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To Master the Boundless SeaThe U.S. Navy, the Marine Environment, and the Cartography of Empire$
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Jason W. Smith

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9781469640440

Published to North Carolina Scholarship Online: January 2019

DOI: 10.5149/northcarolina/9781469640440.001.0001

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Controlling the Great Common

(p.202) Epilogue
To Master the Boundless Sea

Jason W. Smith

University of North Carolina Press

The epilogue tracks the evolution of naval science and its relationship to the broader scientific world into the Twentieth and Twenty-First centuries with attention to the growing strategic role of cartography, oceanography, and marine science within the Cold War national security state, the emergence of submarine warfare, and the militarization of science in weaponizing nature itself. The epilogue argues that while science became even more central to strategic discourse and naval warfare more generally, it continued to have a fraught place within the Navy’s ranks and its significance was not continuously appreciated among naval leaders even as the U.S. Marine Corps in the interwar period placed strategic knowledge of the natural world at the foundation of its emerging amphibious assault doctrine. Finally, the epilogue makes some general claims about the significance of the marine environment to naval affairs in the present day by linking the Navy’s strategic visions to a marine environment made more violent and dynamic by the influence of climate change as well as the renewed importance of hydrographers historic methods and data as baselines from which to understand the degree of change in the world’s oceans.

Keywords:   National Security State, Cold War, Amphibious Assault, Climate change

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