Naval War College Review


Edward Luttwak


Like other forms of military power, naval forces have a political function, only more so. And while the combat use of fleets is as intermittent as war itself, the political effects generated by naval forces are continuous. In deciding what kind of fleet to deploy and how large a fleet is needed, we can therefore choose one of two very different goals: wartime ' 'insurance" or peacetime political power. Historically, the United States has designed and justified its forces in terms of the contingency of war, a difficult thing to do when war seems remote as in the current phase of detente.