Promoting Maritime Security
MUCH ATTENTION HAS BEEN GIVEN to the ways governments are changing the use of their ground forces, especially when it comes to conducting peacekeeping, stability operations, and counterinsurgency. This attention is no surprise given that NATO countries have more than 250,000 military personnel deployed in Iraq and Afghanistan. These ground forces have learned the hard lessons of stability operations and are reequipping with better-designed uniforms and with vehicles better suited for terrain and IED-defense, and are training for conducting non-warfighting missions. For ground forces, change is necessary not only for success but also for survival in nonpermissive environments. These lessons also inform how military forces are changing in permissive environments where the U.S. military does not conduct combat operations.
Ground forces are not the only ones changing to suit twenty-first century missions. Naval forces are changing too. NATO-, EU-, and U.S.-led naval coalitions around the world are providing port security, patrolling strategic lanes of communication, combating piracy, delivering humanitarian assistance, conducting medical diplomacy, and cooperating with NGOs to promote development. These are very different missions from those for which warships were designed. In particular, the U.S. Navy is adapting to build partners' coast guards and navies to localize maritime-borne threats before they impact freedom of navigation or exploit the maritime commons for illicit activities. Furthermore, navies provide logistics platforms for NGOs to conduct fisheries conservation, provide medical assistance, and deliver relief supplies.
Underlying the change in navies is an effort to export security to build defense relationships that promote specific security interests, develop allied and friendly military capabilities for self-defense and coalition operations, and provide foreign forces peacetime and contingency access. Given its shrinking fleet and global challenges, the U.S. Navy has embraced security cooperation to augment its own force to improve maritime security. Senior Navy strategists Vice Adm. John Morgan and Rear Adm. Charles Martogolio wrote in 2005, “policing the