Navy after Next: Past Is Prologue

By Captain Peter Swartz, U.S. Navy (Retired)

He based his analysis on his study of U.S. Navy history, which, he believed, illustrated nine functions:

  • Coastal defense
  • Commerce raiding
  • Protecting U.S. interests, especially trade and shipping
  • Working as an instrument of foreign policy
  • Command of the seas
  • Support of land operations
  • Projecting force inland from the sea
  • Strategic deterrence
  • A means to implement social reforms

Admiral Chase's analysis helped set the stage for the creation of the U.S. Navy of today. We would do well to look at each of his functions again, to help us think about how the Navy should meet the challenges of tomorrow.

Coastal Defense

The Past and Present Navy . The U.S. Navy has never embraced this function, but neither has it succeeded in ignoring it. It deployed Jefferson's gunboats in the early 19th century; retained a force of coastal monitors after the Civil War; and in the run-up to the Spanish-American War, it was pressured to deploy a Flying Squadron and a Northern Patrol Squadron to protect East Coast cities. During World War II, it constituted a series of Sea Frontier commands. In the early Cold War it set up early-warning air and undersea barrier forces off each coast, and in the late Cold War it revitalized coastal defense with Maritime Defense Zones. On the whole, however, classic U.S. Navy thought always has preferred to engage the nation's enemies far forward, away from the coasts.

The Next Navy and the Navy after Next . Coastal defense in the future is a two-part problem: defense against high-end threats such as ballistic missiles, and defense against low-end threats such as smugglers. Ballistic missile defense has been a dream for a long time; Rear Admiral Chase saw it as revitalizing coastal defense in 1969. But it is hard, and it competes with other functions for the Navy's attention. The Navy could have a lot to offer in both domains, but past theory and practice indicate that this will never emerge as a primary service function.

Commerce Raiding

The Past and Present Navy . The Confederate Navy broke the back of the U.S. merchant fleet during the Civil War. The U.S. Navy went after the British and French in the early l9th century and after the Japanese in World War II. For the most part, however, there has been little commerce to raid. Maritime trading nations usually have been our allies, and U.S. or allied command of the seas has prevented what little enemy commerce there was from sailing. Blockade, not commerce raiding, became the preferred method of neutralization and destruction.

The Next Navy and the Navy after Next . The U.S. Navy—of today and tomorrow—is the naval superpower. As long as U.S. command of the seas is maintained, it is hard to see where enemy commerce could exist to be destroyed. The exceptions are protected coastal waters and seas. For these areas the U.S. Navy would need commerce raiding systems of great stealth, e.g., submarines, long-range stealthy aircraft, and perhaps SEALs. Protecting U.S. Interests, Especially Trade and

Shipping

The Past and Present Navy . The Navy has done a lot of this—again, far forward. Notable examples are the Barbary wars; the l9th- and early 20th-century expeditions to Paraguay, Korea, and China; the interwar Yangtse Patrol and the Caribbean Special Service Squadron; and the Cold War-era strikes on Libya. Since birth, the United States always has had global interests to defend, and has expected the Navy to do much of the defending.

The Next Navy and the Navy after Next . This seems to be a core function, and it is hard to imagine it going away, even for the Navy after next. The Navy will need to keep its forward deployment capabilities and to develop a variety of weapon systems—especially missiles and information warfare systems—to continue to carry out this mission. It will have to do this in the face of a wide variety of hypothetical dangers and within fiscal constraints that will result in great scrutiny.

Working as an Instrument of Foreign Policy

The Past and Present Navy . This has been another bedrock function. The U.S. Navy has shown the flag in almost every port in the world. It has done everything from transporting presidents and diplomats, to providing sites at sea for international negotiations, to conducting humanitarian assistance operations. Today, the Navy deploys its ships far forward and in strength. These permanent forward-deployed naval forces—possessing great and visible firepower, flexibility, and sustainability—serve the nation as an instrument of foreign policy.

