Naval War College Review


Robert C. Rubel


The U.S. Navy has never been comfortable with theory or doctrine at what is now known as the operational level of war. The Navy has always pos- sessed robust ship- and formation-level doctrine—tactics—and of course has embraced the high-level sea-power theories of both Alfred Thayer Mahan and Julian Corbett. The gap in the middle either has not been needed—as has been essentially the case for most of the Navy’s history except for World War II—or has been filled by adaptive practice in the form of specific campaign or opera- tions plans. For the Navy, the old framework of strategy and tactics has sufficed since 1945.