|Sea-based operations use revolutionary information superiority and dispersed, networked force capabilities to deliver unprecedented offensive power, defensive assurance, and operational independence to Joint Force Commanders.|
©BRIAN F. WOLFF/WWW.IIPNET.COM
The 21st century sets the stage for tremendous
increases in naval precision, reach, and connectivity, ushering in a new era of
joint operational effectiveness. Innovative concepts and technologies will integrate
sea, land, air, space, and cyberspace to a greater extent than ever before. In
this unified battlespace, the sea will provide a vast maneuver area from which
to project direct and decisive power around the globe.
Future naval operations will use revolutionary information superiority and
dispersed, networked force capabilities to deliver unprecedented offensive power,
defensive assurance, and operational independence to Joint Force Commanders. Our
Navy and its partners will dominate the continuum of warfare from the maritime
domaindeterring forward in peacetime, responding to crises, and fighting
and winning wars.
By doing so, we will continue the evolution of U.S. naval power from the blue-water,
war-at-sea focus of the "Maritime Strategy" (1986), through the littoral
emphasis of ". . . From the Sea" (1992) and "Forward . . . from
the Sea" (1994), to a broadened strategy in which naval forces are fully
integrated into global joint operations against regional and transnational dangers.
To realize the opportunities and navigate the challenges ahead, we must have
a clear vision of how our Navy will organize, integrate, and transform. "Sea
Power 21" is that vision. It will align our efforts, accelerate our progress,
and realize the potential of our people. "Sea Power 21" will guide our
Navy as we defend our nation and defeat our enemies in the uncertain century before
The events of 11 September 2001 tragically illustrated that the promise of
peace and security in the new century is fraught with profound dangers: nations
poised for conflict in key regions, widely dispersed and well-funded terrorist
and criminal organizations, and failed states that deliver only despair to their
These dangers will produce frequent crises, often with little warning of timing,
size, location, or intensity. Associated threats will be varied and deadly, including
weapons of mass destruction, conventional warfare, and widespread terrorism. Future
enemies will attempt to deny us access to critical areas of the world, threaten
vital friends and interests overseas, and even try to conduct further attacks
against the American homeland. These threats will pose increasingly complex challenges
to national security and future warfighting.
Previous strategies addressed regional challenges. Today, we must think more
broadly. Enhancing security in this dynamic environment requires us to expand
our strategic focus to include both evolving regional challenges and transnational
threats. This combination of traditional and emerging dangers means increased
risk to our nation. To counter that risk, our Navy must expand its striking power,
achieve information dominance, and develop transformational ways of fulfilling
our enduring missions of sea control, power projection, strategic deterrence,
strategic sealift, and forward presence.
Three fundamental concepts lie at the heart of the Navy's continued operational
effectiveness: Sea Strike, Sea Shield, and Sea Basing. Sea Strike is the ability
to project precise and persistent offensive power from the sea; Sea Shield extends
defensive assurance throughout the world; and Sea Basing enhances operational
independence and support for the joint force. These concepts build upon the solid
foundation of the Navy-Marine Corps team, leverage U.S. asymmetric advantages,
and strengthen joint combat effectiveness.
We often cite asymmetric challenges when referring to enemy threats, virtually
assuming such advantages belong only to our adversaries. "Sea Power 21"
is built on a foundation of American asymmetric strengths that are powerful and
uniquely ours. Among others, these include the expanding power of computing, systems
integration, a thriving industrial base, and the extraordinary capabilities of
our people, whose innovative nature and desire to excel give us our greatest competitive
Sea Strike, Sea Shield, and Sea Basing will be enabled by ForceNet, an overarching
effort to integrate warriors, sensors, networks, command and control, platforms,
and weapons into a fully netted, combat force. We have been talking about network-centric
warfare for a decade, and ForceNet will be the Navy's plan to make it an operational
reality. Supported by ForceNet, Sea Strike, Sea Shield, and Sea Basing capabilities
will be deployed by way of a Global Concept of Operations that widely distributes
the firepower of the fleet, strengthens deterrence, improves crisis response,
and positions us to win decisively in war.
