of the United States Maritime Policy 2004 Synopsis
America’s role in the world is unique. It is at the center of alliances
among states that believe in democracy and human rights. It is a force
for international stability, a major element of the economic prosperity
that benefits much of the world. It also is a force for peace in a turbulent
era, guarding against those who would threaten the nation’s welfare,
or that of its allies and friends.
In the post-Cold War era, the United States is the world’s solitary
superpower, steadfastly opposing those who would achieve their ends through
coercion or aggression. The security threats against the United States
have changed markedly since the end of the Cold War. The rise of international
terrorism underscores the need for fundamental change in U.S. defense
strategy and resources. Our nation requires mobile forces that are more
flexible, agile, and persistent in projecting power against enemies far
different from those we faced little more than a decade ago.
Transforming America’s defenses for the 21st century will require
a protracted commitment from our nation and its leaders. Transformation
is not a goal for tomorrow, but an endeavor that must be earnestly embraced
today. The challenges to our nation’s security and our way of life
do not loom in the distant future. They exist now. America must respond
with the requisite military force to protect our critical bases of operations
at home and abroad, and project and sustain U.S. forces in hostile environments
where access to key areas may be denied.
The Navy-Marine Corps Team
The Navy and Marine Corps provide the full spectrum of precise, responsive,
and persistent combat capabilities to our nation’s nine combatant
commands, including the Central Command, Pacific Command, and the Joint
The Navy’s carrier strike groups and expeditionary strike groups—the
latter with embarked Marines—are forward-deployed, ready, and self-sustaining.
They are the force of choice to deal with emerging crises around the world.
The Navy-Marine Corps combat team maintains an array of capabilities to
fulfill broad mission requirements such as surge capabilities and rapid,
sustained power projection.
The Navy will continue to play a leading role in the global war on terrorism,
in all of its manifestations, by contributing the requisite striking power
to joint forces, strengthening deterrence with advanced technologies and
increasing operational independence through sea basing. These are elements
of Sea Power 21, the strategic vision of Adm. Vern Clark, chief of naval
operations. The full realization of Sea Power 21 will require significantly
increased procurement of ships and aircraft.
Given these requirements, the Navy League of the United States:
- Strongly advocates that the Navy’s active fleet be increased
to, and maintained at, a level of at least 375 ships. The construction
rate for new ships should be increased to 11 ships per year, and maintained
at that level.
- Supports 15 aircraft carriers and their associated air wings, multiyear
procurement of the F/A-18E/F Super Hornet tactical aircraft, full development
of the Joint Strike Fighter, and adequate funding for the C-40A Clipper
multimission transport plane, as well as follow-on programs for the
P-3C Orion maritime patrol aircraft and the EA-6B Prowler electronic
- Supports an overall procurement program of 150 to 210 aircraft per
year for the foreseeable future to compensate for heavy wear and tear
on existing airframes and attrition due to combat and increased operations
- Advocates the development and construction of the DD(X)- and CG(X)-class
ships as the multimission combatant classes of the future, and endorses
continued procurement of DDG-51-class guided-missile ships until follow-on
construction commences for DD(X).
- Supports the accelerated development and construction of a littoral
combat force that will permit the Navy to expand its ability to operate
in the battle space of the future. This includes the development of
a class of high-speed, maneuverable, shallow-draft Littoral Combat Ships
(LCSs) with modular mission payloads.
Supports funding for missile defense development and deployment that
allows full Navy participation in an integrated missile defense system
through the mid-course phase of defenses based at sea. The mid-course
portion of a missile defense system is the third of four phases of an
attacking missile’s trajectory. Mid-course—the apex of a
missile’s flight—occurs at about 1,200 seconds of flight
- Recognizes the need for such missions as fire support for forces ashore,
mine warfare, antisubmarine warfare, and oceanographic ship programs,
all of which will continue to be of importance to the Navy.
- Reaffirms the Navy’s primary role in the provision and protection
of sealift for all the nation’s armed forces, and supports the
Sea Basing concept in Sea Power 21. Sea Basing envisions the use of
ships at sea as command centers and support bases from which warfare
and other operations would be conducted. This repackaging of existing
capabilities will provide the military with great flexibility to overcome
political or physical barriers to access of the battle area.
