A Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments study released last year (and summarized in War on the Rocks) entitled Restoring American Seapower: A New Fleet Architecture for the United States Navy showed conclusively, that a navy the size of that advocated by the president in his campaign (350 ships) is warranted only if the Navy returns to Europe in force, with routine presence in both the Mediterranean and the approaches to Northern Europe. This document would have been a useful place to lay the groundwork for that return.
As Hal Brands has outlined, “America’s traditional allies are in decline” and “new connections, relationships, and partnerships to reflect the changing distribution of global power” are needed to meet evolving challenges.
Former ambassador to Turkey Eric Edelman, much in the vein of Dubowitz and Shapiro, advises via email that the administration should “1) make clear that the whole world is watching and will judge the regime by how it responds to peaceful protesters and 2) harness via overt and perhaps covert means print, radio, TV, and social media to highlight the costs of Iran’s cronyism, corruption, economic misrule and foreign adventurism — all the subject of protest slogans raised by the demonstrators, and 3) as part of this effort targeted sanctions against regime figures, particularly IRGC who profit at the people’s expense.” As to the last item, he explains, “The U.S. was very good at this kind of political warfare in the Cold War but we have shown much less ability to wage this kind of struggle since it ended. If ever there were a time to repair that deficiency — this is it.”
Thomas Mahnken of the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments warned:
[W]e find ourselves today once again in a period of great-power competition with an increasing possibility of great-power war. It is the most consequential threat that we face, and failure to deter and prepare adequately for it would have dire consequences for the United States, our allies, and the global order. Because of that, I believe that preparing for great-power competition and conflict should have the highest priority.
"For years we've had a strategy that says we'll do A, B and C, but only the funding available to do A. And we never made the strategy and the resources line up together," said Jacob Cohn of the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments.
U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis "I think, is going to take a different approach to military conflict," said Bryan Clark, a senior fellow at The Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments and a former Naval military strategist.