The information age, a phrase famously coined by Berkeley Professor Manuel Castells in the 1990s, described a tectonic shift in our culture and economy which we generally take for granted at present. From our current vantage point, replete with ubiquitous pocket-sized personal computing and communications devices, it is hard to imagine a world we cannot convert our data or social networks into physical resources and access. We keep our data in the cloud and call upon it when we need it, regardless of where we are. We log into AirBnB, and somehow money we have never seen transfers to someone else who will never see the money, and that becomes a room for an evening. The idea of a brick-and-mortar video store, such as the 1990s-staple Blockbuster Video, is hopelessly anachronistic in the era of Netflix.
Fundamentally, naval maneuver is based on the ability of the naval forces to generate overwhelming operational tempo and a series of dilemmas for the enemy that shatters his cohesion through a multiplicity of rapid, focused, and unexpected actions. Generating and sustaining this necessary tempo requires keeping more ships in the fight longer, sustaining their maximum warfighting capacity, and delaying the fleet’s culminating point as long as possible. The logistical functions of supply and maintenance (to include salvage and repair capabilities) are critical to achieving this advantage.
The U.S. Navy faces a demanding challenge to recover its ability to generate high tempo unrelenting operations. A skilled naval maneuver warfare capacity creates a multiplicity of overwhelming dilemmas for an enemy that shatters the enemy’s cohesion through unexpected but highly coordinated actions on, over, below and from the sea, including fully employing the advantages of littoral and archipelagic terrain.