To that end, continued robust funding is needed for combat logistics
forces, including oilers, ammunition ships, and cargo carriers (T-AKEs),
as well as large and medium-lift, roll-on/roll-off ships (LMSRs) to bolster
the Maritime Prepositioned Force.
Also needed is adequate funding for integrated and interoperable systems
of command, control, communications, computers, intelligence, surveillance,
reconnaissance, and information warfare (C4ISR/IW) to foster network-centric
operations under a unified naval and joint strategy.
U.S. Marine Corps
The Marine Corps operates as Marine Air-Ground Task Forces (MAGTFs),
integrated sea- or shore-based, combined-arms forces that include air,
ground, and combat service support units under a single commander. Marine
Expeditionary Units are the centerpiece of MAGTFs. These units are trained
and equipped to operate and win in the full spectrum of combat operations
including traditional ground warfare, amphibious warfare, intelligence
and clandestine operations, and support missions.
In support of the ever-increasing demands on the Marine Corps’
combat capabilities, the continuing transition to expeditionary maneuver
warfare and its two major components, sea basing and ship-to-objective
maneuver, the Navy League of the United States:
- Supports continued development of the MV-22 Osprey. Recent missions
in Central Asia and the Middle East serve to reinforce the immediate
need for this capability for both the Marine Corps and U.S. Special
- Supports the acquisition of the Short Takeoff/Vertical Landing Joint
Strike Fighter to replace the AV-8 and F/A-18 aircraft and further enhance
the flexibility and versatility of our Marine Corps forces.
- Advocates the acquisition of the Expeditionary Fighting Vehicle to
replace the aging and costly Amphibious Assault Vehicle force.
Supports the recapitalization of the workhorses of Marine Corps aviation,
the KC-130J aircraft equipped with an improved aerial refueling system,
the CH-53E heavy-lift helicopter, and the conversion of the UH-1 Huey
and AH-1 Cobra helicopters to a four-bladed rotor system.
U. S. Coast Guard
The U.S. Coast Guard is the nation’s maritime multimission armed
force. As such, it continues to carry out its long-established role in
national defense as one of the five U.S. armed services. It provides unique
capabilities and resources to the commanders of U.S. forces in foreign
theaters of war.
The Coast Guard now faces the additional challenges of recruiting, training,
and equipping a large number of new personnel, both regular and reserve,
to meet new and increased responsibilities established by law to address
the demands of homeland security.
Therefore, the Navy League of the United States:
- Supports the accelerated acquisition of the Integrated Deepwater System,
to be completed in 10 to 15 years, in lieu of the originally scheduled
20-year time period. This is critical to the fulfillment of the Coast
Guard’s expanded roles and missions for homeland security, in
accordance with the Maritime Transportation Security Act of 2002.
- Recommends adequate resources for the Coast Guard so its other traditional
missions, including enforcement of fisheries laws, drug interdiction,
and alien migration interdiction, continue at or above historical levels
while the service expands to fulfill homeland security functions.
- Supports the acquisition of resources necessary to promote Maritime
Domain Awareness, providing Coast Guard operational commanders a complete
situational picture far from our shores so potential terrorists can
effectively be intercepted and neutralized as far out to sea as possible.
- Supports expansion of the Coast Guard Reserve force to 12,000 people
by fiscal 2007.
- Supports continued funding for completion of the National Distress
and Response System, now called Rescue 21. This program is essential
to save the lives of recreational and commercial boaters on our nation’s
inland and coastal waterways.
- Seeks to ensure the U.S. Marine Transportation System (MTS) remains
adequate to conduct maritime commerce and provides sufficient capacity
to support U.S. armed forces deployments. Adequate support includes
advancing computer, communications, and navigation technologies to increase
MTS productivity, safety, and security as well as improving marine terminal
capacity and ensuring access to rail and road systems.
