NEWPORT, R.I. — A top military commander asked scholars on Tuesday for bold ideas on how the U.S. Navy can maintain superiority at sea.
Adm. John Richardson, the chief of naval operations, addressed the 69th annual Current Strategy Forum at the U.S. Naval War College in Newport, Rhode Island.
Scholars from Yale University, Carnegie Mellon University and the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments, as well as other universities and think tanks participated.
A senior U.S. Navy officer has pushed back against suggestions at a regional security summit that freedom of navigation operations in the South China Sea have been ineffective.
“How do we recapture that sense of, ‘We could lose this if we don’t get going?’” he said.
The U.S. Navy needs to rediscover its momentum and “get a fire in our gut,” he said. Richardson added that he doesn’t want the Navy’s competitive advantage to narrow to the point where anyone else thinks they have a chance of winning.
“You don’t want to be the second guy with the high-energy laser,” he said.
A routine freedom of navigation operation is the latest in a series of events escalating tensions between the countries.
Kori Schake, of the International Institute for Strategic Studies, challenged the Navy to question the way it does everything, to see if it can be done better, faster or cheaper.
She said that’s the nature of innovation and likes that Richardson is trying to shake things up.
Richardson will soon release new strategic guidance that factors in additional funding. He’s updating a January 2016 document.
War College professor John Maurer, who helped plan the forum, said it’s a way for the Navy to interact with brilliant people outside of government and think creatively about problems.