Tuesday, October 30, 2012

CNO's Position Report

Last week, the CNO released his "Position Report" to describe the progress made toward the vision laid out in his "Sailing Directions".  The document describes itself thusly:  "Similar to what we do at sea (for example, the Eight O’ Clock Report), this Position Report “takes a fix” on where we are today and identifies “course and speed”ch anges to keep us on track and counter the effects of “set and drift” – emerging challenges that will tend to take us off our track."

The piece is straightforward and descriptive, without a lot of chest thumping.  In essence, CNO is saying, "this is what I said we'd do, this is how we're doing, and here's where we need to do more."

A couple of things caught my eye:

1.  "With the other sea services we will revise our maritime strategy, “A Cooperative Strategy for 21st Century Seapower”, to address the challenges and threats facing us in the near future."  This is a good thing, as I've written here before.  The 2007 strategy was suited to its time and environment, but seems too general for the clarified threat set and the obvious turn to Seapower in the offing.

2.  "We will develop concepts to guide future amphibious operations, building on the ongoing “Single Naval Battle” effort with the Marine Corps."  Pay close attention to "Single Naval Battle".  I think the discussion surrounding it could be one of the most interesting ripples in the maritime strategy field in some time.  If it is done right, rice bowls will shatter, cultural norms will fade, and the two services will integrate to degree that none of us have ever experienced.  What will the costs be?  Shattered rice bowls and faded cultural norms.  Stay tuned for this one--could shape the next two decades of the Department of the Navy like no other development.

Bryan McGrath

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