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NEWPORT, R.I. --  U.S. Naval War College (NWC) faculty traveled to the College of San Mateo in the San Francisco area for an annual National Security Symposium, March 24-25.
The symposium addressed the theme “U.S. Grand Strategy Does a Regional Refocus: Will the U.S. Navy be Ready?” 

The National Security Affairs (NSA) Department sent Professors David CooperRichard Norton, and Tom Fedyszyn, along with Strategy and Policy Department Professor Toshi Yoshihara, who is also affiliated with NWC's China Maritime Studies Institute.

The two-day symposium featured lectures and panels that explored various regional security topics with the attendees, many of whom were naval reservists.

Dr. Cooper, NSA Chair, began the symposium with a status report of current NWC activities, highlighting initiatives related to the enhancement of regional and cultural awareness.  Under his tutelage, the NSA curriculum has adopted a “levels of analysis” approach in its three sub-courses, further enabling the understanding of the relationship of regional awareness to U.S. national security decision making processes. 

Cooper also led a session entitled "Asia’s Middle Powers React" to discuss how recent actions of some Asian “middle powers” would seem to suggest that they are unequivocally alarmed by China's global aspirations, which calls for a reassessment of longstanding assumptions about their fundamental security relationships and interests. 

Dr.Yoshihara explored the topic "China’s Maritime Straightjacket? Chinese Seapower and the “First Island Chain”," which is an archipelago that stretches from Japan to the Philippines.  Emerging as a critical geographical construct for Beijing's defense planners and an evocative metaphor for the resistance that they anticipate from the occupants of the first island chain, this dilemma represents a rich case study on the nexus of maritime geography, naval strategy, and seapower in Asia.

Yoshihara also gave a presentation on how "Chinese Guerilla Warfare at Sea: “Old thinking in a New Naval Context"" is a question of considerable import for the U.S. Navy and allied navies in the Western Pacific.  With China's rapid naval modernization, the writings drawn from China's extensive open-source literature suggest that Mao Zedong's ideas on guerilla warfare continue to resonate with Chinese naval strategists. 

To discuss how the waters of Africa are becoming more and more important in the modern world, Dr. Norton presented "Africa: So Much Coast, So Little Navy."  With Africa's waters serving as commercial highways that are hot beds of emerging littoral and blue water violence and home to important biological and mineral resources, Norton explored the importance of the African naval role in the maritime domains. 

Norton also turned to security aspects of South America with "South America: Forgotten History, Uncertain Future."  In contrast to some regions of the world South America boasts a significant maritime history, but today many analysts look at South America and wonder why there should be any South American state that needs a navy. This presentation assessed the state of naval play on the continent, looked for potential hot spots and asked “whitherVenezuela?”

Dr. Fedyszyn posed the question,"Does Russian Foreign Policy Demand an American Naval Response in

European Waters?"  Since the end of the Cold War NATO’s relationship with Russia has been ambivalent, vacillating between extreme cooperation and similar antagonism. Do Russian moves demand a NATO/U.S. naval response back into the Baltic, Norwegian and Mediterranean Seas? What effect will homeporting ballistic missile defense destroyers in Spain have on this equation?

In the final presentation, Fedezyn spoke on "U.S. Navy: Responding Correctly to Regional Challenges?"  With many strategists in Washington beginning to see a “sea change” in American Grand Strategy as we move ground troops out of Iraq and Afghanistan, the Obama Administration has made it clear that the Asia-Pacific theater is becoming its principal focus of strategic interest.

All of the professors participated in a concluding panel and group discussion to allow the audience to ask questions or offer their own ideas on any subject relevant to national security.

From U.S. Naval War College Public Affairs
Posted by Cmdr. Carla M. McCarthy