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The Navy and Marine Corps in Regional Conflict in the 21st Century
communications, computing, and intelligence (C4I) applications—nevertheless, there are some common elements in the Services' concept:
The U.S. advantage in any conflict is seen to lie in advanced technology, especially technology in areas related to the “war” for information, providing a near-real-time picture of the evolving conflict situation while denying such a picture to the opposition.
Smaller forces must be allocated over broader areas of the world, using our information warfare advantage, our capability for rapid strategic deployment, and our high tactical tempo to focus our forces against key objectives rapidly while keeping the opposition confused until they are defeated.
In keeping with the public's view of warfare that does not threaten the United States directly, we seek rapid success in military action with weapon systems that destroy only their intended targets. U.S. and friendly casualties and collateral civilian damage must be avoided to the greatest possible extent.
Readiness for rapid and effective response to hostile military action anywhere is paramount.
NAVY AND MARINE CORPS MISSIONS AND OPERATIONAL CONCEPTS
The Navy and Marine Corps missions remain unchanged in substance, but their emphasis has changed. The Navy continues to be responsible for protection of the sea lines of communication (SLOC) and contributes to protection of the air lines of communication to overseas action locations. The missions of the Navy and Marine Corps together are oriented toward conflict along the oceans' littoral and some 200 miles inland, where approximately 70 percent of the world's population lives. The Navy and Marine Corps must be prepared to engage in a broad array of military activities in those areas, from operations other than war (OOTW), which may nevertheless involve combat, to major regional conflicts (MRCs). While experience since the Cold War shows that the OOTW will be the Services' most frequent operations, potential MRCs determine their overall force and budget requirements.
The specific missions of the Navy and Marine Corps in dealing with regional conflict are as follows: