The sea has always been central to human development as a source of resources, and as a means of transportation, information-exchange and strategic dominion. It has provided the basis for mankind's prosperity and security. This is even more true in the early 21st century, with the emergence of an increasingly globalized world trading system. Navies have always provided a way of policing, and sometimes exploiting, the system. In contemporary conditions, navies, and other forms of maritime power, are having to adapt, in order to exert the maximum power ashore in the company of others and to expand the range of their interests, activities and responsibilities. Their traditional tasks still apply but new ones are developing fast. Written by a recognized authority on maritime strategy past and present, this timely and up-to-date book investigates the consequences of this for the developing nature, composition and functions of all the world's significant navies, and provides a guide for everyone interested in the changing and crucial role of seapower in the 21st century.