The Next Navy and the Navy after Next . This mission no doubt will continue. Where these fleets will be deployed, however, is another matter. In 1998, they operate in the three great hubs: the Mediterranean, the Arabian Sea, and the China Seas. Whether those are the right locations should be appraised continuously by the nation's national security establishment.

New concepts of forward deployment may emerge. At one point, the Navy used to deploy its ships and officers for three years at a time, picking up many of the needed crew members in ports overseas. A return to this practice is unlikely, but in the face of declining ship numbers, the Navy may have to come up with new overseas home-porting and crew rotation schemes.

Command of the Seas

The Past and Present Navy . As the Naval War College's George Baer has shown us, this has been the "main event"—the core of classical naval thinking—for the past hundred years. It is Admiral Alfred Thayer Mahan's sea power, Admiral Stansfield Turner's sea control, and Admiral Tom Hayward's maritime supremacy. It embraces all the traditional U.S. Navy warfare areas: antisurface, antisubmarine, antiair, mine, and electronic warfare. To the extent that shore positions need to be neutralized to ensure command of the sea, it also encompasses strike, amphibious, and special warfare. In Admiral Chase's view, it includes naval blockade and therefore maritime interception force operations. With the demise of the Soviet Union, however, this function has taken somewhat of a backseat.

The Next Navy and the Navy after Next . Today, except perhaps in certain littoral areas, the U.S. Navy has achieved and maintains command of the sea worldwide—partly because of U.S. naval superiority and partly because of the evaporation of serious competition. Whether or when a serious threat to this supremacy will emerge is the subject of some debate. Should such a threat arise, clearly, the Navy will have to be ready to deal with it; but it also must be able to deal with the most likely threats. These include contemporary and foreseen antiship missiles launched from small ships and shore batteries, land-based air forces, sea mines, and diesel submarines. Just because we have command of the sea does not mean that everyone will stand idly by as we exercise it.

Support of Land Operations

The Past and Present Navy . This is another classic function that the Navy has performed often and well. In the past it involved landing troops ashore and bombarding forts. During the Cold War and post-Cold War eras it has meant support through naval amphibious warfare, naval strike warfare, and naval special warfare.

Since World War II, the U.S. Navy usually has thought of this function in terms of support for forcible entry—and the Marines aid and abet this view, of course—yet it is important to remember that amphibious evacuation often has been the land support operation of choice, e.g., the Hungnam operation during the Korean War and the civilian evacuations of Tonkin, the Tachen Islands, and Egypt a few years later.

One type of support that classical naval thought is particularly silent about, however, is sealift. There are good reasons for this: until recently, sealift was an Army function. The Navy might protect and support Army transports, but it was damned if it was going to provide and maintain them. When it needed to travel by sea, the Army transported itself; only during World War I did the Navy provide sealift for the Army.

This changed in 1949 with the consolidation of all military sealift into the Military Sea Transportation Service (later the Military Sealift Command). Nevertheless, it is not a function the Navy embraced. On the other hand, prodded by Congress, the Office of the Secretary of Defense, and the Army, the Navy built up a sizable fleet of sealift and prepositioning ships to support all services, and maintains it in readiness today.

The Next Navy and the Navy after Next . Support of land operations—including evacuation and sealift—now is another Navy core competency. It is not hard to see future troops on a foreign shore needing to be landed, supported, protected, sustained, and withdrawn. The Navy has been modernizing the forces it needs to carry out these functions and can be expected to do so in the future. As weaponry becomes more lethal and the American tolerance for casualties stays low, particular attention will have to be paid to force protection from the sea , including theater ballistic missile defense and protection against chemical attack. Information warfare support from the sea also must now be added to the future capabilities naval forces will need to support ground troops going in to, staying on, or departing the beach.

