29 October 2021

SECNAV Del Toro’s Strategic Guidance to Navy/Marine Corps—Emphasizes China’s Three Sea Forces, Including Maritime Militia!

The Honorable Carlos Del Toro, 78th Secretary of the Navy, One Navy-Marine Corps Team—Strategic Guidance from the Secretary of the Navy (Washington, DC: U.S. Navy Office of Information, 8 October 2021).

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p. 1

Since my confirmation as the 78th Secretary of the Navy, I have characterized the most pressing challenges facing the Department of the Navy as the “Four Cs”: China, Culture, Climate Change, and COVID. The People’s Republic of China represents the pacing challenge against which we must plan our warfighting strategies and investments. …

Of the four, the long-term challenge posed by the People’s Republic of China is the most significant for the Department. The People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) has radically expanded both its size and capabilities, growing to become the world’s largest fleet.

Complementing its modern surface combatants are hundreds of coast guard and maritime militia vessels that Beijing employs to compete in the “gray zone,” the contested arena between routine statecraft and conflict. For the first time in at least a generation, we have a strategic competitor who possesses naval capabilities that rival our own, and who seeks to aggressively employ its forces to challenge U.S. principles, partnerships, and prosperity.

p. 2

The Department of the Navy will be expected to contribute our unique warfighting potential to compete in the gray zone, deter further aggression, and prepare to prevail in conflict as part of an integrated warfighting approach with our fellow Services. …

As our central governing concept, the top priority for the Department of the Navy will be to develop concepts of operations and capabilities that bolster deterrence and expand our warfighting advantages vis-à-vis the People’s Republic of China.

p. 3

  1. Expand Forward Presence

We will prioritize strategic competitive advantage over China and Russia by expanding our global posture to ensure the presence of naval forces with the right mix of platforms, capability, and capacity to maintain freedom of the seas, support international law and norms, stand by our allies and continue to fly, sail, and operate wherever international law allows. We will continue to promote sustained, persistent mobile operations forward. We will make tough decisions to maximize precious resources, ensuring our future naval supremacy against the full spectrum of potential threats, while seeking additional resources to support our increasing responsibilities in the Indo-Pacific region. It will be essential for us to set our naval posture forward to be able to effectively transition from competition to crisis to conflict as needed.

  1. Enhance Warfighting Readiness

The Navy and Marine Corps Team must be ready to compete, fight, and win whenever and wherever needed. To reduce the time our platforms are offline for maintenance and repairs, we will invest in sustainment, critical readiness infrastructure, and the industrial workforce, while adopting the best practices of private industry to increase overall efficiency and reduce preventable mishaps. We will integrate and streamline our combined logistics apparatus and supply chains to ensure constant readiness throughout the Fleet and FMF. We will redirect savings towards transformative modernization wherever possible to enhance future and long term readiness. We will also enhance the readiness of our warriors through targeted investments in advanced training methods, ranges, and facilities on naval installations. Warfighting readiness is critical to deterring the People’s Republic of China.

 p. 5

  1. Leverage Naval Education as a Critical Warfighting Enabler

Our mission demands leaders who possess the highest intellectual and warfighting capabilities in order to confront the many dangers of a complex world. The institutions of our naval education enterprise will work together to develop leaders with the warfighting rigor, intellectual dynamism, and innovative creativity to maintain strategic advantage against competitors and global adversaries. We will create a continuum of learning that develops such leaders to serve at every level through ready, relevant education, attuned to the battle rhythm of active duty service. We will invest in the Naval War College, the Naval Post Graduate School, and the Naval Academy, and build on the creation of the U.S. Naval Community College to expand access for all personnel, ensuring all naval learning institutions provide world-class curricula, research opportunities, and partnerships, tailored and prioritized to meet our most pressing warfighting requirements. … … …