We are entering a new age of Seapower.
A quarter-century of global maritime dominance by the U.S.
Navy is being tested by the return of great power dynamics.
The security interests of the United States and those of our
allies are increasingly challenged by near-peer competitors,
confrontational foreign governments, and well-armed, nonstate
militant groups. Our Navy must adjust to the changing
security environment. We are driven by the challenges of these
state and non-state actors, who may not be as devoted to the
rules-based system of international norms that have shaped
our world for the last 70 years. History teaches us the dangers
to a maritime nation’s security and prosperity when its navy fails
to adapt to the challenges of a changing security environment.
From Europe to Asia, history is replete with nations that rose
to global power only to cede it back through lack of seapower,
either over time or in decisive battle.
As today’s leading naval power, we cannot afford to lose
our Nation’s seapower edge. The U.S. Navy is responding to
global challenges under the leadership of the Chief of Naval
Operations and is guided by the precepts of our “Design for
Maintaining Maritime Superiority.” Responding to the call to
“strengthen naval power at and from the sea,” the U.S. Naval
Surface Force submits this “Surface Force Strategy.” The
strategy describes the return to sea control and implementation
of Distributed Lethality as an operational and organizational
principle for achieving and sustaining sea control at will. Sea
control is the precondition for everything else we must do as a
navy. Distributed Lethality reinforces fleet initiatives that drive
collaboration and integration across warfighting domains.
Distributed Lethality requires increasing the offensive and
defensive capability of surface forces, and guides deliberate
resource investment for modernization and for the future force.
Providing more capabilities across surface forces yields more
options for Geographic Combatant Commanders in peace and
In order to achieve the desired outcome of this strategy, we
must rededicate the force to attain and sustain sea control,
retain the best and the brightest, develop and provide
advanced tactical training, and equip our ships with improved
offensive weapons, sensors, and hard kill/soft kill capabilities.
Pursuing these ends will enhance our capability and capacity
to go on the offensive and to defeat multiple attacks.
By providing a more powerful deterrent, we will dissuade
the first act of aggression, and failing that, we will respond
to an attack in kind by inflicting damage of such magnitude
that it compels an adversary to cease hostilities, and render it
incapable of further aggression.
Commander, Naval Surface Force