The Navy also has to pay attention to sealift and its extension, sea basing. Moving from the mobile prepositioning force to a mobile operating base is, in the eyes of some, a logical progression; others see it as a serious misstep. One thing classical Navy thought shows us, however, is that left to its own devices, the Navy will hardly consider the subject at all.

Projecting Force Inland from the Sea

The Past and Present Navy . Admiral Chase correctly saw this as a separate function from support of land operations—being able to strike hundreds of miles inland from the sea is different from providing support to the beach from offshore. Considering the U.S. Navy's World War II experience, he claimed this function for amphibious forces as well as naval aviation, although it is difficult to understand why, because in 1969 amphibious operations still were focused on the beach.

One element he did not include—because it did not exist—was the sea launched long-range land attack cruise missile. It had its roots in Admiral Chase's era, but it did not deploy in significant form until much later. He also did not include the projection of counterterrorism Navy SEAL teams.

The Next Navy and the Navy after Next . The Navy is continuing—and probably will continue far into the future—to develop its capabilities to project force inland from the sea, especially by carrier aircraft and cruise missiles launched from surface ships and submarines. It is seeking to improve not only the range and lethality of its deep attack weapons but also their precision. Projecting information warfare capabilities far inland is a more iffy function, however. The theory sounds fine, but whether the capability will pan out is a Scottish verdict: not proven.

Regarding amphibious warfare, Admiral Chase was not wrong, just early. The U.S. Marine Corps concept of operational maneuver from the sea (OMFTS) seeks to move the focus of amphibious operations from the beach to points far inland, replacing ship-to-shore movement with ship-to-objective maneuver. That will change everything. Some of the naval doctrines and systems they will need are in place, some are under development, and some are mere gleams in their eyes, but the Corps is ferociously committed to this concept, and is not likely to deviate from it. The Navy normally has supported the Marine Corps in its amphibious warfare enhancements. It is hard to see this changing.

Regarding special operations, including counterterrorism, the same growth in reach, power, and precision that is occurring in sea-based strike forces and naval amphibious forces is taking place as well in the third part of the Navy force projection triad: the SEALs and supporting naval special warfare forces.

Strategic Deterrence

The Past and Present Navy . The largely civilian gurus of "classic" nuclear deterrence theory embraced the early submarine-launched ballistic missile. The carrier as a nuclear weapons platform was barely noticed—and never in strategic terms. The Soviets, however, remained petrified by it, as well as by the later specter of nuclear-armed Tomahawk cruise missiles.

The Next Navy and the Navy after Next . Arms control agreements and the end of the Cold War combined to reduce the nuclear arsenals of the United States and Russia dramatically, to eliminate those of other Soviet successor states, and to render even more marginal the nuclear weaponry of France and Britain. The United States last year commissioned the last ballistic missile submarine (SSBN) it plans to buy for some time, and the total SSBN fleet has been cut by two-thirds.

On the other hand, the prospects of nuclear proliferation and a buildup of Chinese nuclear capability have lots of people worried. The key questions are the future of the Russian stockpile, whether China will strive for nuclear superpower status, and what our response should be in that eventuality. The next U.S. Navy will deploy a small but highly capable nuclear deterrent force. The Navy after next could maintain, eliminate, or increase that force, depending on how those key questions get answered and on the competing requirements of other national defense and domestic needs.

A Means to Implement Social Reforms

The Past and Present Navy . What we really are talking about here is the realm of American civil-military relationships and the Navy's relationship to the society and economy it has sworn to defend.

The function of the Navy to conform to American civil military norms and economic expectations has continued to be exercised—and stressed—throughout its history. Dueling among officers finally was abolished in the l9th century, as was flogging. Alcohol rations were canceled in the early 20th century. Racial integration occurred in the third quarter of that century, although hardly without incident. Today, we are in the throes of gender integration.

Throughout its history, the relationship of the U.S. Navy to the U.S. economy has been important to each. The first ships in the Navy—six super frigates built exactly two centuries ago—each was constructed and based in a different coastal city, largely for political-economic reasons. And the Navy often has been charged with conducting operations that contributed only marginally to national security but a great deal to the nation's scientific or economic development—from the Wilkes expedition to the South Seas in the 1830s and 1840s to the Antarctic operations that ended this year.

Some argue that conformity with this or that evolving social norm is necessary because it is efficient, but this seldom is the true reason for reform. We have done these things principally to preserve an essential American civil-military relationship—and that is as it should be.

Similarly, arguments have been made that particular Navy procurement policies are necessary for national security, but it often is the case that they are more necessary for local, regional, or national economic interests. That may not always be as it should, but that is always how it is. And the Navy must deal with it. It is a function of the Navy.

The Next Navy and the Navy after Next . The Navy will have to continue to carry out this function. As a government agency and a fundamental American institution, it has a built-in mission to preserve and strengthen the country and its values, paradoxically, by not interfering with their development. Discerning what those values might be and which ones the Navy should reflect will not be easy—it never has been.

The Navy will have to try to stay plugged in to its nation. While striving for excellence, it cannot allow itself to get so far out ahead of the nation as to become an unrepresentative elite. On the other hand, it cannot allow itself to lag appreciably far behind the nation so as to become a social anachronism. How does the Navy do this? First, its officer corps and enlisted personnel will have to be more or less representative of the population. In this country, that means maintaining a certain level of diversity. The Navy also will have to avoid separating itself from others in American society, beyond what is necessary to accomplish its other functions. And, of course, it will have to continue to subordinate itself to the elected and appointed civil authorities who represent the people as a whole.

In addition, the Navy will not be able to ignore the domestic economic effects of its activities. It will have to achieve the most economically efficient force structure it can, ashore and afloat, without alienating the domestic representative political structure. This is not just a sideline; it is a real function of the Navy. It is, after all, not just "the Navy"; it is the United States Navy. And so too will be the Navy after next.

Where's Jointness?

One other thing that is "classic" in Admiral Chase's rundown is his treatment of jointness— it almost is not there at all . There is a reason for this: jointness as we have come to know it has not been considered very "classical."

But that was then and this is now. Since World War II, acts of Congress, White House executive orders, Defense directives, joint doctrine publications, and think-tank studies have cascaded on each other, integrating the services more and more. Jointness must be addressed by the naval leaders of today and tomorrow, even if it was not by their predecessors. Jointness is clearly now a function of the Navy, overlaying each of the other functions.

When we overlay jointness onto each of Admiral Chase's functions, how do they look?

Joint Coastal Defense

The Past and Present Navy . The Navy mostly has been content to leave coastal defense to others. Before the Cold War, this meant the ground Army, with its harbor fortifications, coastal defense artillery, and inshore minefields.

When the Army Air Corps challenged the Navy in the 20th-century interwar period, the Navy preference was for the Army's land-based airplanes to handle the close-in coastal zone, and for the fleet to handle everything else. Division of labor—rather than integrated joint approaches—became the stuff of interservice controversy right through the middle of World War II, when land-based maritime patrol became a solely Navy job. After the war, the Army closed down its coastal defense forces and the Navy took over—and slowly abandoned—the Army's inshore mine-laying roles.

During the early Cold War, when continental defense was a high national priority, the Navy sought to keep its distance from the largely Army-Air Force Continental Air Defense Command. It preferred to coordinate rather than subordinate or integrate its land-based maritime patrol aviation, as well as its sea-based air, surface, and undersea barriers. During the late Cold War, the Navy made various arrangements for coastal defense with the Coast Guard, and during the early post-Cold War era, the two teamed up to try to stem the inflow of drugs to the United States.

The Next Navy and the Navy after Next . In the 1990s, all of the services are interested in ballistic missile defense—the high end of coastal defense. The mood is highly competitive, and only somewhat joint. But this function—while technically right up the Navy's alley—is not one the Navy has ever embraced. "Classic" joint operational history would suggest that this one will wind up with the Army and/or the Air Force.

None of the services, however, is particularly enamored with low-end coastal defense, which smacks too much of law enforcement. This function slowly has been taken over by a host of domestic agencies: the Coast Guard, Customs, the Drug Enforcement Administration, etc. Navy task forces have yielded to joint task forces and now to interagency task forces. It is hard to see this changing in the future.

Joint Commerce Raiding

The Past and Present Navy . Commerce raiding as a joint or non-Navy military activity is not much in evidence. The Army Air Forces deployed in the Southwest Pacific during World War II sank a lot of Japanese shipping, but this has never been more than a sideline to other Air Force functions.

The Next Navy and the Navy after Next . This one looks like a nonstarter as a significant joint function.

Joint Operations Protecting U.S. Interests

The Past and Present Navy . In the l9th century the Navy had this function all to itself, but the Spanish-American War changed things. The Army was now deployed overseas to enforce respect for U.S. interests—in the Philippines, China, Mexico, and North Russia and Siberia. The Cold War saw increased use of the Army and the newly created Air Force for such purposes. Air Force bombers participated in the 1986 strikes on Libya, for example, and it was largely the Army that dealt with Panama in 1989.

The Next Navy and the Navy after Next . It looks as though these operations will endure, and that they will be joint. Accordingly, the Navy will need to have maximum communications connectivity with its sister services. At the same time, Navy leadership will make sense in many of these operations. To fulfill this role, the Navy will need (among other things) command ships whose equipment and people are capable of absorbing significant Army and Air Force elements and running large, complex joint operations, and running them well.

The Navy also will need to straighten out its command relationships with the Marine Corps, which will be involved in many of these operations. If they cannot work things out, then future Chairmen of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and unified combatant commanders doubtless will decide these things for them, in the heat of whatever crisis is at hand.

Joint Instruments of Foreign Policy

The Past and Present Navy . Here, too, the Navy used to have the field to itself. But especially during the Cold War, this naval supremacy began to erode: The Army and Air Force have sent forward a whole galaxy of overseas deployments and exercises, foreign military sales and assistance personnel, mobile training teams, attaches and exchange officers, humanitarian assistance teams, arms control inspectors, ground transportation assets, and airlift aircraft. These all have been pressed into service as tools of U.S. foreign policy. Forward presence no longer is a Navy monopoly.

The Next Navy and the Navy after Next . Things should not change. The Army and Air Force, not to mention the Marines and the Coast Guard, will continue to play important roles in the nation's foreign policy and in forward military presence. Navy forces will have to be able not just to cooperate but also to integrate with the forces of these other services.

Joint Operations to Command the Sea

The Past and Present Navy . Navies did this one more or less by themselves until land-based airplanes and air forces came along. The U.S. Navy fought long and hard against Army Air Forces' encroachment on its core competency. The Army Air Forces, in turn, fought against artificial bureaucratic constraints on the indivisibility of the air.

Things started to fall into place in the 1940s. The Navy got back into land-based ASW patrol during the war and the Army Air Forces abandoned it. Various interservice roles and missions agreements ended the worst of the infighting, although residual hiccups have recurred. In the 1970s and 1980s, the Navy concluded a number of agreements with the Air Force that confirmed B-52 bomber roles in sea surveillance, antisurface warfare, and mining.

In the 1990s, the Soviet threat evaporated and with it much of the joint focus on command of the sea.

The Next Navy and the Navy after Next . The Navy no doubt would fight to keep its core competency, and the Air Force to horn in on the Navy's act, except for one thing: there is not much of a current or projected threat. The development of space systems may increase potential Air Force contributions, but in the absence of a significant threat, it probably will not waste much time on it. Only maritime interception operations look like a sure bet for future command of the sea operations, and they probably will not be very joint.

