Home / Articles / The Pivot in Perspective: American Naval Power, Then and Now
The article examines the reorientation of the defense policy of the United States, initiated during the Bush and Obama Administrations, toward giving increased priority to the Asia Pacific region. It begins with the historical perspective of the development of American naval power in the twentieth century. The world wars, in which Europe represented the primary theater of conflict, had the effect of shifting a greater share of American military assets toward the Euro-Atlantic theatre, while the onset of the Cold War after 1945 required the United States to develop a navy of truly global strategic reach in which Atlantic and Pacific commitments were kept in balance. With the diminished concern for European security since the end of the Cold War and the emergence of the People’s Republic of China as a strategic competitor in the Asia Pacific region, the United States is required in an age of defense austerity to refocus attention again to the Pacific.