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Rep. Forbes: New U.S. Maritime Strategy Revision ‘Light Years Ahead’ of 2007 Original

Rep. Randy Forbes (R-Va.). Naval Institute Photo

Rep. Randy Forbes (R-Va.). Naval Institute Photo

The recent revision to the Navy, Marine Corps and Coast Guard’s maritime strategy is ‘light years ahead’ of the 2007 original draft, the chairman of the House Armed Service Subcommittee on Seapower and Projection Forces told USNI News last week.

Two weeks after the rollout of the tri-service plan. Rep Randy Forbes (R-Va.) said he mostly pleased with the content of A Cooperative Strategy for 21st Century Seapower (CS21).

“I thought the last one wasn’t very strong at all it didn’t have much meat to it. This one is light years ahead of where that strategy was and because of that I think this could be something that could have a lot more shelf life to it,” Forbes said.
“It is certainly something we are looking at and paying attention to with our subcommittee.”

In particular, Forbes was pleased the Navy included a component about China.

“They were pretty straightforward talking about the challenge China would pose,” he said.
“That’s something if you leave out of our maritime strategy, it almost becomes worthless.”

However, Forbes would have liked to see more attention on the industrial base and a force structure assessment specifically for the Navy.

“I think one of the things that more and more people are becoming a little bit concerned about is our over all industrial base — what it’s going to look like five years down the road and ten years down the road?” he said.
“I would have liked to have seen them do a laydown about that industrial base is and then some planning on how the maritime strategy will help support that industrial base so we will have it there to provide the ships and repairs we’ll need down the road.”

Forbes has been vocal about a perceived lack of overall U.S. military strategic direction.

“I find the degree to which we as a nation are devoting any real intellectual energy to the subject [of strategy] to be minimal, just as I find that our capacity to devote such energy to be waning,” read a July 28 from Forbes to Chief of Naval Operations (CNO) Adm. Jonathan Greenert.

“I write to you because of my sense that an effort to restore strategic thinking in the U.S. government must be started and championed by a strong advocate. I believe the Navy can be that champion and the Chief of Naval Operations can be its chief advocate.”

Over the 18-months CS-21 revision process, the Navy shared drafts and asked legislators for their input into the final revision, including Forbes.

“The Navy actually met with us early on in this process, talked to us and said ‘we included some of your suggestions in this maritime strategy’ and in face they have — throughout,” he said.
“Overall they did a very good job with this maritime strategy and it should guide us in many of the decisions we should make over the upcoming months.”