The views expressed do not reflect the official policy or position of the Department of the Navy, Department of Defense, or the U.S. Government.

EMC Chair Symposium: Sea Control and Foreign Policy 

April 4-7, 2017 


Working Papers (10 mb pdf)

Participant Biographies

Past Conferences

This fifth maritime-centric EMC Chair symposium builds on the 2016 release of “Design for Maintaining Maritime Superiority,” which noted the “U.S. Navy has been a cornerstone of American security and prosperity.” The symposium will consider future directions of US foreign policy and reflect on demands the country places on the Navy, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard to advance and defend national interests. Participants from DOD, academia, and the policy community will convene in Newport to discuss the implications for sea power as the Design challenges the Navy to “Deepen operational relationships with other services, agencies, industry, allies and partners – who operate with the Navy to support our shared interests.”

Derek S. Reveron, "Welcome," National Security Affairs and EMC Chair

Keynote Addresses:

Ambassador Paula Dobriansky

VADM James G. Foggo, III, Director  Navy Staff

VADM Thomas S. Rowden, Naval Surface Forces

Representative Randy Forbes

Panel 1: The Future of U.S. Foreign Policy

The 2016 “Design for Maintaining Maritime Superiority" maintains that U.S. interests lie beyond her own shores. With a new presidential administration, panelists will explore the question of what U.S. interests are and how to best serve them, particularly but not only in reference to U.S. maritime power. Panelists consider competition and cooperation in East Asia, U.S. interests and any possible role in containing the escalating conflict in the Middle East, and U.S. grand strategic choices, particularly regarding military posture and diplomatic and military partnerships. Finally, the panelists will reflect on future directions of foreign policy.

Patrick M. Cronin, "Retaining Strategic Influence in Asia: China, Maritime Power, and U.S. National Security Strategy," Center for New American Security

Emily Meierding, "Energy Competition in Maritime East Asia: A Red Herring for U.S. Foreign Policy," Naval Postgraduate School

Eugene Gholz, "The Trajectory of Technology and the Design for Maintaining Maritime Superiority," LBJ School of Public Affairs, University of Texas at Austin

Lawrence Rubin, "U.S. Foreign Policy in the Middle East Amidst Regional Disorder and Entangled Alliances," Georgia Institute of Technology

Moderated by: Jacqueline Hazelton, Strategy and Policy

Panel 2: Seapower and Great Power Dynamics

While there are important forms of cooperation among the US, Russia, China, and India, the four powers will independently shape the international security environment. With significant investments in maritime capabilities, the four navies are increasingly operating outside their geographic seas and the “Design” notes “the United States is facing a return to great power competition.” Panelists will explore three key questions. First, how will regional rivalries manifest in the maritime domain? Next, what are the prospects for high seas cooperation among Russia, China, and India? Finally, what are the implications for the United States?

Rachael Gosnell, "Regional Hegemony in a Multipolar World," U.S. Naval Academy

Bernard "Bud" Cole, "China as a Global Maritime Power," Center for Naval Analyses

Thomas Fedyszyn, "Russia: A Land Power meets Seapower," U.S. Naval War College

Norrin M. Ripsman, "Top-Down Peacemaking: States, Societies and Peacemaking between Regional Rivals," Lehigh University

Moderated by Admiral Nirma Verma, India (Ret.), CNO International Fellow

Panel 3: Echoes of the First World War in the Twenty-First Century

Within hours following the formal declaration of war against Germany in April, the President of the Naval War College, Rear Admiral William S. Sims, stood among the first American commanders to arrive at the European front. Out of necessity, Sims subsequently assumed the role of senior U.S. Navy officer in European waters. He simultaneously pioneered efforts to negotiate joint wartime collaboration with U.S. Army General John Pershing within the temporary wartime context of the American Expeditionary Force (AEF). By July, Sims also served as the ranking U.S. Navy representative to the Anglo-French Allied Naval Committee. Drawing from British naval traditions, Sims referred to his headquarters as the “London Flagship” and set key foundations in shaping contemporary U.S. Navy concepts of strategy and command. Looking to the past for the purposes of examining U.S. Naval strategy in the twenty-first century, our panel will encourage contemporary naval thinkers to consider how Sims and his London Flagship offer a useful perspective upon transcendent concepts of strategy, operations, and intelligence. Placing our discussion into the contemporary context, Sims essentially became the first Combined / Joint Maritime Component Commander in American maritime history.

