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Sea Power and Maritime Affairs. Lesson 20: President Reagan, Interventionism and Maritime Strategy, 1981-1989. Learning Objectives. Comprehend the policy goals of the Reagan defense buildup and the internal political situation that permitted it.

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sea power and maritime affairs

Sea Powerand Maritime Affairs

Lesson 20: President Reagan, Interventionism and Maritime Strategy, 1981-1989

learning objectives
Learning Objectives
  • Comprehend the policy goals of the Reagan defense buildup and the internal political situation that permitted it.
  • Comprehend the trends of public commitment during the period from 1980 to 1989 relative to the support for defense budgets, force deployments, and administration policies.
iran hostage wrap up
Iran Hostage Wrap-Up
  • Hostages released on January 20, 1981, shortly after Reagan inauguration.
  • Where we once had an ally, we now had in Iran a vital enemy.
  • So we picked up a new friend...
slide5
IRAQ
  • Supported Iraq in Iran-Iraq War 1980 - 1988
  • USS Stark - May 1987
  • USS Vincennes - July 1988
the reagan foreign policy
The Reagan Foreign Policy:
  • Soviets are bad guys bent on world domination.
  • We must build our military to combat communists and terrorists.
slide7

The Reagan Foreign Policy:

Soviets are bad guys bent on world domination.

We must build our military to combat communists and terrorists.

reagan and soviet diplomacy
Reagan and Soviet Diplomacy:
  • Increased military spending (e.g., SDI)
  • Soviet withdrawal from Afghanistan
reagan defense buildup
REAGAN DEFENSE BUILDUP:

Naval Expansion under Secretary of the Navy John F. Lehman, Jr. (1981-1987)

  • Rickover “firing”
  • Revamping U.S. Naval Strategy
    • Establishment of the Navy Policy Board
    • The “Maritime Strategy”
    • Interventionism, Peacekeeping and Responses to Terrorism
    • Strategic Reorientation
the maritime strategy
The “Maritime Strategy”:
  • Product of the Policy Board
  • Main Tenet: 600-ship Navy with carrier battle groups as centerpiece
  • Offensive outlook: designed to take the fight to USSR in their home waters
  • Forward-deployed forces
criticisms to the maritime strategy
Criticisms to the Maritime Strategy:
  • Could be very costly in terms of carrier and aircraft losses.
  • Difficult to keep SLOCs open with bulk of fleet concentrated for the forward offensive battle.
  • Potentially provocative in destabilizing nuclear balance; thereby, triggering nuclear exchange.
interventionism peacekeeping and responses to terrorism
Interventionism-Peacekeeping and Responses to Terrorism

This gave Lehman an opportunity to test and refine the naval doctrine

  • Peace-Keeping in Lebanon
  • Beirut Bombing
  • Grenada (Operation Urgent Fury)
  • Hijacking of TWA 847
  • Achille Lauro hijacking
  • Gulf of Sidra attack by USAF and USN
  • Raid on Libya- Operation “Eldorado Canyon”
  • Tanker War
  • Operation “Praying Mantis”
slide16

Above: President Reagan at Memorial Service for Marines killed in Beirut

To the right: President Reagan drafts his speech for Beirut policy.

slide17

Reagan on the Deployment of the Marines in Lebanon (February 7, 1984):

“First to enhance the safety of American and other M.N.F. personnel in Lebanon, I have authorized U.S. naval forces, under the existing mandate of the M.N.F., to provide naval gunfire and air support against any units firing into greater Beirut from parts of Lebanon controlled by Syria as well as against any units directly attacking American or M.N.F. personnel and facilities. Those who conduct these attacks will no longer have sanctuary from which to bombard Beirut at will. We will stand firm to deter those who seek to influence Lebanon\'s future by intimidation.

Second, when the Government of Lebanon is able to reconstitute itself into a broadly based representative government, we will vigorously accelerate the training, equipping and support of the Lebanese armed forces on whom the primary responsibility rests for maintaining stability in Lebanon. We will speed up delivery of equipment, we will improve the flow of information to help counter hostile bombardments and we will intensify training in counter terrorism to help the Lebanese confront the terrorist threat that poses such danger to Lebanon, to Americans in Lebanon and, indeed, to peace in the Middle East.

