Why Stratfor Tracks the Locations of U.S. Navy Capital Ships
In Stratfor's weekly Naval Update Map, we track the approximate locations of U.S. fleet aircraft carriers and amphibious war ships. The map helps our analysts -- and customers -- decipher Washington's strategy and even predict looming conflicts.
Control of the seas underpins America's global power. In both defense and commerce, the United States needs a robust navy to execute its strategies.
Roughly 90 percent of trade worldwide happens by sea, so the global economy depends on safe maritime transport. Unimpeded access to the seas is also necessary for the defense of far-flung national interests. The United States could not have fought in World War II or Afghanistan, for example, without the ability to quickly move forces, supplies and aircraft to distant corners of the globe. Thus, the movement of U.S. Navy ships can tell us a lot about America's foreign policy.
For example, take the U.S. execution of sanctions on Iran in recent years. In April 2012, the Navy positioned a second carrier battle group in the Strait of Hormuz, thus sending a message to Iran that the United States is ready to respond if aggressive action is taken to close the strait. During the Israel-Gaza conflict in November, the Navy diverted an amphibious group to the eastern Mediterranean, making it available to evacuate U.S. citizens if needed.
The key is looking for the unexpected. Each week, we have a pretty good idea of where the ships will be, based on geopolitical patterns, strategies and developments. But surprises -- and they do happen -- allow us to challenge and re-evaluate our positions. This is a fundamental part of our methodology: constantly checking our net assessments against new intelligence to maintain the high degree of accuracy on which our readers and clients depend.
The map contains only publicly available, open-source information. We're not publishing any secrets; we're compiling available information and applying it to an easy-to-use, actionable graphic for our analysts, subscribers and clients.
- Check out this week's U.S. Naval Update Map
- Read about the Strait of Hormuz
- View our analysis of the geopolitics of the United States free
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