NEWPORT, R.I. (NNS) -- At the U.S. Naval War College's (NWC) 63nd annual Current Strategy Forum (CSF), Under Secretary of the Navy Robert Work told more than 900 students and invited guests that the U.S. Navy is entering a "golden era" of seapower during a keynote speech, June 12.
Despite difficult economic challenges around the world, Work was optimistic about a strategic shift and focus toward Asia-Pacific and reflected on how the Navy and Marine Corps team transitions from today's conflicts and positions itself for the challenges of tomorrow.
"Our strategic concept and our organizational construct is precisely aligned with the strategic requirements for the 21st century," he said. "It is hard to imagine a more maritime friendly strategic environment."
Work discussed the connection between America's national security and its economy. To explain the interconnection, Work said the nation has not been in a situation like this since the early 1950s when President Eisenhower was in office. He pointed out that the country is at a strategic inflection point where the post Iraq and Afghanistan military drawdown is occurring at the same time public debt is increasing.
"One thing that is very much different about this drawdown than the other drawdowns in our history is you can't buy as much with $700 billion as you could at $550 billion. Things cost more so the Navy will emphasize capability over capacity."
The importance and continued need for a strong nation was emphasized throughout his talk. The tenets of American sea power on world economic growth are as valid today as when Adm. Alfred Thayer Mahan wrote "The Influence of Seapower on History," in 1890.
"Oceans are central to the economy, which means they are central to our national strategy," said Work. "Ready reliable information, secure finances, stable economies, and free global trade depend upon the free navigation of the oceans."
In keeping with the theme of this year's CSF, "Sustaining US Global Leadership: Priorities for 21st Century Defense," Work emphasized the Navy-Marine Corps team's importance to a national strategy focused on securing the economic interests of the U.S.
"This is a warfighting Navy and Marine Corps." Work emphasized. "The Navy-Marine Corps team is built and ready for war and will continue to operate forward to help preserve the peace, protect America, allied and global interests, and assure freedom of access in peace and war."
This year marks the 63rd annual CSF hosted by the Secretary of the Navy. The first CSF held on May 9, 1949, under the title "Round Table Talks" offered an opportunity for the nation's public servants, scholars, and senior military officers to join the College faculty and students to discuss the future strategy of the United States. Over the decades, the forum has expanded to include a cross section of America's civilian leadership to encourage a wide-ranging debate on national and international security.
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