Naval War College Review


Wayne P. Hughes


Today’s American navy writes prolifically about maritime strategies but has not devoted equal attention to campaign plans or analysis that tests the strategies’ viability. We illustrate herein how the operational—or campaign—level links policy and strategy to the tactical and technological elements of war at sea. First, we relate how the U.S. Navy reluctantly came to accept the existence of an operational level of warfare but having done so will find it useful. Second, we de- scribe important properties of naval operations in terms of constants, trends, and variables in warfare at and from the sea. Third, we demonstrate how operational- level planning would help if the Navy and the nation were to adopt six clearly stated, twenty-first-century strategies that would serve present and future national policies better than do current strategy documents.