U.S. Maritime Strategy: Advantage at Sea

December 17, 2020 8:53 AM

The following is the U.S. Sea Services’ new maritime strategy, Advantage at Sea: Prevailing with Integrated All-Domain Naval Power that was released by the Navy, Marine Corps and Coast Guard on Dec. 17, 2020.

From the report

The United States is a maritime nation. Our security and prosperity depend on the seas. Since the end of World War II, the United States has built, led, and advanced a rules-based international system through shared commitments with our allies and partners. Forward deployed forces of the U.S. Navy, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard—collectively known as the Naval Service—have guaranteed the security of this system. Free and open access to the world’s oceans has fostered an extraordinary era of wealth and peace for many nations. That system is now at risk.

Advantage at Sea is a Tri-Service Maritime Strategy that focuses on China and Russia, the two most significant threats to this era of global peace and prosperity. We prioritize competition with China due to its growing economic and military strength, increasing aggressiveness, and demonstrated intent to dominate its regional waters and remake the international order in its favor. Until China chooses to act as a responsible stakeholder rather than brandish its power to further its authoritarian interests, it represents the most comprehensive threat to the United States, our allies, and all nations supporting a free and open system.

Other rivals, including Iran, North Korea, violent extremist organizations, and transnational criminal organizations, also continue to subvert the international rules-based order. We will address these challengers in a coordinated, multinational manner with forces developed to address more significant military threats.

The stakes of this competition are high. China’s aggressive actions are undermining the international rules-based order, while its growing military capacity and capabilities are eroding U.S. military advantages at an alarming rate. The Naval Service must act with urgency, clarity, and vision to take the bold steps required to reverse these trends.

Advantage at Sea provides guidance to the Naval Service for the next decade to prevail across a continuum of competition—composed of interactions with other nations from cooperation to conflict. This strategy emphasizes the following five themes. We must fullyleverage the complementary authorities and capabilities of the Naval Service to generate Integrated All-Domain Naval Power. We must strengthen our alliances and partnerships— our key strategic advantage in this long-term strategic competition—and achieve unity of effort. We must operate more assertively to prevail in day-to-day competition as we uphold the rules-based order and deter our competitors from pursuing armed aggression. If our rivals escalate into conflict, becoming our adversaries, we must control the seas to deny their objectives, defeat their forces, protect our homeland, and defend our allies. And, we must boldly modernize the future naval force to maintain credible deterrence and preserve our advantage at sea.

This strategy connects the Service Chiefs’ statutory roles—developing naval forces and providing best military advice for employing naval forces. Section I outlines the security environment and the problems that we face. Section II articulates how Integrated All-Domain Naval Power addresses these problems. Section III describes how naval power can be applied across the competition continuum in day-to-day competition, crisis, and conflict to achieve national objectives. Section IV guides the development and integration of a modernized, alldomain naval force that will ensure our unfettered access to the seas and reverse our eroding military advantages.

The challenges we face require us to make hard choices. This strategy prioritizes our most pressing threats, emphasizes expanded cooperation with allies and partners, and relies on deeper Naval Service integration to mitigate strategic risk to the Nation. Additional detail regarding our priorities, capabilities, investments, divestments, and operational approaches is contained in supporting classified guidance, both existing and forthcoming. Advantage at Sea is complemented by separate Service Chief guidance, such as the Chief of Naval Operations’ Navigation Plan, the Commandant of the Marine Corps’ Planning Guidance, and the Commandant of the Coast Guard’s Strategic Plan.

Download the document here.

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