The other services will be content to leave this one with the Navy, with one important proviso: they will continue to pressure the Navy to show that it is serious about protecting its ships—and especially its sealift assets (with all that Army and Marine stuff on board)—from naval mines.

Joint Support of Land Operations

The Past and Present Navy . The Navy is not the only service that supports land operations. To varying degrees, the Army and Marines support their own land operations, with artillery, helicopter gunships and transports, and tactical aircraft and amphibious vehicles. The Air Force provides close air support, interdiction, and airlift for the Army and sometimes for the Marines.

Direct support of land operations emerged as a primary rationale for the fleet during World War II. Finding the right mix of employment of all these forces in joint operations has been a challenge for military leaders, from the great amphibious operations of that war to today.

The Next Navy and the Navy after Next . This will remain a challenge. What should the Marines and Army have with them and what should they rely on the Navy or Air Force for? Which services will have which roles in theater ballistic missile defense? Will we have access to forward bases? The Navy and Marine Corps cite loss of facilities around the world; the Army and Air Force note that land basing is usually available. Which argument you believe determines how much of what part of the land operations support function you allocate to each of the services—if at all.

Joint Projection of Force Inland from the Sea

The Past and Present Navy . One attraction to the Navy of this derivative function is that it promised to preserve Navy autonomy, through discrete projection operations unencumbered by the joint messiness of the littoral. But jointness caught up with deep projection, too. The SEALs were among the first to go. As their abilities to operate far from the fleet expanded, so did the call for their detachment from the fleet commanders. In time, a joint Special Operations Command and joint theater special operations component commands were born.

Carrier aviation deep strikes also had to become more joint, and this has been harder for the Navy to swallow. All through World War II the Navy had proudly and steadily developed a capability to project force from carriers far inland from the sea. By the end of the war it thought it had broken the code. So the Navy started to develop the next generation of tactics and systems it would need to hit most places in the world—and it began to think about how to do it with nukes.

Then it ran into the Air Force. It has been running into somebody—usually the Air Force—ever since. To the Navy, development of a capability to use the proven utility of a carrier to put more and more ordnance on target farther and farther away from the carrier seemed like common sense. To the Air Force, which believed you could far more easily and cheaply do the same thing with a land-based bomber, it seemed redundant.

The truth is that deep strike is a military function that everybody wants, and that everybody strives to perfect, even if somebody else already is doing it, and even if it means neglecting some other function.

The Next Navy and the Navy after Next . It is hard to see things changing. The SEALs will stay joint. Counterterrorism will continue to be seen as a joint function. And everybody still will want to do deep strike. If the Navy wants to continue to embrace this mission—and its history indicates it will—it will have to fight for its share of the pie.

OMFTS so far is just a gleam in one eye—that of the Marine Corps. As long as it remains a gleam, the other services will be content with it staying in just one eye. Once it takes hold in any important way, however, the Marines probably will start getting a lot of joint "help." The Navy will have to decide how much of its own resources to devote to OMFTS and how much to acquiesce in the other services horning in.

Joint Strategic Deterrence

The Past and Present Navy . The nation's strategic nuclear force started as an Air Force system, and the thinkers who developed the classic theories of strategic deterrence often were under Air Force contract. An Army bid for participation in the 1950s came and went. Navy participation has had far more staying power, but Navy-developed theories of "finite deterrence" in the late 1950s never made much of a dent.

Through it all the Navy sought to keep its nuclear forces free of "central"—which it feared would mean Air Force—control. It lost its fight against creation of a single Joint Strategic Targeting Planning System (JSTPS) and a Single Integrated Operational Plan (SIOP) in the early 1960s. It successfully resisted creation of a joint unified Strategic Command until the 1990s, however, by which time much of the passion had dissipated.

Nevertheless, the existence of Air Force nuclear-capable land-based strategic bombers and intercontinental ballistic missiles helped "classic" nuclear deterrence theory accommodate Navy systems, as part of the nuclear triad.

