Admiral defends role of Navy in combating terrorism
"It's important for the Defense Department and QDR to look past the war in Iraq," he told a gathering at the U.S. Naval Institute Expo and Symposium. "There you'll see the Navy."Hmmm. I guess if we planned to build cheaper ships some the budget crunch might ease, too. I ilke the Sea Fighter.
And, perhaps, the Marine Corps with a new/old job...
Nathman also made it clear that he wants his fleet at sea. He cited a recent National Strategy for Maritime Security, a plan for security on the high seas signed by President Bush on Sept. 20, as justification.
"It has strong implications for the Navy," he said. "If you want to stop a terrorist in Iraq, you have to be there. If you want to stop a threat on the high seas, you have to be there."
To do so requires the Navy to be "forward," he said. "Would you want to stop a container ship (with a weapon of mass destruction aboard) in Yemen, or would you rather stop a container ship at the entrance to the harbor at Long Beach?
"We want the war on terrorism to be an away game."
To do so takes ships and sailors, and the Navy has been cutting back on both because of budgetary demands of the war in Iraq. The Navy is hopeful that the QDR - when military needs and requirements are examined every four years - will show that budget pressure should be eased. But for now it's going to have to do more with less.
"I think it's incumbent on the service to make a very strong case for the proper share of the budget," Nathman said. "... You can see that I strongly defend what the Navy can do, because I believe in the Navy's strategic value. That's why I think that it's important that we look in the long term."
Long-term, there's talk about bringing the Marine Corps back on board ship.
Formed to give the Navy an "infantry" for its ships, the Marines have become a land-based service that uses the Navy for transportation. But Nathman sees a security strategy that could include small-arms fights at sea.
"The Marines have a tremendous challenge in Iraq, they really do," he said, "But they've also been our No. 1 joint partner forever.
"My view is that they have inherent capabilities that we probably can't train to ... so maybe we need to look back at the Marine Corps and say here are some areas that we're seeing as a result of maritime security. ... It's important that we send a signal to our sister service on this."