"A Design for Maintaining Maritime Superiority"

A Design for Maintaining Maritime Superiority is a 20-page legal document that was released by the U.S. Department of the Navy on December 1, 2018 and used nation-wide.

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Version 2.0
December 2018
Version 2.0
December 2018
The United States Navy will be ready to conduct prompt and sustained combat incident to
operations at sea. Our Navy will protect America from attack, promote American prosperity,
and preserve America’s strategic influence. U.S. naval operations—from the seafloor to
space, from the blue water to the littorals, and in the information domain—will deter
aggression and enable resolution of crises on terms acceptable to the United States and our
allies and partners. If deterrence fails, the Navy will conduct decisive combat operations to
defeat any enemy.
Why Design 2.0? What has changed?
A Design for Maintaining Maritime Superiority, Version 1.0, released in January 2016 (Design
1.0), was explicitly intended to be assessed and, if necessary, revised to stay relevant.
This update reflects the first reevaluation. There were three reasons we undertook this
The first reason was to ensure our plans were aligned with updated strategic guidance.
President Trump issued a new National Security Strategy (NSS) in December 2017, and
Secretary of Defense Mattis issued a supporting National Defense Strategy (NDS) in
January 2018. A new National Military Strategy (NMS) will follow. These documents orient
national security objectives more firmly toward great power competition. While Design 1.0
highlighted that competition, these new strategies demand that we reevaluate our current
heading to ensure it maximizes the Navy’s contribution to the objectives they set forth.
The second factor driving our assessment was to account for progress that has been made
since Design 1.0 was issued. We have accomplished many of the tasks it articulated, and
have advanced many more—it’s now time to define what comes next.
The third motivation was to validate Design 1.0’s characterization of the strategic
environment, to check our assumptions.
Design 2.0 reflects the results of this assessment. Overall, the structure of Design 1.0 proved
sound: the characterization of the security environment, the Core Attributes, and the Lines of
Effort (LOEs) remain valid and relevant. Readers should recognize the new version as a
continuation of Design 1.0; a major course change was not required.
There are, however, some adjustments. Design 2.0 provides updated operational guidance
to link strategy with execution. The “Achieve High Velocity Learning” Green LOE has
been tightened, focusing on outcomes rather than processes. The tasks supporting all of the
LOEs have been updated to establish new and ambitious goals that will spur us to accelerate
our progress. This is an all-hands effort.
Like Design 1.0, Design 2.0 establishes the framework to guide our behaviors and
investments this year and in the years to come. More specific details about programs and
funding adjustments will be reflected in our annual budget documents.
Security Environment
The United States Navy will aggressively compete, harnessing three forces that continue to
shape our modern security environment:
- The increasing use of the maritime domain—the oceans, seas, waterways, and seafloor.
- The rise of global information systems, especially the role of data in decision making.
- The increasing rate of technological creation and adoption.
It has been decades since we last competed for sea control, sea lines of communication,
access to world markets, and diplomatic partnerships. Much has changed since we last
competed. We will adapt to this reality and respond with urgency.
The future of the United States depends on the Navy’s ability to rise to this challenge. As
discussed in the 2018 NDS, China and Russia are deploying all elements of their national
power to achieve their global ambitions. In addition, our competitors have been studying our
methods over the past 20 years. In many cases, they are gaining a competitive advantage
and exploiting our vulnerabilities. Their activity suggests that Eurasia could once again be
dominated by rivals of the United States, our allies, and partners. China and Russia seek to
accumulate power at America’s expense and may imperil the diplomatic, economic, and
military bonds that link the United States to its allies and partners. While rarely rising to
the level of conflict, Chinese and Russian actions are frequently confrontational. And these
actions are not only directed at the United States: China and Russia seek to redefine the
norms of the entire international system on terms more favorable to themselves.
This global competition extends to the maritime domain, including the seabed, and
importantly, to newer domains: space and cyber. The new security environment is shaped by
the following facts:
- Our competitive advantage has shrunk and in some areas, is gone altogether. We do
not have the margins we once enjoyed.
- Twenty-first century competition takes place over a wide range of conceptual
approaches—from peaceful competition to violent conflict. This competition involves
all elements of national power.
- The competitive space has expanded to new domains, fueled by technological
advances as well as the amount and availability of information.
- The pace of competition has accelerated in many areas, achieving exponential
and disruptive rates of change. As this pace drives yet more unpredictability, the future
is becoming increasingly uncertain. Identifying mid- and near-term outcomes will
become more challenging.
- We cannot become overwhelmed by the blistering pace. This is a long-term
competition. We must think in terms of infinite, instead of finite, time frames. Only
sustainable approaches will prevail.
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