Third, in conjunction with these steps, I have asked Secretary of Defense Weinberger to present to me a plan for redeployment of the Marines from Beirut airport to their ships offshore. This redeployment will begin shortly and proceed in stages. U.S. military personnel will remain on the ground in Lebanon for training and equipping the Lebanese Army and protecting the remaining personnel. These are traditional functions that U.S. personnel perform in many friendly countries.

Our naval and Marine forces offshore will stand ready, as before, to provide support for the protection of American and other M.N.F. personnel in Lebanon and thereby help assure security in the Beirut area as I have described.

These measures, I believe, will strengthen our ability to do the job we set out to do and to sustain our efforts over the long term. They are consistent with the compromise joint resolution worked out last October with the Congress with respect to our participation in the multinational force.

slide19

Operation

Praying Mantis

slide20

On 14 April 1988, watch standers aboard USS Samuel B. Roberts (FFG 58) sighted three mines floating approximately one-half mile from the ship. Twenty minutes after the first sighting, as Samuel B. Roberts was backing clear of the minefield, she struck a submerged mine nearly ripping the warship in half. Working feverishly for seven hours, the crew stabilized the ship. Samuel B. Roberts was sent back to the United States for repair.

Three days after the mine blast, forces of Joint Task Force Middle East executed the American response -- Operation PRAYING MANTIS. During a two-day period, the Navy, Marine Corps, Army and Air Force units of Joint Task Force Middle East destroyed two oil platforms being used by Iran to coordinate attacks on merchant shipping, sank or destroyed three Iranian warships and neutralized at least six Iranian speedboats.

Operating in conjunction with USS WAINWRIGHT (CG 28) and USS BAGLEY (FF 1069), USS SIMPSON (FFG-56) was assigned to the strike on the Iranian oil platform at Sirri, and shelled the platform. In response, the Iranian Navy missile patrol combatant JOSHAN approached the three U.S. ships. When JOSHAN was warned to stand clear, she responded by firing a Harpoon missile at the group. SIMPSON was the first ship to return fire, striking JOSHAN with the first of four successful missiles she fired that day. After JOSHAN was disabled by missile fire, she was sunk by gunfire. As a result of that action, SIMPSON and her crew were awarded the Joint Meritorious Unit Award and the Combat Action Ribbon, along with numerous personal awards received by individual crew members.

slide21

OPERATION PRAYING MANTIS

Iranian Casualties: Sahand, Joshan, 6 Boghammer class speedboats

American Casualties: USS Simpson (damaged), 1 USMC Cobra gunship

strategic reorientation
Strategic Reorientation
  • Nature: In reaction to defeat in Vietnam and its debilitating aftermath, the Reagan administration proclaimed that henceforth the U.S. would only fight when its national interests were clearly at stake, and it would apply overwhelming force rather than commit a limited force in increments
strategic legacy of reagan
Strategic Legacy of Reagan:
  • Weinberger Doctrine
    • Be reluctant to employ force, but then use only overwhelming force
  • Powell Doctrine
    • CJCS Colin Powell, same as Weinberger
  • Goldwater-Nichols Defense Reorganization Act
    • Elevated CJCS to principle military strategist for the nation, 1986
slide24

Secretary of Defense, Casper Weinberger is shown administering the Oath of Office to General Alfred Gray,

Commandant of the Marine Corps July 1, 1987.

the immediate post lehman navy 1987 1991
The Immediate Post-Lehman Navy (1987-1991):
  • The Navy continued to be built around the big-deck carrier.
  • Navy continued to be dominated by the carrier aviation and nuclear submarine communities.
  • Question for the 1990’s: What was the proper size and composition of the surface fleet in an era of shrinking appropriations?
  • Desert Shield/ Desert Storm (1990, 1991)
learning objectives1
Learning Objectives
  • Comprehend the policy goals of the Reagan defense buildup and the internal political situation that permitted it.
  • Comprehend the trends of public commitment during the period from 1980 to 1989 relative to the support for defense budgets, force deployments, and administration policies.
slide27

DISCUSSION / QUESTIONS

Next time: The Navy in the Gulf War, 1990-1991

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