By: Megan Eckstein
The chief of naval operations upped his rhetoric regarding Russian and Chinese “gray-zone” aggression, saying the Navy needed to put pressure on Russia instead of passively reacting to the European competitor and calling for more “muscular” enforcement of rules of the sea when it comes to China.
Adm. John Richardson said at the Atlantic Council today that the Navy needed new concepts when it comes to dealing with Russia and China in gray-zone or competition short of conflict types of interactions. Much attention has been given to concepts and technologies for a potential high-end fight, but the CNO gave several examples of ongoing competitions that required a heftier U.S. response.
When asked by an audience member about how to deal with Russian aggression and military buildup in the Eastern Mediterranean and in the Black Sea, Richardson called for going on the offensive to put Russia on its heels.
The admiral said the U.S. needed to consider “not only responses in pushing back [against Russian aggression], but how do we push first in a couple of areas? I think it would be great if we could get folks, Russians, some of these competitors to respond to our first move. There’s an advantage every now and then to playing the white side of the board,” he said.
Speaking of previous deterrence efforts, CNO said “we’ve been consistently present in the Black Sea, the United States Navy, and in fact we did two deployments up there just in the month of January alone. We’re working very closely in exercising with the navies in the Eastern Mediterranean, the Black Sea region, so staying engaged in there, staying present. Actions consistent with words, I think, is an important part of that.”