19 December 2009

Inside the New U.S. Maritime Strategy

Lt. John Ennis, USNR, Inside the New Maritime Strategy,” U.S. Naval Institute Proceedings, Vol. 135, No. 12 (December 2009), pp. 68-71.

Two years after it was published, A Cooperative Strategy for 21st Century Seapower continues to be the subject of fierce debate among scholars, uniformed officers, government officials, and the American public. As a coauthor of the strategy and participant in the discussions that shaped the final document, I consider it useful to explore and set forth some of the more interesting and contentious internal issues that preceded its release.

…there was never any question among the writing team or the flag and general officers who approved the strategy that the Chinese would read themselves into the document in the places where they wanted them to. This was largely confirmed in the work of Dr. Andrew Erickson of the Naval War College’s China Maritime Studies Institute, who monitored open-source Chinese reactions to the document. These reactions were largely predictable, with a certain amount of attention paid to the document’s description of a “multipolar” world (they liked this) and a sense of foreboding over the object of all this “cooperation.”