U.S. security in new threat environment requires agile forces with high degree of mobility
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Military operations since September 11—from Operation Enduring Freedom to Operation Iraqi Freedom to the Global War on Terrorism —have dramatically increased our global military requirements. U.S. Forces are continuously forward deployed worldwide to deter threats to our national security and are in position to respond rapidly to protect U.S. interests, either as part of a coalition or, if necessary, acting independently. U.S. military strategy envisions rapid deployment and mobility of forces overseas anytime, anywhere. A leaner, more agile force with a smaller overseas footprint places a premium on mobility and independent operational maneuver. Our mobility requirements have never been greater.
Future threats will likely emerge in places and in ways that are not yet fully clear. For these and other undefined future operational challenges, U.S. naval and air forces must take maximum advantage of the customary, established navigational rights that the Law of the Sea Convention codifies. Sustaining our overseas presence, responding to complex emergencies, prosecuting the global war on terrorism, and conducting operations far from our shores are only possible if military forces and military and civilian logistic supply ships and aircraft are able to make unencumbered use of the sea and air lines of communication. This is an enduring principle that has been in place since the founding of our country.
Indeed, global commerce, travel, and information have greatly contributed to the growing wealth of nations and to the stability of the post-Cold War international system. The world's seas, air, space, and-more recently- cyberspace also play critical roles in states' national defense and their ability to conduct military operations worldwide. The United States relies on freedom to operate in the commons in order to protect the U.S. homeland and its vital national interests.