Important supporting documents released

Two important documents have been released by defence authorities in the Unites States. The first is the Joint Operating Environment (JOE) produced by Joint Forces Command in Norfolk, Virginia. It provides an insight into their view of the anticipated future and the security challenges it will entail.

The second is a 'naval strategy' document produced by the commander of Pacific Command, Admiral Timothy Keating, who is based in Hawaii. Richard Halloran, in a 30 Nov article in the Honolulu Advertiser, described it thusly:

"The new strategy, approved this month by the command's leader is based on partnership, presence, and military readiness. Earlier versions were more assertive in tone. In his cover letter authorizing the new strategy, Keating said, "It underscores the fundamental importance of sustained and persistent cooperation and collaboration in times of relative peace to mitigate situations that could lead to conflict and crisis." Many Asians and some Americans in recent years have accused the U.S. of going it alone and failing to consult with allies and friends, all wrapped up in the allegation of "unilateralism." In his 15 months as the Pacific commander, Keating has sought to dispel that image and to stress collective action."

The strategy document flows out of the new American collaborative maritime strategy, the ground-breaking initiative of Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Mike Mullen. The two strategy documents now conform to the policy of Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, whose speach on 28 Sep 08 at the National Defense University emphasized the uses of 'soft power' in a hard power world. Gates said he had learned two big things: a sense of humility, and an appreciation of limits. "Not every outrage, every act of aggression, every crisis can or should elicit an American military response." He advising the officers in the audience to "be modest about what military force can accomplish and what technology can accomplish."

The full text of the speach by Secretary Gates can be viewed at this URL:

It seems clear that the direction taken by Secretary Gates and Admrial Mullen in shaping defense policy and military strategy will be decidely maritime in character and that it will continue to develop in this direction under the Obama Administration.