The New Rules: Navy Finally Embracing Role in Small Wars

The New Rules: Navy Finally Embracing Role in Small Wars

Last week I gave a plenary address to the Joint Warfighting Conference 2009 -- the annual East Coast naval extravaganza co-sponsored by the U.S. Naval Institute (USNI) and the Armed Forces Communications and Electronics Association (AFCEA). This mega-conference opened my eyes to just how much things have changed inside our naval forces thanks to the ongoing long war against violent extremism.

To give you an idea of the ground covered, I have to take you back almost 17 years.

That's when the Department of the Navy came out with its post-Cold War strategic white paper entitled, ". . . From the Sea." This seminal document argued that the Navy's undisputed command of the seas compelled it to come closer to shore and influence events there, lest it risk losing its relevance in an emerging era of smaller wars. It was an incredibly bold shift for the country's naval leadership, signaling the end of the submarine mafia's firm control of the fleet and the subsequent return of surface commanders and marine flag officers to the forefront of naval leadership.

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