Since its inception in 1902, the Navy League of the United States has advocated maintaining strong U.S. sea services as essential pillars of U.S. national security. Seapower magazine — the monthly official publication of the Navy League — has, for generations, been the document of record for the sea services as well as the voice of the Navy League.
Seapower is distributed to the Navy League's more than 46,000 members as a membership benefit. Complimentary distribution also is provided for all U.S. Navy and Coast Guard flag officers and Marine Corps general officers, senior officials in the Department of Defense, the commanding officers of all commissioned Navy ships and Coast Guard cutters, the commanding officers of major shore installations, and a select group of informed opinion leaders.
Seapower focuses exclusively on maritime-defense news. Each issue's editorial content is geared toward informing and educating Navy League members, sea service professionals, defense analysts, executives in the defense industry, and decision-makers on Capitol Hill.
The Almanac of Seapower is the other major official Navy League publication. The Almanac — first published in 1983 — is an annual encyclopedic compendium of facts and commentary covering every aspect of the sea-services' ships, aircraft, and weapons systems, as well as U.S. political-military affairs. Published in January, it is one of the most important U.S. reference works for anyone working in, studying or writing about, or otherwise concerned with U.S. naval and maritime affairs.
In addition to these two publications, numerous brochures, pamphlets, and newsletters have been published on an ad hoc basis. Over the years, Seapower — much like the sea services themselves — has evolved and undergone numerous transformations.
The Navy League selected the name Seven Seas when it first decided to publish a magazine in June 1915. World War I, then being fought far from the United States across the world's vast oceans, threatened freedom of the seas and the future of the western democracies. During these early years of its history, the magazine featured in-depth feature articles and editorials about the war and the need to maintain strong sea services. News, feature material, and photographs documenting sea-service activities were published, as well as articles about Navy League programs that supported U.S. military and naval forces. Those early themes have been repeated ever since.
The magazine's name was changed to Seapower in June 1916 to reflect more accurately the Navy League's mission. The war's startling developments in surface, undersea, and aerial warfare were carefully documented. Following U.S. entry into the war, the magazine also emphasized the rapid expansion of the Navy and Marine Corps, and the need to maintain a strong U.S.-flag merchant marine.
With the end of "the war to end all wars" and the nation's preoccupation with domestic priorities during the 1920s, the U.S. armed forces and the Navy League fell on hard times. Isolationism, naval disarmament, and demobilization were the order of the day in the United States and in the western democracies. Navy League membership declined and, due to financial considerations, the March 1921 Sea Power was the last issue published for nearly 15 years.
By the mid-1930s, however, many Americans became alarmed at the military buildup of Japan and Nazi Germany. In May 1935, Seapower was once again published because of "a general increase in interest in the work of the Navy League" and its unflagging support of a strong national defense.