Occupation of Vella Lavella was now complete. Its seizure concluded the Central Solomons Campaign. This campaign had cost the USN six men o'war, the IJN seventeen. Vella Lavella had cost the Allies less than 150 dead and had validated the by-pass strategy. The Allies now had the strategic initiative. On the other hand, the Allies had spent five months preparing for, and three months executing, their advance just 250 miles up a chain of islands that were 2,500-3,000 miles from Tokyo. Things should go more quickly now.
By-pass strategies were, however, only an option open to the Allies because of their sufficient control of the sea (and air). Within limits, this gave them the freedom to do as they wished. They could go around enemy-held islands. These could no longer hurt them, and they no longer needed them. Those islands by-passed by U.S. forces were kept isolated (real blockaded), and allowed to wither, starve, and die. Any further action taken depended as much on political or administrative convenience as anything else. Usually, none was taken. Bougainville, the main island in the Northern Solomons, was to be next. It could not be by-passed. And on Bougainville the enemy was digging in for what promised to be the toughest defense yet. These defenses, at least, could be by-passed.