The Role of the U.S. Navy in Support of the National Strategy for Maritime Security
By Commander Peter J. Winter, United States Navy
USAWC STRATEGY RESEARCH PROJECT 2006
The National Strategy for Homeland Security (NSHS) was written as a result of National Security Presidential Directive NSPD-41/Homeland Security Presidential Directive HSPS-13. It defined three strategic objectives in order to protect the nation from terrorism: prevent terrorist attacks within the United States; reduce America’s vulnerability to terrorism; and minimize the damage and recover from attacks that do occur.2 The Department of Homeland Security and the Office of the Secretary of Defense have responsibility for protecting the nation and its interests, and the National Strategy for Maritime Security (NSMS) was written as a policy document to define the ends, ways, and means to accomplish the task in the maritime domain. Directed by the President in December 2004 and recently published in September 2005, the strategy was the result of a collaborative effort between the Department of Defense and the Department of Homeland Security. The goal of the new strategy is to better synchronize the various national efforts and ensure effective and efficient implementation. In order to accomplish the objectives of the strategy, eight supporting documents are currently published or under development to align the efforts of federal, state, local, and private sector entities that integrate maritime security programs and initiatives. Will our national effort to protect the global maritime commons, and the economic prosperity that ensues as a result of free use of the maritime domain, be sufficient to “protect legitimate activities while preventing hostile or illegal acts” around the globe? It is clear that the United States has thrived on being a nation rich in maritime heritage and power with a strong Navy to support its policies. Control of the sea has lead to great economic prosperity and has been a key enabler of national security. Therefore, continued interest in maritime security is of utmost importance in the age of globalization and is critical to help facilitate the efforts in the War on Terrorism. In today’s global market economy, the oceans are becoming increasingly important as more nations take advantage of the maritime environment. With more than eighty percent of the world’s trade traveling by water,5 security for commercial shipping has reaffirmed its strategic importance for all countries. Yet threats to the shipping industry continue to increase around the world as terrorist networks have become increasingly savvy in exploiting the critical trading hubs and strategic chokepoints through which seventy-five percent of the world’s maritime trade and half its daily oil consumption6 pass. Defeating the wide array of threats to maritime security needs to become a top priority with a significant role for the United States Navy if our nation wishes to maintain its economic freedom and prosperity.
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