A Cooperative Strategy for 21st Century Seapower
The Middle East remains strategically vital for the United States and our allies. We will increase presence in the region from 30 ships today to about 40 in 2020 to maintain credible combat power in the Middle East to deter conflict, reassure allies and partners, and respond to crises.
The Navy and Marine Corps will continue the rotational deployment of Carrier Strike Groups with embarked airwings and Amphibious Ready Groups with embarked Marine Expeditionary Units (MEU) to the region. In addition, the Marine Corps will maintain a continuous presence in the Middle East, including a General Officer–led Marine Air-Ground Task  Forward ✦ Engaged ✦ Ready Force (MAGTF) command element and a Special Purpose Marine AirGround Task Force (SPMAGTF) equipped with MV-22 and KC-130 Hercules aircraft to maximize the operating radius for security cooperation and crisis response.
The Navy and Marine Corps will maintain a headquarters facility in the Arabian Gulf, continue the deployment of ships there, and use new multi-mission vessels such as the Littoral Combat Ship, Joint High Speed Vessel, and Afloat Forward Staging Base (AFSB) to support security cooperation, counterterrorism, expeditionary operations, minesweeping, and Special Operations Forces. The Coast Guard will deploy personnel to build partner nation capacity for maritime governance and simultaneously conduct maritime security, infrastructure protection, and Port State Control activities. Coast Guard patrol boats and deployable specialized forces on Navy and coalition ships will counter illicit maritime activity.
Our sustained forward naval presence in the Middle East will protect the homeland and promote regional stability by thwarting terrorist networks that threaten local and regional governance. It will also combat the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and deter potential adversaries from threatening the flow of energy through the Strait of Hormuz and the Suez Canal. We will enhance the capability and capacity of key partnerships, particularly the Gulf Cooperation Council, to promote interoperability with member states and other navies throughout the region.
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