Professional Notes

Mariners take wry satisfaction in musing upon Macaulay's memorable judgment: "There were seamen and there were gentlemen in the Navy of Charles II. But the seamen were not gentlemen, and the gentlemen were not seamen." The modern ear, however, misses much of the historic import in simply imagining a cultural war between hard-case bos'uns and silk-hankied dandies. Macaulay actually was referring to a real system of command-at-sea appointments in the era of the Stuart and Tudor kings. Tarpaulin captains were those who had earned their stations by professional experience and accomplishment; gentlemen captains, on the other hand, were landsmen courtiers, who paced their quarterdecks because of political patronage. To the extent the lower deck could bestow any preferment, they much preferred the tarpaulin captains. Then as now, they knew the sea's reluctance to tolerate anything makeshift, however elegant. The spiritual descendants of the gentlemen captains do not command ships today, but they still make decisions that make sailors miserable.

Worldwide, fisheries management is generally acknowledged to be a tale of failure reinforced by more failure. One of the few rays of light in the dismal scene has been the closed areas of the Georges Bank east of Cape Cod. In 1994, under provisions of the Magnuson Stevens Fisheries Management Conservation Act, the U.S. Department of Commerce acted on recommendations of the New England Fisheries Management Council and closed more than 5,000 square nautical miles of the historic Bank to fishing so that ground fish stocks—cod, haddock, and flounder—might have a chance to rejuvenate. Another year-round closure subsequently was imposed in the western Gulf of Maine. Although the endeavor may be too little too late or perhaps not politically sustainable for the long run, scientific research has demonstrated that four of the five stocks in danger have reversed their decline. Patrolling the closed areas are the cutters and the aircraft of the U.S. Coast Guard.

As scientific surveys confirmed that the fisheries were rebounding, poachers found it worth the risk to enter the forbidden zones. Running with lights out at night and in bad weather (both of which occur with about equal certainty in the northwest Atlantic)—and operating in conjunction with a sophisticated counter-surveillance network of like-minded poachers—provided cover for the continuing illegal enterprise. Scallopers in particular could make dizzying profits. Deep penetrations of the closed areas became common—to the disgust of the vast majority of honest fishermen. And some of that disgust was aimed at the Coast Guard's inability to halt the illegal profit-taking and rape of the restored habitat. On the venerable piers of New Bedford, Massachusetts, honesty was not proving to be the best policy among commercial fishermen. One vessel actually landed a catch of $262,000, a sum unheard of for a ten-day trip.

The Coast Guard might have been better prepared for the game that was afoot; cod wars have a long history in the North Atlantic. In 1745, in a real war, New England fishermen actually stormed ashore, in a remarkable amphibious campaign in Cape Breton, to protect their fishery from French privateers. Mark Kurlansky's 1997 best-seller Cod provides a remarkable 1,000-year history of "the fish that changed the world." The stakes are high, both for economics and for the preservation of a way of life.

Surprised and humiliated by these actions, the Coast Guard in the spring of 1997 dusted off tactics (and attitudes) formerly reserved for drug runners, and proceeded to establish certain new rules of the game. A little more than a year and some two dozen seizures later, the terms of reference in the offshore estate had been altered significantly. Incursions up to five miles within a closed area, by multiple poachers operating in loose company at night, were over. Boldness went away. Though assisted in scouting and intelligence by like-minded partners, intruders began to go in alone and penetrate no more than one mile. Clearly, the poachers had been hurt. But then, the gentlemen captains came to their rescue.

In November 1998, NOAA's General Counsel, in an action involving a single trawler, dismissed an alleged intrusion of 1,500 yards and downgraded a second alleged 900-yard incursion to a warning. Seized catches held in escrow were returned. The vessel's master had pleaded a "plotter defense," using an impressive printout that showed him to be outside the restricted area. In effect, this meant that the two commissioned ships of the United States that intercepted the trawler must have been hazards to navigation—incapable of safe and timely arrival anywhere, much less fixing the position of a trawler repeatedly in violation.

Not considered, apparently, was that the owner's manual for an integrated chart display gives simple directions for cranking in an offset. Using this technique, the trawler captain could have demonstrated easily that a northwest Atlantic trawl took place off Equatorial Guinea.

Not deemed important, apparently, was the lack of corroborating navigational fixes on board the trawler—even though the Coast Guard had in both incidents used all available navigational aides to fix the position.

Not relevant, apparently, was that one of the Coast Guard captains was an aids-to-navigation specialist and that both were veteran commanding officers. To the gentlemen captains of NOAA's General Counsel, the trawler's printout constituted "persuasive evidence." Another factor obviating a trip to court was the seeming believability of both the master and owner of the trawler. Not considered was a pending case against both for false statement—an offense that later resulted in a $20,000 fine and a 45-day federal fisheries permit sanction. Coast Guardsmen were amazed that an easily manipulated plotter printout and a polite manner could convince anyone that the watch sections of medium endurance cutters, both under command of veteran tarpaulin captains, could be so easily shunted aside.

