USA — Naval Operations Concept Cites Ways to Meet Maritime Challenges

WASHINGTON, June 3, 2010 — The new­ly released Naval Oper­a­tions Con­cept 2010, a doc­u­ment that helps to ensure U.S. mar­itime assets line up with over­all nation­al defense strat­e­gy, takes a “whole-of-gov­ern­ment” approach to part­ner­ship with oth­er U.S. agen­cies.

“The goal of the doc­u­ment is to coor­di­nate with the QDR [Qua­dren­ni­al Defense Review],” U.S. Navy Capt. Mark Mont­gomery, Navy Strat­e­gy Branch Head, said yes­ter­day dur­ing a DoDLive Blog­gers Round­table dis­cus­sion of the report, which was released last week.

While the QDR guides deci­sions for the size and struc­ture of the over­all mil­i­tary force, the NOC focus­es on roles that the Marine Corps, Navy and Coast Guard play.

The NOC, Mont­gomery said, describes how sea-based forces will con­front con­tem­po­rary threats and chal­lenges includ­ing “enhanc­ing secu­ri­ty, pre­vent­ing con­flict and if nec­es­sary, pre­vail­ing in war.”

He added that it builds on the naval ser­vices’ over­ar­ch­ing strat­e­gy doc­u­ment, “A Coop­er­a­tive Strat­e­gy for 21st Cen­tu­ry Seapow­er.”

What is new about the NOC, Mont­gomery said, is a “whole-of-gov­ern­ment approach.” In addi­tion to work­ing in part­ner­ship with oth­er U.S. agen­cies, the NOC sup­ports work­ing with allies to avoid dupli­cat­ing efforts, “so that we are wise­ly spend­ing what are increas­ing­ly scarce resources.”

U.S. Navy Capt. John McLain, of the Navy Strat­e­gy and Pol­i­cy Divi­sion, also par­tic­i­pat­ed in the dis­cus­sion. He said that in many ways, the updat­ed vision for the mar­itime strat­e­gy is already being real­ized. “We typ­i­cal­ly are engaged as part of a whole-of-gov­ern­ment effort with­in usu­al­ly an inter­na­tion­al frame­work,” he said.

As one exam­ple, McLain recount­ed the fast response and con­tri­bu­tions made by naval forces to mul­ti-agency and inter­na­tion­al aid efforts after a mas­sive earth­quake erupt­ed in Haiti in Jan­u­ary.

The NOC doc­u­ment, McLain explained, ele­vates the role of human­i­tar­i­an assis­tance and dis­as­ter relief as, “not just reac­tive dis­as­ter response, but also proac­tive human­i­tar­i­an assis­tance.” Mont­gomery added that the NOC includes sec­tions on con­fronting irreg­u­lar chal­lenges and on expand­ing the def­i­n­i­tion of deter­rence.

He acknowl­edged that some exter­nal audi­ences expect­ed to see specifics in terms of force size and ship num­bers in the NOC, but he said it is not intend­ed to be a require­ments doc­u­ment.

Mont­gomery added that Navy ana­lysts will take part in upcom­ing defense future war fight­ing cam­paign sce­nar­ios which could shape the future size and struc­ture of mar­itime forces.

“We wouldn’t want to pre­judge the results of these war fight­ing cam­paign sce­nar­ios, nor would we want the oper­a­tional con­cept of the Navy tied to a change in any one threat,” Mont­gomery said.

The main audi­ence for the NOC, he said, is inter­nal and the con­tent aims “to explain to the offi­cers and sailors down on the deck plates what the naval oper­a­tional con­cept is [and] how we exe­cute the ‘ways’ asso­ci­at­ed with the [‘means’] of the mar­itime strat­e­gy.”

McLain said the NOC acknowl­edges that naval forces are rebal­anc­ing resources, and that “we have to per­form our core mis­sions with one Navy and [it] must be able to oper­ate across a full spec­trum of oper­a­tions.”

U.S. Depart­ment of Defense
Office of the Assis­tant Sec­re­tary of Defense (Pub­lic Affairs)