Is Presence Still a Viable Naval Mission?   [open pdf - 1MB]

"This paper addresses the issue of whether naval presence remains viable as a means of naval diplomacy. Since World War II, the U.S. Navy has been capable of maintaining a naval presence of sufficient combat strength to decisively effect the military balance in virtually every maritime crisis area. With the proliferation of sophisticated weapons throughout the Third World, the growth of independent regional military powers, and the anticipated reduction in the number of deployable carrier battle groups, the capability of the U.S. Navy to effectively use naval diplomacy in support of U.S. foreign policy appears to be significantly reduced. This paper argues that there remains a viable mission for naval presence, especially in view of the continuing focus of U.S. foreign poliicy [sic] on combating terrorism and illicit drug-trafficking. However, continued viability of naval presence will be dependent upon establishment of a policy of retaliation in the event presence forces are attacked, changing from a strategy based upon routine presence to one of intermittent presence, and greater selectivity in the employment of naval forces in a presence role."

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