While the Navy is steaming into a new world where it will once again be challenged on the seas by rival maritime forces, the new challenges will not be a rote rerun of the United States’ struggles for power against the Soviet Union during the Cold War, the Navy’s top officer said Thursday.

Although the recently released National Defense Strategy emphasizes countering an ascendant China and resurgent Russia, Chief of Naval Operations Adm. John Richardson said the layout of the globe has changed in the past 25 years.

Since that time, maritime traffic has increased 400 percent and fueled a doubling of gross domestic product worldwide, Richardson said during an event at the Heritage Foundation think tank.

Nearly all internet traffic crosses the world via undersea cables, and melting polar ice caps offer new resources and create new sea lanes, he said.

“A balanced strategy, a balanced strategic approach, is more important than ever,” Richardson said.

Meeting these upcoming needs will require the Navy to focus on several things, he said.

It must grow toward its 355-ship goal, while also modernizing existing ships, an effort that will involve advances in lasers and unmanned systems, among other things, Richardson said.