert or manage challenges from the likes of China, let’s constantly improve our ability to fight and win, even if the likelihood of combat appears remote. In so doing we dishearten potential challengers while reassuring allies and friends. In short, let’s heed the teachings of the masters of sea power. Let’s stay on the good side of the Gods of the Copybook Headings—lest they return seeking their revenge.

James Holmes is Professor of Strategy at the Naval War College and coauthor of Red Star over the Pacific. The agenda for the Current Strategy Forum can be found here. The views voiced here are his alone.

Image: Flickr/U.S. Navy