U.S. Navy Responses to International Incidents and Crises, 1955-1975 Survey of Navy Crisis Operations

The growth in credible nuclear threats from both the U.S. and the USSR during the 1950s led to the development of America’s crisis diplomacy over the period of 1955-1975. Increasing tensions with other Communist nations such as China and Cuba also contributed to the need for a comprehensive and effective crisis management. Although the U.S. had vast military involvement in Vietnam during this period, crisis management is regarded as a peacetime activity limiting the analysis of the Navy’s responses to incidents outside of the Vietnam War.

This report provides a summary history of the Navy and Marine Corp’s crisis management operations, focusing on major trends in the Navy’s 21-year period of operations, along with an analysis of the major trends in their response to 99 international crises and incidents outside of the Vietnam War with particular emphasis given to the employment of major projection forces (aircraft carriers and amphibious unites) in these responses. Brief descriptions of the 99 incidents and responses are also presented.

Mahoney, Jr. writes:

“Judging on the basis of the congruence between the four force packages and the types of crisis management situations included in each of the four categories, it is apparent that the National Command Authorities have marshaled naval forces with considerable selectivity. The Navy has been used as a flexible instrument of crisis diplomacy.” [page 35]

This report was released to the Nautilus Institute under the US Freedom of Information Act (FOIA).

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