AMERICAN SEA POWER AND GREAT POWER COMPETITION: HOW THE U.S. MUST RESPOND TO CHINA AND RUSSIA'S GROWING NAVAL CAPABILITY
Busick, Richard V. C.
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American sea power has diminished significantly since the end of the Cold War. The loss of sea power relative to rising great power competitors risks the ability of the United States to adequately advance or defend its national interests in war or in peace. The current rise of China as a sea power and resurgence of Russia as a growing undersea naval threat pose new challenges for the U.S. Navy. The purpose of this research was to determine if the Navy was prepared to meet this challenge and if not, to identify deficiencies and make recommendations for improvement. This research was conducted using a historical case study approach in which several eras were reviewed and analyzed for their lessons on sealift and naval power and their implications for today. World War II, the Tanker War of the 1980s, and the British Falkland Islands campaign were studied in regard to their implication on sealift and maritime logistics. World War II, the latter part of the Cold War, and the era of the Global War on Terror were then studied for lesson related to naval combat power. The study concluded that the United States was not prepared for the challenges of great power competition. Specific deficiencies were noted in the categories of readiness, fleet size, fleet composition, shore-based infrastructure, strategy, and doctrine and training. Lessons from the historical case studies were applied to develop a series of recommendations which, if implemented, could better prepare the United States for great power competition. Reinvigorating American sea power requires a significant national investment which is only possible through the political will of policy makers based on an engaged public.