Best Defense
Thomas E. Ricks' daily take on national security.

The surprising rise of American seapower

To complete today’s very un-landpower blog file, do youse remember how I was talking about implication of the key Centcom slots going to Navy types? Well, it looks like the fad is spreading. This announcement came across the wire on Friday: Secretary of Defense Leon E. Panetta announced today that the President has made the ...

Wikimedia
Wikimedia
Wikimedia

To complete today's very un-landpower blog file, do youse remember how I was talking about implication of the key Centcom slots going to Navy types? Well, it looks like the fad is spreading. This announcement came across the wire on Friday:

To complete today’s very un-landpower blog file, do youse remember how I was talking about implication of the key Centcom slots going to Navy types? Well, it looks like the fad is spreading. This announcement came across the wire on Friday:

Secretary of Defense Leon E. Panetta announced today that the President has made the following nomination:

Navy Rear Adm. Kurt W. Tidd for appointment to the rank of vice admiral and for assignment as director for operations, J-3, Joint Staff, Pentagon, Washington, D.C.  Tidd is currently serving as commander, U.S. Naval Forces Southern Command/commander, U.S. Fourth Fleet, Mayport, Fla.

J-3 on the Joint Staff is, I think, one of the most important (and indicative) jobs in the U.S. military. My take: This is part of a larger trend in the U.S. military from landpower to seapower and airpower — that is, standoff operations. ("I’m talking about containing you, Iran.")

You know how some military historians discern eras in which the offensive was predominant, and others in which the defensive was on top? I wonder if we could divide U.S. history in eras of landpower vs. seapower. (And, since about 1945, airpower as well.) Then, as a bonus, for the modern era, correlate that to the service affiliations of the chairman of the JCS and his J-3 and director of the joint staff. Smells like a good military history dissertation to me.

Thomas E. Ricks covered the U.S. military from 1991 to 2008 for the Wall Street Journal and then the Washington Post. He can be reached at ricksblogcomment@gmail.com. Twitter: @tomricks1

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