Barnett in the House!

Dr. Barnett made an important appearance today to testify before the House Armed Services Committee on the future of the U.S. Navy and the global strategic environment it faces:

Tom’s testimony today

I appear before the subcommittee today to provide my professional analysis of the current global security environment and future conflict trends, concentrating on how accurately–in my opinion–America’s naval services address both in their strategic vision and force-structure planning.  As has been the case throughout my two decades of working for, and with, the Department of Navy, current procurement plans portend a “train wreck” between desired fleet size and likely future budget levels dedicated to shipbuilding.  I am neither surprised nor dismayed by this current mismatch, for it reflects the inherent tension between the Department’s continuing desire to maintain some suitable portion of its legacy force and its more recent impulse toward adapting itself to the far more prosaic tasks of integrating globalization’s “frontier areas”–as I like to call them–as part of our nation’s decades-long effort to play bodyguard to the global economy’s advance, as well as defeat its enemies in the “long war against violent extremism” following 9/11.  Right now, this tension is mirrored throughout the Defense Department as a whole:  between what Secretary Gates has defined as the “next-war-itis” crowd (primarily Air Force and Navy) and those left with the ever-growing burdens of the long war–namely, the Army and Marines. 

….As someone who helped write the Department of Navy’s white paper, …From the Sea, in the early 1990s and has spent the last decade arguing that America’s grand strategy should center on fostering globalization’s advance, I greatly welcome the Department’s 2007 Maritime Strategic Concept that stated: 

    United State seapower will be globally postured to secure our homeland and citizens from direct attack and to advance our interests around the world.  As our security and prosperity are inextricably linked with those of others, U.S. maritime forces will be deployed to protect and sustain the peaceful global system comprised of interdependent networks of trade, finance, information, law, people and governance. 

Rather than merely focusing on whatever line-up of rogue powers constitutes today’s most pressing security threats, the Department’s strategic concept locates it operational center of gravity amidst the most pervasive and persistently revolutionary dynamics associated with globalization’s advance around the planet, for it is primarily in those frontier-like regions currently experiencing heightened levels of integration with the global economy (increasingly as the result of Asian economic activity, not Western) that we locate virtually all of the mass violence and instability in the system.   

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