Sea Strike: Projecting Precise and Persistent Offensive Power
Projecting decisive combat power has been critical to every commander who ever
went into battle, and this will remain true in decades ahead. Sea Strike operations
are how the 21st-century Navy will exert direct, decisive, and sustained influence
in joint campaigns. They will involve the dynamic application of persistent intelligence,
surveillance, and reconnaissance; time-sensitive strike; ship-to-objective maneuver;
information operations; and covert strike to deliver devastating power and accuracy
in future campaigns.
Information gathering and management are at the heart of this revolution in
striking power. Networked, long-dwell naval sensors will be integrated with national
and joint systems to penetrate all types of cover and weather, assembling vast
amounts of information. Data provided by Navy assetsmanned and unmannedwill
be vital to establishing a comprehensive understanding of enemy military, economic,
and political vulnerabilities. Rapid planning processes will then use this knowledge
to tailor joint strike packages that deliver calibrated effects at precise times
Sea Strike Impact
Sea Strike Capabilities
Future Sea Strike Technologies
Sea Strike: Action Steps
Knowledge dominance provided by persistent intelligence, surveillance, and
reconnaissance will be converted into action by a full array of Sea Strike optionsnext-generation
missiles capable of in-flight targeting, aircraft with stand-off precision weapons,
extended-range naval gunfire, information operations, stealthy submarines, unmanned
combat vehicles, and Marines and SEALs on the ground. Sovereign naval forces will
exploit their strategic flexibility, operational independence, and speed of command
to conduct sustained operations 24 hours per day, 7 days per week, 365 days per
Information superiority and flexible strike options will result in time-sensitive
targeting with far greater speed and accuracy. Military operations will become
more complicated as advanced intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance products
proliferate. Expanded situational awareness will put massed forces at risk, for
both friends and adversaries. This will compress timelines and prompt greater
use of dispersed, low-visibility forces. Countering such forces will demand speed,
agility, and streamlined information processing tied to precision attack. Sea
Strike will meet that challenge.
The importance of information operations will grow in the years ahead as high-technology
weapons and systems become more widely available. Information operations will
mature into a major warfare area, to include electronic warfare, psychological
operations, computer network attack, computer network defense, operations security,
and military deception. Information operations will play a key role in controlling
crisis escalation and preparing the battlefield for subsequent attack. This U.S.
asymmetry will be a critical part of Sea Strike.
When we cannot achieve operational objectives from over the horizon, our Navy-Marine
Corps team moves ashore. Using advanced vertical and horizontal envelopment techniques,
fully netted ground forces will maneuver throughout the battlespace, employing
speed and precision to generate combat power. Supported by sea bases, we will
exploit superior situational awareness and coordinated fires to create shock,
confusion, and chaos in enemy ranks. Information superiority and networking will
act as force multipliers, allowing agile ground units to produce the warfighting
impact traditionally provided by far heavier forces, bringing expeditionary warfare
to a new level of lethality and combat effectiveness.
Sea Strike capabilities will provide Joint Force Commanders with a potent mix
of weapons, ranging from long-range precision strike, to covert land-attack in
anti-access environments, to the swift insertion of ground forces. Information
superiority will empower us to dominate timelines, foreclose adversary options,
and deny enemy sanctuary. Sea Strike operations will be fully integrated into
joint campaigns, adding the unique independence, responsiveness, and on-scene
endurance of naval forces to joint strike efforts. Combined sea-based and land-based
striking power will produce devastating effects against enemy strategic, operational,
and tactical pressure pointsresulting in rapid, decisive operations and
the early termination of conflict.
Sea Shield: Projecting Global Defensive Assurance
Traditionally, naval defense has protected the unit, the fleet, and the sea
lines of communication. Tomorrow's Navy will do much more. Sea Shield takes us
beyond unit and task-force defense to provide the nation with sea-based theater
and strategic defense.
Sea Shield will protect our national interests with layered global defensive
power based on control of the seas, forward presence, and networked intelligence.
It will use these strengths to enhance homeland defense, assure access to contested
littorals, and project defensive power deep inland. As with Sea Strike, the foundation
of these integrated operations will be information superiority, total force networking,
and an agile and flexible sea-based force.