U.S.-Flag Merchant Marine
A strong U.S.-flag Merchant Marine is essential to support U.S. national
defense and economic security interests. American sea power refers to
the nation’s ability to use the seas for its own purposes. The U.S.-flag
commercial and government-owned vessels, manned by more than 5,000 U.S.
citizen mariners, played a significant and indispensable role in the strategic
sealift support for Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan and Operation
The Navy-Marine Corps Sea Power 21 strategy—with increased requirements
to support and sustain special operations forces, maritime coalition forces,
and additional expeditionary strike groups—will need a robust combat
logistics force and commercial sealift capability. More U.S. logistics
support operations will be sea-based. To minimize reliance on foreign
shore infrastructure requires a combination of current commercial maritime
vessels (extra-large vessels or structures), in-stream cargo handling
systems, and high-speed intra-theater feeder vessels.
In support of the U.S.-flag Merchant Marine, the Navy League of the United
- Supports the expansion of the Maritime Security Program in new legislation
before the current law expires in September 2005.
- Supports the Jones Act governing domestic trade, as well as related
maritime cabotage laws critical to America’s maritime infrastructure
and, therefore, to U.S. national defense, homeland, and economic security.
Under provisions of the Jones Act and related statutes, vessels that
transport cargo and passengers between U.S. ports must be owned by U.S.
citizens, built in U.S. shipyards, and manned by U.S. citizen crews.
- Supports funding for the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy and the federal
programs at state maritime colleges and maritime industry training facilities.
Advocates a strong Merchant Marine Reserve in the U.S. Naval Reserve.
Steps should be taken to ensure the Merchant Marine Reserve program
receives support and a high priority from the Naval Reserve community.
- Supports enforcement of the existing cargo preference laws as well
as closing loopholes in those laws.
- Is committed to a strong Ready Reserve Force (RRF) of ships maintained
by the Maritime Administration and ready for activation on short notice.
The RRF has been a success story. Ships called up were available within
four or five days after activation. The RRF should not be cut back.
It comprises a mix of ships, not available in the commercial market,
that are needed to meet surge military requirements.
Current Readiness and Encroachment
The recent actions to recapitalize readiness accounts cannot fully counteract
nearly two decades of inadequate funding for spare parts for ships, aircraft,
and munitions. The Navy League applauds the administration’s decision
to spend more than $7 billion to upgrade readiness. The benefits of this
investment included the high degree of availability of ships, aircraft,
and other platforms during recent antiterrorism operations. Force readiness
requires continuing attention because future national security challenges
will not wait until production lines are retooled and in full production.
Future readiness also is linked to training on the high seas and at designated
shore installations and sea ranges. However, access to and use of training
areas has been curtailed by real estate development and unyielding environmental
regulations. Overzealous environmentalists have, for years, employed excessive
and unreasonable regulatory requirements to severely reduce the size of
military training areas, diminish the opportunity for realistic training
and force the sea services to sink or scrap surplus vessels. The Navy
and Marine Corps are sensitive to local concerns and are responsible stewards
of the environment. However, some of the resource protection laws invoked
to diminish training never were intended to pertain to military operations.
The Navy League of the United States:
- Supports robust funding for the spare parts, sensors, weapon systems,
electronics, and avionics systems and subsystems needed to ensure and
maintain the technological superiority of Navy ships and aircraft of
- Supports increases to the current readiness and maintenance accounts
to maintain and modernize the Navy’s ships, aircraft, and shore
- Contends that there is no substitute for realistic live-fire training
and urges continued congressional support of the Department of Defense
Readiness and Range Initiative, a legislative effort to clarify some
environmental laws, improve DoD access to military lands and enable
the Defense Department to fulfill its commitment to military readiness
and environmental stewardship.
The Navy League has, during the past few years, repeatedly noted the
deepening crisis in naval shipbuilding. Recent and out-year budget plans
fall far short of meeting national requirements. Coupled with previous
deep cuts in shipbuilding programs, the lack of adequate funding continues
to cause severe erosion of America’s shipbuilding infrastructure.
Congressional actions to increase shipbuilding accounts in the FY 2003
and 2004 budgets were important initial steps to address the lowest Navy
build rate in 50 years.