The Next Navy and the Navy after Next . The future of the triad has been debated for decades. But with a decreased rationale—and funding—the ballistic missile submarine force may wind up as the "last man standing."

Joint Social Reform

The Past and Present Navy . When the country has wanted to change its relationship with its military, it has changed its relationship with its Army. Almost all of the great figures on the military side of American civil-military relations have been Army officers—Washington, Jackson, McClellan, Grant, MacArthur, Marshall, Eisenhower, and Powell. Up until Tailhook, the Navy seldom had been at the center of a national civil-military debate.

The Next Navy and the Navy after Next . As an issue area, civil-military relations seems to have become quite joint. A widely publicized event involving one service immediately invites press comparisons with the other services. Thus, no service is immune from changes in civil military relationships involving the other services. Given the centrality of the Army to the civil-military function, this means that the Navy and the other services often will find themselves following the Army's lead or trying to get out of the line of fire.

Where Is Combined-ness?

Just as jointness was missing from much of Admiral Chase's analysis, so too is "combined-ness," the functions of the Navy as a part of or leader of international coalitions or alliances. Here's a sampling of probable future issues:

  • During the Cold War, the U.S. Navy got in the habit of relying on allied navies for "low-end" command-of-the-sea functions, especially convoy escort and minesweeping. The Navy may have to kick this habit in the future, given the loosening of alliance bonds and the plummeting of navy budgets around the world. At the same time, it will have to work to tighten those loosening bonds.
  • As the U.S. Navy becomes more immersed in joint operations and organizations, its role as the acknowledged champion and role model for allied and friendly navies may wane. In the face of far more domestically powerful armies and air forces, this may in turn reduce the capabilities of these other navies even more.
  • The racial, ethnic, and gender make-up of the U.S. Navy will differ from those of navies it will be called on to work with in the future. The U.S. Navy will not be able to do much about foreign sensitivities, but they could impair navy-to-navy cooperation.

Staying Versatile

One last word is in order. The utility to the nation of the U.S. Navy is that it carries out all of these functions—unique, joint, and combined—using the same ships, people, organizational structures, and leadership. When the country buys a carrier and its air wing, for example, it gets a system that can defend the coast, sink enemy commerce, protect U.S. interests, act as an instrument of foreign policy, command the seas, support land operations, project force inland, implement social reforms, and contribute to strategic deterrence— all on the same deployment .

And it could be integrated into a joint or combined force, as demonstrated by the carriers in the Gulf War in 1991 and off Haiti in 1994.

The same sustainable versatility and flexibility is true of almost all other U.S. Navy warships and aircraft in the current and planned inventory. A key challenge for the current Navy's designers—of the SC-21, LPD-17, CVX, New Attack Submarine, Joint Strike Fighter, Theater Ballistic Missile Defense, Cooperative Engagement Capability, and other systems on the drawing boards for the next Navy—is to maintain this multifunctional capability.

The Navy functions and directions outlined here are neither absolute nor final. If the Navy is to "get it right" for the next 30 years and beyond, these ideas and their competitors must be debated, not saluted. Let's do it.

Captain Swartz retired from the Navy in 1993 and is on the staff of the Center for Naval Analyses (CNA).  Dr. Robert Wood at the Naval War College and several colleagues at CNA contributed to the ideas presented here. A more extensive examination of these issues is to be published by the Naval War College Press.

 

 
 

Conferences and Events

Defense Forum Washington 2014

Thu, 2014-12-04

Newseum - Knight Conference Center

Defense Forum Washington will take place December 4, 2014 at the Newseum - Knight Conference Center in Washington, DC.

2015 WEST Conference

Why Become a Member of the U.S. Naval Institute?

As an independent forum for over 135 years, the Naval Institute has been nurturing creative thinkers who responsibly raise their voices on matters relating to national defense.

Become a Member Renew Membership