Build the Navy of the Future
Our new strategy describes a fleet of more than 300 ships—including 11 aircraft carriers, 14 ballistic missile submarines (to be replaced by 12 SSBN(X)), and 33 amphibious ships—to support global presence requirements and fulfill the QDR's force planning construct for defeating an adversary, while denying another its objectives.
Anything less than this would increase our risk, decrease forward presence, and limit our warfighting advantages. If we were to return to sequestration levels of funding, Navy surge-ready CSGs and ARGs would be insufficient to meet requirements. Gaps in presence and theater engagement requirements present challenges to meet the Defense Strategic Guidance. They reduce our ability to meet security commitments to allies and partners, deter aggression, and to conduct military operations. They also decrease our ability to be where it matters, when it matters. Some places you may see these gaps manifested include not being positioned to respond as quickly as in the past, not being able to take advantage of fleeting opportunities to destroy terrorist targets, and not being as responsive in Humanitarian Assistance /Disaster Response as in the past.
In building the future force, we will balance investments in readiness, capability, and capacity to ensure we remain capable and combat-ready. We will invest in innovative platforms and systems that allow us to accomplish our missions at reduced cost, but not at a lowered capability. We will focus our resources on the capabilities that allow us to retain and improve our warfighting advantages. When appropriate, we will prioritize capability over capacity and emphasize modularity and open architecture in current and future platform design.
The U.S. Navy operates in the world’s oceans to protect the homeland, build security globally, project power, and win decisively. This ability to maneuver globally on the seas and to prevent others from using the sea against our interests constitutes a strategic advantage for the United States. Forward deployed and stationed U.S. Navy forces use the global maritime commons as a medium of maneuver, assuring access to overseas regions, defending key interests in those areas, protecting our citizens abroad, and preventing our adversaries from leveraging the world’s oceans against us. The ability to sustain operations in international waters far from our shores constitutes a distinct advantage for the United States—a Western Hemisphere nation separated from many of its strategic interests by vast oceans. Maintaining this advantage in an interconnected global community that depends on the oceans remains an imperative for the U.S. Navy. To that end the 2015 Maritime Strategy is where vision and action come together. It provides clear thinking about long-term goals and objectives—about what the Navy ultimately seeks to achieve. The strategy translates that vision into specific initiatives that moves the Navy progressively forward to its objectives.
Rear Admiral William McQuilkin is currently the director of the U.S. Navy's Strategy and Policy Division (OPNAV N51). Bruce Stubbs is a member of the Senior Executive Service and serves as the Deputy Director of the Strategy and Policy Division (OPNAV N51B) on the staff of the Chief of Naval Operations. Captain Frank J. Michael is the head of the Navy Strategy Branch OPNAV N513.