Posted by: arbeam | April 29, 2014

Being there matters: The case for a strong Navy

2012) Ships and submarines participating in the Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) 2012 exercise are underway in close formation during the Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) 2012 exercise. Twenty-two nations, more than 40 ships and submarines, more than 200 aircraft and 25,000 personnel are participating in the biennial RIMPAC exercise from June 29 to Aug. 3, in and around the Hawaiian Islands.

 Ships and submarines participating in the Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) 2012 exercise are underway in close formation during the Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) 2012 exercise. Twenty-two nations, more than 40 ships and submarines, more than 200 aircraft and 25,000 personnel are participating in the biennial RIMPAC exercise from June 29 to Aug. 3, in and around the Hawaiian Islands.

America’s Navy protects and defends America on the world’s oceans. Navy ships, submarines, aircraft and, most importantly, tens of thousands of America’s finest young men and women — including those from St. Louis — are deployed around the world doing just that. They are there now. They will be there when we are sleeping tonight. They will be there every Saturday, Sunday and holiday this year. They are there around the clock, far from our shores, defending America at all times.

That they are there is critically important because, as in virtually any global endeavor, being there matters. It matters in business: It is why American firms maintain a presence in their overseas markets. It matters in politics: It is why the State Department maintains a diplomatic contingent in nearly every other nation on earth. It certainly matters to our national defense: It is why U.S. forces are stationed around the world.

On our planet, more than 70 percent of which is covered by water, being there means having the ability to act from the sea. The Navy is uniquely positioned to be there; the world’s oceans give the Navy the power to protect America’s interests anywhere, and at any time.

When America’s national security is threatened by the existence of a weapons facility or a terrorist camp on the other side of the world, being there matters. Where these threats exist, chances are high that Navy ships, submarines, aircraft and special forces are very close by, with the ability to engage targets located hundreds of miles inland. When the decision is made to act on one of these threats, the solution may involve launching attack jets or unmanned aircraft from aircraft carriers, firing cruise missiles from ships or submarines or inserting a team of Navy SEALs to do what only Navy SEALs can do. In any case, the Navy can do all of these things, and do them all from the sea.

More than 90 percent of the world’s commerce travels by sea. When piracy threatens innocent lives and disrupts shipping traffic in the Indian Ocean, when rogue nations threaten to deny access to vital Middle East waterways through which much of the world’s oil is shipped, being there matters. America’s Navy is there, patrolling what is essentially the world’s interstate ocean highway system, ensuring the free flow of global trade and, in turn, preserving America’s economic prosperity.

Following a humanitarian crisis, like the devastating typhoon that struck the Philippines in 2013 or the tsunami that ravaged northern Japan in 2011, being there mattered. Because the Navy is always deployed around the world, it can provide nearly immediate humanitarian relief in the wake of a disaster, ferrying supplies, medicine and trained medical personnel ashore from Navy ships via helicopters and landing craft — and reassuring our commitment to stability.

When narcotics traffickers use speedboats and rudimentary submarines to ferry illegal drugs across the oceans and into America, being there matters. Navy ships and submarines work the waters near Central and South America with law enforcement agencies to intercept shipments of illegal narcotics before they reach our shores.

As the world’s geopolitical and economic climates continue to evolve, the case for America maintaining a strong Navy grows. Indeed, the president’s national security strategy calls for a renewed focus on enduring threats in the Middle East region, as well as an increased American commitment in the Asia-Pacific region — a vast, mostly ocean-covered area of the world ideally suited for operations from the sea and in which the Navy maintains a robust presence.
When it comes to protecting and defending America, being there matters. History has proven this point. America’s Navy is already there serving our great nation. It is a proud honor to be able to serve in our Navy. Thank you, St. Louis, for your support.

Vice Adm. William A. Brown, the deputy commander of U.S. Transportation Command at Scott Air Force Base, is the senior Navy representative for St. Louis Navy Week, April 28-May 4.

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