DECEMBER 18, 2020 – The U.S. Navy, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard released a new tri-Service maritime strategy today, entitled Advantage at Sea.
The document provides strategic guidance on how the sea services will prevail in day-to-day competition, crisis, and conflict over the next decade. It also directs the services to deepen tri-service integration, aggressively pursue force modernization, and continue robust cooperation with allies and partners.
“Our integrated Navy, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard must maintain clear-eyed resolve to compete with, deter, and, if necessary, defeat our adversaries while we accelerate development of a modernized, integrated all-domain naval force for the future,” wrote Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Michael M. Gilday, Marine Corps Commandant Gen. David H. Berger, and Coast Guard Commandant Adm. Karl L. Schultz in the strategy’s forward. “Our actions in this decade will shape the maritime balance of power for the rest of this century.”
Advantage at Sea places particular focus on China and Russia due to their increasing maritime aggressiveness, demonstrated intent to dominate key international waters and clear desire to remake the international order in their favor.
“China’s and Russia’s revisionist approaches in the maritime environment threaten U.S. interests, undermine alliances and partnerships, and degrade the free and open international order,” the document states. “Moreover, China’s and Russia’s aggressive naval growth and modernization are eroding U.S. military advantages.”
The strategy also emphasizes the maritime domain is integral not only to America’s security and prosperity but to those of all nations. The oceans connect global markets, provide essential resources, and link societies and businesses. Shared interests create opportunities for greater cooperation with allies and partners.
“As Sailors, we are on the leading edge of Great Power Competition each and every day,” said Gilday. “Sea control, power projection and the capability to dominate the oceans must be our primary focus. Our forces must be ready today, and ready tomorrow, to defend our nation’s interests against potential adversaries at any time. This strategy helps us do exactly that.”
The strategy directs the Services to pursue an agile and aggressive approach to force modernization and experimentation. The future fleet will combine legacy assets with new, smaller ships, lighter amphibious ships, modernized aircraft, expanded logistics, resilient space capabilities, and optionally manned and unmanned platforms. To succeed in a dynamic operating environment, the Services will also invest in warfighter development, delivering innovative training and education to ensure our Sailors, Marines, and Coast Guardsmen remain the world’s premier naval force.
Advantage at Sea also reflects the dual roles of the Service Chiefs: advising on the employment of forces in day-to-day competition, crisis and conflict, and developing a modernized future force that deters potential adversaries and advances and defends U.S. interests.
“The Marine Corps is conducting a sweeping force design transformation to fulfill our role as the Nation’s expeditionary force-in-readiness while simultaneously modernizing the force in accordance with the operating environment described in the National Defense Strategy and the tri-Service maritime strategy. We must embrace new ways of operating within the concepts of integrated U.S. naval power to deter future adversaries and generate better strategic choices,” said Berger.
As the Services pursue greater integration, to include training and education; capabilities and networks; plans, exercises, and experiments; analysis and wargaming; investments and innovation; and force design, Advantage at Sea states they will collaborate with allies and partners to build capability, enhance interoperability, and generate unity of effort. Alongside allies and partners, the Services will be able to establish sea denial and sea control where and when needed, project power, and hold critical adversary targets at risk.
“As the only military service in the Department of Homeland Security, the U.S. Coast Guard provides unique multi-mission and intelligence capabilities to complement the ability of our Marines and Navy to protect our national interests when necessary and deliver lethality across the globe,” said Schultz. “Our hallmark is working daily with partner agencies, sister sea services, and international navies and coast guards to counter maritime coercion and uphold the rules-based order – partnerships work.”
To read the full strategy, please visit: Advantage at Sea