The Renaissance Italian political philosopher and diplomat Niccolo Machiavelli distilled formulas for success from the swirl of uncertainty that marked life among 16th century Italian city-states.
“Whosoever desires constant success must change his conduct with the times,” he wrote in 1531. Though a formula for political victory, Machiavelli’s instruction in Discorsi, ix, 3, applies equally to those who prepare for armed combat.
The United States Navy and Marine Corps are entering an uncertain future containing opportunities and threats equally fueled by the technologies of the information age. Their continued success requires continuous change.
New technologies are accelerating the world’s economic, cultural and political integration — an uneven process beset with risks and rejectionists. Vast sums of money flow daily through the global economy. Information’s immediate availability assaults distance and time. New technologies, values and ideas are a staple of international trade. Powering this change is the United States, providentially anchored in its geography between East and West.
Responsibility for safeguarding this peaceful transformation is vested in the U.S. military.
Before the Cold War’s end unleashed these myriad changes, the U.S. military was stationed in large numbers beyond American borders. Since the Soviet Union’s collapse, U.S. military power has partially retrenched to the continental U.S.
This has heightened the importance of military forces that routinely deploy from the U.S., operate globally without restriction and are often first on-scene when crises develop. In this regard, Navy and Marine Corps forces are uniquely sovereign, useful and flexible instruments of U.S. military power.
The strategic context which anchors the need to sustain a strong Navy and Marine Corps is timeless. It emerges naturally from America’s geographical circumstances, economic needs, political values and cultural aspirations.
Find Archived Articles: