Seaman Apprentice Robert Nunez, left, from Suffolk, Va., and Seaman Apprentice Amy M. Haskins, from Kansas City, Mo., stand watch on the signal bridge aboard the aircraft carrier USS Nimitz (CVN-68). US Navy Photo
As I consider the likely national security issues facing the United States in the coming decade, I am struck by the decidedly maritime character of these challenges. From China’s rapid naval modernization to Iran’s threat to close the Strait of Hormuz to international shipping, the United States is increasingly facing a security environment requiring robust naval and air forces.
While the previous decade was characterized by the predominance of large ground forces, I firmly believe that the next decade will be defined by the strength of our sea power and projection forces. Read More
Rep. J. Randy Forbes is chairman of the House Armed Services Readiness Subcommittee. The Virginia Republican has held several hearings on naval readiness in the current Congress. He will be part of a panel on the looming fiscal cliff— that could result in a 10 percent reduction in defense spending—at Defense Forum Washington hosted by the U.S. Naval Institute next week.
Rep. Forbes, you said Wednesday that you’re expecting to see sequestration in some form in January. Could you expand on that?
Obviously we are still hopeful to divert sequestration from taking place. The clock is ticking. We continue to believe that defense has already paid its share and shouldn’t be cut in such an arbitrary and drastic fashion. But it’s going to take an awful lot to keep from going over the cliff.
Since Congress passed the “Two-Ocean Navy Bill” in 1940, the U.S. Navy has been sized to operate simultaneously in the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. First during the Second World War and then later against Soviet naval forces, the “Atlantic Fleet” held the line against America’s enemies.
USS Harry S. Truman underway in the Atlantic on Sept. 5, U.S. Navy Photo
Today, with the high-end threats in the Atlantic Ocean subdued, the Navy has called for posturing “credible combat power” in the Indian and Pacific Oceans. One question I am often asked is if this will result in a diminished role for U.S. naval forces on the Atlantic coast as the Navy turns its attention to the Indo-Pacific region. The answer: Far from it. Our East Coast forces will continue to play a major role in regions beyond the geographic scope of their “Atlantic” posture, taking the lead in contributing to sea control and power projection missions in the Arabian Gulf/Indian Ocean while also performing ballistic missile defense, constabulary, intelligence/surveillance/reconnaissance, and partnership-building missions in the Southern Command, Africa Command and the European Command areas of responsibility.