ALONE AMONG the services, the Navy is always deployed. In wartime, all of the services deploy. In peacetime, the Army and Air Force train and exercise but do not deploy persistently. However, the Navy, and its accompanying Marine Corps, deploy operationally twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year—year in, year out, in peace and in war. This is because the very presence of naval forces demonstrates American interests without having to intrude on another nation’s sovereignty. Naval forces convey the relative importance of American interests through ratcheting up or down the number of ships in a given theater. The Navy’s unique “scalability,” along with its ability to arrive and stay, or to make its presence known and then quietly move on, gives our commander in chief military and diplomatic options.
America cannot retreat from the seas. Its maritime interests are enduring and growing. Great wealth in the form of food stocks, minerals and energy resources lies beneath the waves that find their way to our shores. Additionally, access to lines of communication via the swiftest and most efficient routes across international waters, as well as maritime linkages to forty-nine transoceanic treaty partners, are of critical interest to the United States.
Read the full article in The National Interest