The United States is in a position of world
leadership. Maintaining that position is a never-ending
task that becomes harder with each crucial world
situation. The Navy has a vital role in protecting world
freedom. We can only maintain this freedom through a
Navy that has total dedication to that end. You are an
important link in our Navys commitment to freedom.
In the Navy, we, like our forefathers, must make
many sacrifices to maintain our goals. That often means
being away from our homes for long periods, standing
long watches, or doing arduous work. The result is
fulfilling the goal of keeping the world free.
As you study for advancement to petty officer, you
should begin to realize your importance to the overall
mission of the Navy. Advancement will be just one of
the rewards you will receive for dedication and sacrifice.
UNITED STATES SEA POWER
Learning Objectives: When you finish this chapter, you
will be able to
Recognize the importance of sea power in
relation to todays world.
Identify the operational components of the U.S.
Navy sea power.
Sea power as a concept means more than military
power at sea. Sea power describes a nations ability to
protect its political, economic, and military interests
through control of the sea. The principal parts of sea
power are naval power, ocean science, ocean industry,
and ocean commerce.
Sea power encompasses commercial rivalries in
peacetime, diplomatic maneuvering and the clash of
fleets in wartime. The concept of sea power has been
valid whether the fleets were wooden men-of-war or
mighty battleships. It remains sound today, although
technology has caused ship-to-ship battles to become
part of history instead of part of contemporary tactics.
Captain Alfred Thayer Mahan, USN, was the first
person to use the term sea power. He used it in his
principal work, The Influence of Sea Power Upon
History, 1660-1783, published in 1890. Mahan
proposed that there were six conditions required for a
nation to have sea power:
1. An advantageous geographical position
2. Serviceable coastlines, abundant natural
resources, and a favorable climate
3. Extent of territory
4. A population large enough to defend its territory
5. A society with an aptitude for the sea and
6. A government with the influence to dominate
In the decades immediately following the Civil War,
the primary role of the U.S. Navy was as coastal
defender and commerce raider. The United States did
not exercise sea power, but believed in the concept of
national isolation. In effect, the nation stressed naval
expansion within its own country. By 1890, however,
the nation began naval expansion toward other
countries; its concept of national isolation began to ebb.
Those groups in the Navy and in the government
who believed in sea power endorsed Mahans doctrine.
They based their endorsement on the belief that history
provides clues to achieving maritime supremacy.
Mahans concept, therefore, became the intellectual
force behind the United Statesdevelopment of its Navy
into a sea power.
During World War II the emerging effects of
aircraft, aircraft carriers, and radar meant we fought
fewer battles with ships within sight of each other. In
modern naval tactics, we employ gunfire for protection
Control of the seas means security. Control of the seas means
peace. Control of the seas can mean victory. The United States
must control the sea if it is to protect our security.
John F. Kennedy