Homeland defense will be accomplished by a national effort that integrates
forward-deployed naval forces with the other military services, civil authorities,
and intelligence and law-enforcement agencies. Working with the newly established
Northern Command, we will identify, track, and intercept dangers long before they
threaten our homeland. These operations will extend the security of the United
States far seaward, taking advantage of the time and space afforded by naval forces
to shield our nation from impending threats.
Sea Shield Impact
Sea Shield Capabilities
Future Sea Shield Technologies
Sea Shield: Action Steps
Maritime patrol aircraft, ships, submarines, and unmanned vehicles will provide
comprehensive situational awareness to cue intercepting units. When sent to investigate
a suspicious vessel, boarding parties will use advanced equipment to detect the
presence of contraband by visual, chemical, and radiological methods. Forward-deployed
naval forces will also protect the homeland by engaging inbound ballistic missiles
in the boost or mid-course phase, when they are most vulnerable to interception.
In addition, our nuclear-armed Trident ballistic missile submarine force will
remain on silent patrol around the world, providing the ultimate measure of strategic
deterrence. These highly survivable submarines are uniquely powerful assets for
deterring aggressors who would contemplate using weapons of mass destruction.
Achieving battle-space superiority in forward theaters is central to the Sea
Shield concept, especially as enemy area-denial efforts become more capable. In
times of rising tension, pre-positioned naval units will sustain access for friendly
forces and maritime trade by employing evolving expeditionary sensor grids and
advanced deployable systems to locate and track enemy threats. Speed will be an
ally as linked sensors, high-speed platforms, and improved kill vehicles consolidate
area control, including the location and neutralization of mines via state-of-the-art
technology on dedicated mine warfare platforms and battle group combatants. Mission-reconfigurable
Littoral Combat Ships, manned and unmanned aviation assets, and submarines with
unmanned underwater vehicles will gain and maintain the operational advantage,
while sea-based aircraft and missiles deliver air dominance. The result will be
combat-ready forces that are prepared to "climb into the ring" to achieve
and sustain access before and during crises.
Perhaps the most dramatic advancement promised by Sea Shield will be the ability
of naval forces to project defensive power deep overland, assuring friends and
allies while protecting joint forces ashore. A next-generation long-range surface-to-air
Standard Missile, modernized E-2 Hawkeye radar, and Cooperative Engagement Capability
will combine to extend sea-based cruise missile defense far inland. This will
reinforce the impact of sea-based ballistic missile defense and greatly expand
the coverage of naval area defense. These capabilities represent a broadened mission
for our Navy that will lessen the defensive burden on land forces and increase
sea-based influence over operations ashore.
The importance of Sea Shield to our nation has never been greater, as the proliferation
of advanced weapons and asymmetric attack techniques places an increasing premium
on the value of deterrence and battlespace dominance. Sea Shield capabilities,
deployed forward, will help dissuade aggressors before the onset of conflict.
In addition, Sea Shield will complement Sea Strike efforts by freeing aviation
forces previously devoted to force defense, allowing them to concentrate on strike
missions and generate far greater offensive firepower from the fleet. In sum,
Sea Shield will enhance crisis control, protect allies and joint forces ashore,
and set the stage for combat victoryproviding a powerful new tool for joint
combatant commanders in this dangerous age.
Sea Basing: Projecting Joint Operational Independence
Operational maneuver is now, and always has been, fundamental to military success.
As we look to the future, the extended reach of networked weapons and sensors
will tremendously increase the impact of naval forces in joint campaigns. We will
do this by exploiting the largest maneuver area on the face of the earth: the
Sea Basing serves as the foundation from which offensive and defensive fires
are projectedmaking Sea Strike and Sea Shield realities. As enemy access
to weapons of mass destruction grows, and the availability of overseas bases declines,
it is compelling both militarily and politically to reduce the vulnerability of
U.S. forces through expanded use of secure, mobile, networked sea bases. Sea Basing
capabilities will include providing Joint Force Commanders with global command
and control and extending integrated logistical support to other services. Afloat
positioning of these capabilities strengthens force protection and frees airlift-sealift
to support missions ashore.