The Navy League of the United States:
- Believes that current build rate for ships is too low to sustain the
industrial base and respond to operational requirements. Significant,
sustained increases are required immediately in SCN (Shipbuilding and
Conversion, Navy) appropriations to build and maintain the varied types
of ships in the numbers required by our national security strategy and
the heightened operational tempo that followed Sept. 11, 2001. The 21st
century Navy will require an SCN budget of $14 billion per year comprised
of $12 billion for new construction and $2 billion for conversions,
small craft, and nuclear refueling.
- Supports the continuation and expansion of the Maritime Administration’s
Title XI loan-guarantee program, which provides an impetus for U.S.
shipyards to build ships for U.S. flag ship operators, and for foreign
owners to build in U.S. shipyards.
The Navy League is increasingly concerned about the deteriorating health
of the nation’s vital defense industrial base that produces defense
systems and weaponry for our forces. The defense industry is an integral
partner in defending America’s national security interests. It must
remain technologically innovative and economically competitive.
The nation benefits from a stable business relationship between the military
services and defense contractors. It fosters advance planning, enabling
industry to order in efficient quantities and support a highly skilled
work force. This, in turn, bolsters industry’s ability to produce
affordable weapons. A stable procurement process also abets industry efforts
to preserve critical skills in a vital industrial sector.
Conversely, gaps in contract awards and low order quantities have, over
time, led to a diminished array of skilled employees and key capabilities
that are essential to the defense industrial base. The continued failure
of the military services to adequately fund research, development, and
procurement could adversely affect the ability of defense contractors
to design, develop, and produce future weapons.
The Navy League of the United States:
- Encourages a more stable and predictable funding environment in which
sea services and Congress provide industry with a definitive direction
to develop strategic long-range plans. This will build confidence in
the financial markets, generating funding for major capital investments
needed to improve productivity, encourage the retention of skilled labor,
and advance the manufacturing process.
- Supports the increased use of smart acquisition strategies, such as
multiyear funding, advance procurement, block buys, and advance appropriations,
as appropriate to provide program stability and reduce acquisition and
- Supports incentives to cut costs and reward companies that achieve
significant savings, thus creating an environment in which high-performing
companies can achieve returns on capital comparable to commercial enterprises
of similar risk and capitalization.
The Navy, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard have made strides to improve
the pay and benefits of their personnel as well as provide family support.
The Department of the Navy made a deliberate decision to recapitalize
and substantially increase its spending on retaining, recruiting, and
The Navy, in particular, is enjoying the best manning in decades and,
with few exceptions, achieves C-2 manning status—meaning units can
substantially meet all demands with minor difficulty—for its deploying
battle groups at least six months before deployment. The Marine Corps
is experiencing similar successes.
It still is too early to say whether the Coast Guard has turned the corner
on its retention and recruitment challenges, but recent increases in end
strength, family support, and service training opportunities should increase
Improvements in recruiting and retention are essential because the Coast
Guard is under pressure to rapidly grow its force structure to meet the
new challenges of homeland defense.
The Navy League of the United States:
- Supports adequate personnel and platforms to ensure reasonable operations
and personnel tempo, thereby enhancing retention and readiness.
- Supports sufficient funding to ensure adequate resources are available
for effective training and the upgrading of training through information
- Supports active-duty pay raises across the board and additional targeted
raises to mid- and senior-level enlisted and mid-level officers. Targeted
raises will recognize educational advancements and increased responsibility,
and help close the gap in comparability with private industry.
- Supports concurrent receipt of military retired pay and veterans disability
Maintaining highly capable sea services and a robust merchant marine
will protect U.S. interests throughout the world. It will enhance the
nation’s security and prosperity. The Navy League is committed to
the education of the public, the media, and the executive and legislative
branches of government about the continuing need for U.S. sea power, both
naval and commercial.
The most important “reform” that can be made in the field
of national defense is to provide adequate funding for America’s
armed services, which today are the world’s greatest force for peace.
The Navy League of the United States believes that to provide for the
common defense is, and must always be, the most important responsibility
of the federal government.