WASHINGTON — The US Navy is aiming to have a forward presence of 120 ships by 2020, up from 97 ships today, putting ships “where it matters, when it matters.” That’s according to the latest update of the US maritime strategy, a document that guides the concepts and development of the sea services — the Navy, Marine Corps and Coast Guard.
The Cooperative Strategy for 21st Century Seapower (CS21) emphasizes cooperation between nations as a key element of maintaining worldwide security.
“No one nation can do this alone. Every country can make a contribution no matter how small they are,” Rear Adm. Bill McQuilkin, director of Navy strategy and policy, told reporters at the Pentagon March 11. A current example, he said, was the deployment of the French aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle, now joined with the US carrier Carl Vinson in the Arabian Gulf to carry out combat airstrikes against the Islamic State group.
The document, last updated in 2007, places special emphasis on the rebalance to the Pacific, reconfirming some earlier concepts while adding new ones. CS21 restates the Navy’s commitment to maintaining a forward-deployed carrier strike group in Japan, placing four littoral combat ships in Singapore and operating its most advanced warfighting platforms in the region, including the new Zumwalt-class destroyer, F-35C joint strike fighters and the MQ-4C Triton unmanned maritime surveillance aircraft.