Sea Basing Impact
Sea Basing Capabilities
Future Sea Basing Technologies
Sea Basing: Action Steps
Netted and dispersed sea bases will consist of numerous platforms, including
nuclear-powered aircraft carriers, multi-mission destroyers, submarines with Special
Forces, and maritime pre-positioned ships, providing greatly expanded power to
joint operations. Sea-based platforms will also enhance coalition-building efforts,
sharing their information and combat effectiveness with other nations in times
Sea Basing accelerates expeditionary deployment and employment timelines by
pre-positioning vital equipment and supplies in-theater, preparing the United
States to take swift and decisive action during crises. We intend to develop these
capabilities to the fullest extent. Strategic sealift will be central to this
effort. It remains a primary mission of the U.S. Navy and will be critical during
any large conflict fought ashore. Moreover, we will build pre-positioned ships
with at-sea-accessible cargo, awaiting closure of troops by way of high-speed
sealift and airlift. Joint operational flexibility will be greatly enhanced by
employing pre-positioned shipping that does not have to enter port to offload.
Twenty-first-century operations will require greater efficiencies through the
development of joint logistical support. This will include the provisioning of
joint supplies and common ammunition, and the completion of critical repairs from
afloat platforms. Providing these capabilities to on-scene commanders will significantly
increase operational effectiveness and constitute a valuable addition to strategic
basing support provided by friends and allies around the world.
Beyond its operational impact, the Sea Basing concept provides a valuable tool
for prioritizing naval programs. Sea-based forces enjoy advantages of security,
immediate employability, and operational independence. All naval programs should
foster these attributes to the greatest extent feasible. This means transforming
shore-based capabilities to sea-based systems whenever practical, and improving
the reach, persistence, and sustainability of systems that are already afloat.
ForceNet: Enabling 21st Century Warfare
ForceNet is the "glue" that binds together Sea Strike, Sea Shield,
and Sea Basing. It is the operational construct and architectural framework for
naval warfare in the information age, integrating warriors, sensors, command and
control, platforms, and weapons into a networked, distributed combat force.
ForceNet will provide the architecture to increase substantially combat capabilities
through aligned and integrated systems, functions, and missions. It will transform
situational awareness, accelerate speed of decision, and allow us to greatly distribute
combat power. ForceNet will harness information for knowledge-based combat operations
and increase force survivability. It will also provide real-time enhanced collaborative
planning among joint and coalition partners.
Using a total system approach, ForceNet will shape the development of integrated
capabilities. These include maritime information processing and command and control
components that are fully interoperable with joint systems; intelligence, surveillance,
and reconnaissance fusion capabilities to support rapid targeting and maneuver;
open systems architecture for broad and affordable interoperability; and safeguards
to ensure networks are reliable and survivable. ForceNet also emphasizes the human
factor in the development of advanced technologies. This philosophy acknowledges
that the warrior is a premier element of all operational systems.
Today, ForceNet is moving from concept to reality. Initial efforts will focus
on integrating existing networks, sensors, and command and control systems. In
the years ahead, it will enable the naval service to employ a fully netted force,
engage with distributed combat power, and command with increased awareness and
speed as an integral part of the joint team.
"Sea Power 21" will be implemented by a Global Concept of Operations
that will provide our nation with widely dispersed combat power from platforms
possessing unprecedented warfighting capabilities. The global environment and
our defense strategy call for a military with the ability to respond swiftly to
a broad range of scenarios and defend the vital interests of the United States.
We must dissuade, deter, and defeat both regional adversaries and transnational
The Global Concept of Operations will disperse combat striking power by creating
additional independent operational groups capable of responding simultaneously
around the world. This increase of combat power is possible because technological
advancements are dramatically transforming the capability of our ships, submarines,
and aircraft to act as power projection forces, netted together for expanded warfighting
Impact of Global Concept of Operations
The results will be profound. Naval capability packages will be readily assembled
from forward-deployed forces. These forces will be tailored to meet the mission
needs of the Joint Force Commander, complementing other available joint assets.
