Note: Videos are available at https://www.usnwc.edu/events/csf/CSF2010Video.aspx
NEWPORT, R.I. - The 61st annual Current Strategy Forum (CSF) at the Naval War College (NWC) explored the theme of "The Global System in Transition: Networks, Partnerships and the Emerging Global Order" during a two-day event, June 8 and 9.
Distinguished keynote speakers and panelists, including sea service leaders, discussed foreign policy in the emerging global order, strategic leadership opportunities for the United States, and the role of maritime services in supporting the nation's key objectives throughout the world.
NWC President Rear Adm. Phil Wisecup, welcomed the audience of more than 1,200 to CSF, which is hosted annually by the secretary of the Navy. He acknowledged the Naval War College Foundation's support of the conference.
Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Gary Roughead delivered the opening keynote address and encouraged participants to "ask if we believe that our naval forces today are and will remain sufficient to influence the emerging world order - either through networks, through partnerships, or when needed for us to act alone."
Roughead explained that today's Navy is very different than the larger U.S. navies of the past. "And while our Navy is very different, and much smaller, we are also facing a new emerging order that I believe requires more naval power."
"I ask everyone here to consider the implication of these changes for our nation and our Navy," said Roughead. "Ask those questions and have a serious conversation about our strategy of our future."
Several unique panel discussions featured experts who explored historical perspectives on winning over adversaries, the implications of the emerging international system for U.S. national security and future prosperity, and building trust and cooperation in the art of changing relationships to partnerships.
"We wanted to use the lens of history to gain insight into current challenges of avoiding conflict, managing the international environment to prevent war and promoting partnerships," said Dr. John Maurer, NWC professor, who moderated the panel "Winning Over Adversaries: Historical Perspectives."
The panel dealt with the possibilities of drawing potential adversaries into closer alliance without the use of violence.
Ambassador James Dobbins, who currently directs RAND's International Security and Defense Policy Center and has held past State Department and White House positions, spoke directly to the ongoing war in Afghanistan.
"It is likely that we will see some attempts to start reconciliation," said Dobbins. "But this can lead to increased fighting, rather than reduced conflict in the process of reconciliation because each side maneuvers for maximum strength."
"The traditional vision is that wars end in negotiated peace agreements and capitulation of the adversaries to the winning side," said Dobbins. "This vision may be changing."
Shared and evolving technologies have been one influence on the emerging global order.
Gregg Easterbrook, author of "Sonic Boom: Globalization and Mock Speed," painted an optimistic picture of the United States and the world.
As a result of advances in high-yield agriculture, high-efficiency manufacturing, communication, economic growth, educational levels, and other shared technologies such as electronics, Easterbrook predicts a rapid rise in global prosperity.
"Electronics are in the early stage of development," Easterbrook said. "Most sophisticated electronic devices that we use today — the super advanced gismos that you've got in your pockets as cell phones—will seem rudimentary to teenagers in 20 years. Globalization is just getting started."
In the final keynote speech, Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus emphasized a foundation of building global partnerships and establishing trust in the 21st Century.
"Ever since the end of the second world war, the consistent forward presence of American ships and the consistent forward presence of our naval combat power has been the most visible demonstration of our commitment to the international community and the ultimate guarantor of safety, security of global commerce, particularly maritime commerce," Mabus said.
"The Navy and Marine Corps are involved in more than warfare — they're involved in diplomacy and information, in humanitarian aid and economics, as well as military force," Mabus explained. "These Sailors and Marines that I have been meeting around the world are the instruments of that. They are the face of America."
Mabus offered examples of continued global partnering with international navies.
"We're forging new ties," Mabus said. "We're doing it through mentoring, through training exercises. From the west coast of Africa to the western Pacific, we're enhancing cooperation. We're building maritime security capacity. In all these partnerships, we share technology, and we share tactical and operational procedures and interoperability."
Mabus stressed the importance of the personal relationships that develop out of international partnerships "between the commanders [and] between the crews, the ships and aircraft, and it brings us all closer together."
"As others have said before me: you can surge people, you can surge equipment, you cannot surge trust."
By David Reese, Naval War College Public Affairs