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Leaders of foreign navies offered their input on the U.S. Navy’s new strategy of using a kinder, gentler approach during a recent symposium.

“This is a very modern strategy that invites people to participate,” Vice Adm. Wolfgang Nolting, chief of the German Naval Staff, said of the new approach, described in the document “Cooperative Strategy for 21st Century Seapower.”

The strategy, hatched by the U.S. Navy, Marine Corps and Coast Guard, was unveiled at the International Seapower Symposium in Newport, R.I., this month.

“It’s a strategy focused on opportunities versus threats, on optimism and not fear, on trust and not on doubt,” Nolting said in a phone interview Thursday from Bonn, Germany. “We are really happy to see the United States as leaders … are in line with European thinking on this.”

The strategy primarily calls for U.S. naval forces to concentrate in the Western Pacific, the Persian Gulf and the Indian Ocean.

But it is wise for U.S. military leaders to keep up relations with key international contributors — such the European Union — to try to keep the seas safe, said U.S. Vice Adm. John Morgan, deputy chief of naval operations for information, plans and strategy, who was in Germany this week to visit defense leaders.

“We will still operate globally, around the world, but concentrate combat power in those regions, [areas] where things could become unstable,” Morgan said this week in a phone interview from Berlin.

“How that affects the Med is that … we have to maintain our strong and important ties with the EU, … which has recognized the importance of maintaining security and prosperity in the Mediterranean region.”

Maintaining relations with already-established allies lets the U.S. force “concentrate combat power” in more troubled areas, he added.

The new strategy is a stark contrast from sea combat strategies the Navy developed several decades ago, those of fighting in deep blue water to sink other navies or deliver missiles inland from the oceans. The strategy includes a focus on maintaining safe seas, delivering humanitarian aid, disaster response and countering terrorism.

It is a “historical first” in maritime strategy, Morgan said.

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