They will be sized to the magnitude of the task at hand. As a result, our Navy
will be able to respond simultaneously to a broad continuum of contingencies and
conflict, anywhere around the world. The Global Concept of Operations will employ
a flexible force structure that includes:
The Global Concept of Operations requires a fleet of approximately 375 ships
that will increase our striking power from today's 12 carrier battle groups, to
12 Carrier Strike Groups, 12 Expeditionary Strike Groups, and multiple missile-defense
Surface Action Groups and guided-missile submarines. These groups will operate
independently around the world to counter transnational threats and they will
join together to form Expeditionary Strike Forcesthe "gold standard"
of naval powerwhen engaged in regional conflict.
This dispersed, netted, and operationally agile fleet, as part of the joint
force, will deliver the combat power needed to sustain homeland defense, provide
forward deterrence in four theaters, swiftly defeat two aggressors at the same
time, and deliver decisive victory in one of those conflicts. Employment of sovereign
sea-based forces projecting offensive and defensive power across a unified battlespace
will be central to every war plan. Equally important, this 21st-century fleet
will be positioned to immediately counter unexpected threats arising from any
corner of the world.
The Global Concept of Operations will increase striking power, enhance flexibility,
and improve responsiveness. It will fulfill our broadened strategy by sustaining
the on-scene capabilities needed to fight and win.
We are developing Sea Strike, Sea Shield, and Sea Basing through a supporting
triad of organizational processes: Sea Trial, Sea Warrior, and Sea Enterpriseinitiatives
that will align and accelerate the development of enhanced warfighting capabilities
for the fleet.
Sea Trial: The Process of Innovation
Our enemies are dedicated to finding new and effective methods of attacking
us. They will not stand still. To outpace our adversaries, we must implement a
continual process of rapid concept and technology development that will deliver
enhanced capabilities to our Sailors as swiftly as possible.
The Navy starts with the fleet, and Sea Trial will be fleet-led. The Commander,
U.S. Fleet Forces Command, will serve as Executive Agent for Sea Trial, with Second
and Third Fleet commanders sponsoring the development of Sea Strike, Sea Shield,
and Sea Basing capabilities. These commanders will reach throughout the military
and beyond to coordinate concept and technology development in support of future
warfighting effectiveness. The Systems Commands and Program Executive Offices
will be integral partners in this effort, bringing concepts to reality through
technology innovation and the application of sound business principles.
The Navy Warfare Development Command, reporting directly to the Commander,
U.S. Fleet Forces Command, will coordinate Sea Trial. Working closely with the
fleets, technology development centers, and academic resources, the Navy Warfare
Development Command will integrate wargaming, experimentation, and exercises to
speed development of new concepts and technologies. They will do this by identifying
candidates with the greatest potential to provide dramatic increases in warfighting
capability. Embracing spiral development, these technologies and concepts will
then be matured through targeted investment and guided through a process of rapid
prototyping and fleet experimentation.
The Sea Trial process will develop enhanced warfighting capabilities for the
fleet by more effectively integrating the thousands of talented and energetic
experts, military and civilian, who serve throughout our Navy. Working together,
we will fulfill the promise of "Sea Power 21."
Sea Trial Impact
Sea Warrior Impact
Sea Enterprise Impact
Sea Warrior: Investing in Sailors
The Sea Warrior program implements our Navy's commitment to the growth and
development of our people. It will serve as the foundation of warfighting effectiveness
by ensuring the right skills are in the right place at the right time. Led by
the Chief of Naval Personnel and Commander, Naval Education and Training Command,
Sea Warrior will develop naval professionals who are highly skilled, powerfully
motivated, and optimally employed for mission success.
Traditionally, our ships have relied on large crews to accomplish their missions.
Today, our all-volunteer service is developing new combat capabilities and platforms
that feature dramatic advancements in technology and reductions in crew size.
The crews of modern warships are streamlined teams of operational, engineering,
and information technology experts who collectively operate some of the most complex
systems in the world. As optimal manning policies and new platforms reduce crew
size further, we will increasingly need Sailors who are highly educated and expertly
Introducing our people to a life-long continuum of learning is key to achieving
our vision. In July 2001, we established Task Force EXCEL (Excellence through
our Commitment to Education and Learning) to begin a revolution in training that
complements the revolution in technologies, systems, and platforms for tomorrow's
fleet. We are dedicated to improving our Sailors' professional and personal development,
leadership, military education, and performance. Task Force EXCEL will apply information-age
methods to accelerate learning and improve proficiency, including advanced trainers
and simulators, tailored skills training programs, improved mentoring techniques,
and more effective performance measurement and counseling tools. This growth and
development focus will revolutionize the way we train.