James W. E. Smith, "Naval History and Naval Leaders," King's College London, Laughton Unit

Benjamin "BJ" Armstrong, "'Smashing Idols': Looking Back at Sims from the 21st Century," U.S. Naval Academy

Nicholas Jellicoe, "A Century of Perspective on Naval Strategy," Jutland Centenary Initiative

Nat Sims, "Echoes of the London Flagship in Recent Books and Essays," Massachusetts General Hospital

David Kohnen, "Naval Historical Education as a Future Strategy," U.S. Naval War College

Moderated by David Kohnen, Maritime History Center, U.S. Naval War College

Panel 4: Geo-economics and Maritime Security

Economic interconnections between nations and regions are crucial for the national security of any country, because how energy and resources, finished goods and services, and capital and labor flow from place to place create geo-political realities. The neat division of the world into largely self-sufficient states defined by clear geographic borders has been upended by the processes of globalization, which have created new connections among states while simultaneously opening up divides within them. Forging—or forcing—economic connectivity seems to be the driving force for international politics in the 21st century. Geo-economics argues that states seek control over the nodes of the global economy as a source of power and influence. In this new context, the principal drivers of conflict—or conciliation—will be battles over the management of connections: whose hand will turn the various spigots that control and channel the flows of economic activity, whether pipelines, canals, trade routes or internet connections. Given the extent to which the global economic order depends on reliable access to the maritime domain, naval power is essential to keeping the arteries of the international economic system open.

Jennifer M. Harris,"Maritime Security: From Physical Control to 'Geoeconomic Endowments,'" Council on Foreign Relations

Rockford Weitz, "Strategic Maritime Chokepoints: Global Shipping and Maritime Industry Perspectives," Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy

Sarah Emerson, "U.S. Shale is Back and the Crude Migration to the East Resumes," Energy Security Analysis, Inc.

Eric V. Thompson, "Geo-Economics, Geo-Politics, and Maritime Security in the Eastern Mediterranean," Center for Naval Analyses

Moderated by Nikolas K. Gvosdev, National Security Affairs

Panel 5: Technology, Innovation, and Force Structure

The U.S. Navy has been at the forefront of science and technology. In the 19th century, it was LT Albert Michelson who measured the speed of light on the shores of the Severn River at the Naval Academy. In the 20th century, it was Admiral Hyman Rickover who pioneered nuclear propulsion. As we enter the 21st century, the Design sees we need to “optimize the Navy intellectual enterprise to maximize combat effectiveness and efficiency. Reinvigorate an assessment culture and processes. Understand the lessons of history so as not to relearn them.” To examine future technology, innovation, and force structure, panelists will examine the ability of institutions to adapt/innovate, offer historical perspectives on innovation and force structure (i.e., where does the "battleship mindset" prevail today?), consider how ethical concerns may or may not play out in the development of technology by the US and potential adversaries, and discuss the shift in importance from platforms to payloads across the military enterprise.

Philip Sobeck, "Context of Designing the Future Fleet," OPNAV

Peter Dombrowski, "Future Fleet Architecture: Budgetary, Technological and Defense Industrial Restraints on Future Naval Strategy," Strategic and Operational Research

Isaac Maya, "Technology, Innovation, and R&D Alignments for Enhanced Research Transition," Department of Homeland Security, Science and Technology

Scott M. Smith, "Dalek Dyad: The Twoness of Technology," PCU Michael Monsoor (DDG-1001)

Moderated by Timothy P. Schultz, Electives and Research

Panel 6: Sea Control

Sea control comes in many varieties. Alfred Thayer Mahan exhorted commanders to win "command of the sea," meaning "overbearing power on the sea which drives the enemy’s flag from it, or allows it to appear only as a fugitive; and which, by controlling the great common, closes the highways by which commerce moves to and from the enemy’s shores." Julian S. Corbett agreed with Mahan that absolute maritime command was desirable, but he also allowed for more limited forms of control. A navy might get by with control of a finite sea area for a limited amount of time, for example. Jeune ecole theorists such as Théophile Aube settled for even less, designing strategies and forces to deny control of important expanses to opponents. The panel will explore the future of sea control through the Design for Maintaining Maritime Superiority to ensure "Operations short of conflict should be designed to contain and control escalation on terms favorable to the U.S."

Rear Admiral Chris Parry, CBE (Royal Navy), "Preparing to Go and Remain in Harm's Way Again," University of Reading

Peter D. Haynes, "The U.S. Navy and the Future of Sea Control: An Institutional Perspective," Center for Strategy and Budgetary Assessments

Sam J. Tangredi, "Commons Control and Commons Denial: From JAM-GC to an Integrated Plan," U.S. Naval War College

James R. Holmes and Kevin J. Delamer, "Mahan Rules," U.S. Naval War College

Moderated by James R. Holmes, Strategy and Policy

The views expressed are those of the author and do not reflect the official policy or position of the Department of the Navy, Department of Defense, or the U.S. Government.
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