Another initiative central to Sea Warrior is Project SAIL (Sailor Advocacy
through Interactive Leadership). Project SAIL is moving the Navy toward an interactive
and incentivized distribution system that includes guaranteed schools for high-performing
non-rated personnel, team detailing, Internet job listings, an information call
center, and expanded detailer outreach. These actions will put choice in the process
for both gaining commands and Sailors, and it will empower our people to make
more informed career decisions.
Our goal is to create a Navy in which all Sailorsactive and reserve,
afloat and ashoreare optimally assessed, trained, and assigned so that they
can contribute their fullest to mission accomplishment.
Sea Enterprise: Resourcing Tomorrow's Fleet
Among the critical challenges that we face today are finding and allocating
resources to recapitalize the Navy. We must replace Cold War-era systems with
significantly more capable sensors, networks, weapons, and platforms if we are
to increase our ability to deter and defeat enemies.
Sea Enterprise, led by the Vice Chief of Naval Operations, is key to this effort.
Involving the Navy Headquarters, the Systems Commands, and the Fleet, it seeks
to improve organizational alignment, refine requirements, and reinvest savings
to buy the platforms and systems needed to transform our Navy. Drawing on lessons
from the business revolution, Sea Enterprise will reduce overhead, streamline
processes, substitute technology for manpower, and create incentives for positive
change. Legacy systems and platforms no longer integral to mission accomplishment
will be retired, and we will make our Navy's business processes more efficient
to achieve enhanced warfighting effectiveness in the most cost-effective manner.
Our Navy values operational excellence as its highest priority, and the vast
majority of our training is devoted to sharpening tactical skills. However, it
is also important that our leaders understand sound business practices so that
we can provide the greatest return on the taxpayer's investment. To meet this
need, we are creating educational opportunities to teach our leaders about executive
business management, finance, and information technology. For example, the Center
for Executive Education at the Naval Postgraduate School brings together rising
flag officers and private industry decision-makers to discuss emerging business
practices. We must also extend this understanding to the deckplates, so that our
future leaders gain experience in a culture of strengthened productivity and continually
Increased inter-service integration also holds great promise for achieving
efficiencies. For example, the Navy and Marine Corps tactical aviation integration
plan will save billions of dollars for both services, enhance our interoperability,
and more fully integrate our people. Whether it is the U.S. Coast Guard's Deepwater
Integrated Systems Program, new munitions being developed with the U.S. Air Force,
joint experiments with the U.S. Army on high-speed vessels, or a new combined
intelligence structure with the U.S. Marine Corps, we will share technologies
and systems whenever possible. Such efforts must not just continue; they must
expand. Savings captured by Sea Enterprise will play a critical role in the Navy's
transformation into a 21st-century force that delivers what truly matters: increased
The 21st century is clearly characterized by dangerous uncertainty and conflict.
In this unpredictable environment, military forces will be required to defeat
a growing range of conventional and asymmetric threats.
"Sea Power 21" is our vision to align, organize, integrate, and transform
our Navy to meet the challenges that lie ahead. It requires us to continually
and aggressively reach. It is global in scope, fully joint in execution, and dedicated
to transformation. It reinforces and expands concepts being pursued by the other
serviceslong-range strike; global intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance;
expeditionary maneuver warfare; and light, agile ground forcesto generate
maximum combat power from the joint team.
"Sea Power 21" will employ current capabilities in new ways, introduce
innovative capabilities as quickly as possible, and achieve unprecedented maritime
power. Decisive warfighting capabilities from the sea will be built around:
The powerful warfighting capabilities of "Sea Power 21" will ensure
our joint force dominates the unified battlespace of the 21st century, strengthening
America's ability to assure friends, deter adversaries, and triumph over enemiesanywhere,