This was only one case, and anyone engaged in maritime law enforcement is going to be frustrated occasionally. General Colin Powell's dictum—"Get mad; then get over it"—is good advice. In this case, however, the story was not over; it had just begun. Unfortunately, it set a precedent, not in the statutes, but dockside in the poacher community. Within a week of the dismissal, four individuals called the First Coast Guard District's Law Enforcement Branch claiming plotter proof-of-innocence for past transgressions. A legal defense tactic was aborning, one that relied on electronic "proof" that apparently impressed landsmen prosecutors more than actual "most probable" positions fixed by the officers and crew of a U.S. Coast Guard cutter using all available navigational means.

Although poachers practicing their craft still hoped to avoid detection and thus avoid any hassle whatsoever, they now had an established legal defense, the offset plotter, to fall back on. Coupled with this, poachers were aware that NOAA was extremely reluctant to prosecute shallow incursions—less than a mile or, better, less than one-half mile inside the forbidden zones. Unlike their Canadian counterparts, U.S. attorneys were willing to cede small distances to violators. And there was no shortage of "expert" witnesses for hire ready to dazzle the gentlemen captains in a language they did not comprehend but which sounded credible, even though the same defenses sounded like claptrap to the tarpaulin captains.

Thus the violator would simply proceed parallel roughly to the border of the closed area for a considerable period of time, without proceeding too deeply into the forbidden zone. Of course, a four-mile trawl along a border is just as illegal and destructive as a four-mile direct penetration. Distance, illegal or otherwise, is a function of speed and time. The Coast Guard understood that. The poachers understood that. The National Marine Fisheries Service scientists at Woods Hole, Massachusetts, understood that.

The gentlemen captains/federal attorneys, however, although in receipt of evidence packages painstakingly developed by the Coast Guard, did not understand that. So began in November and December 1998 a new rash of closed-area intrusions, attended by new tactics, but undertaken by the same old customers. It is a sad story. Time will tell its ending.

Recent events on Georges Bank are an affront to the professionalism of Coast Guardsmen. Fishermen are good at catching fish, but very few have extensive navigational backgrounds. They go out in the most demanding of environments to catch fish, not to impress anyone with nautical navigational virtuosity. Virginia's nautical affairs expert Bob Basnight writes: "Challenge him on his lack of mastery on the nautical basics and the fisherman will inquire how much more money he could earn by calculating current vectors or time-speed-distance problems. After all, he has a piece of electronic gear...." There is nothing wrong with that outlook—for a fisherman. When that approach dominates legal proceedings whose outcome depends on critical navigational positions, something is very wrong.

Fishermen rely on long-range navigation (LORAN) lines and, increasingly, automated plotters fed by the Global Positioning System (GPS) with none of the redundancy, continual system checks, and use of all available means which is the rule in both the pilot house and combat information center of a Coast Guard cutter. Nor are there the multiple sets of eyes ensuring that mistakes are not allowed to continue.

To state the obvious, a Coast Guardsman has no reason to fabricate a fisheries violation, and no possibility of convincing or conning an entire ship's company to go along with a mistake or a lie. Even were that possible, the case would have to withstand the operational commander's staff review. Yet it is the Coast Guard whose efforts on the Georges Bank have been denigrated officially. The big losers, however, are the hard-pressed honest majority of the commercial fishing industry.

The Coast Guard is making every effort to educate NOAA lawyers on the nature the navigation standards and the huge gap extant between a cutter's position-fixing capabilities and those of a closed-area intruder. Prosecutors struggling with a heavy and diverse case load are not blessed with abundant time, however, to study what are admittedly complex navigation scenarios. With the new SPS-73 radar and the Electronic Chart Digital Display (ECDIS), the Coast Guard will have even more attractive printouts than do the violators, with the benefit—not yet appreciated by NOAA General Counsel—of multifaceted position fixing by other means that eliminate the possibility of an offset, intentional or not.

As offshore waters become ever more highly regulated, position fixing of a variety of multiple contacts will become an even more important aspect of maritime law enforcement, "together with a reliable system of recording position and movement which is clearly accepted as evidence in court," as Barry Clarke wrote in Coastal Forces .

Many of our adversaries at sea have better radar, night vision capability, electronic support measures, and intelligence than the Coast Guard, yet we manage to win our share of the cat-and-mouse games. What a shame, then, to lose in court or, lately, before even getting to court, because someone produces the equivalent of a computer-generated cartoon that looks more impressive than our painstaking paper plots or because an officer of the court cannot comprehend that illegal incursions are matters of time and velocity rather than a simple rhumbline measurement depicting an indisputable trespass. We must do a better job of educating those who will prosecute the cases. And in our increasingly visual age, we must package our professional navigational ability better than the visually impressive lies of habitual violators.

Royal Navy Secretary Samuel Pepys, whose famous diary describes the value of tarpaulin captains, took great pains to drive gentlemen captains from the service. Today's Coast Guard does not have the means or the inclination to do likewise. With increasingly state-of-the-art case-recording equipment emblematic of true seagoing professionalism, however, we will strive to educate, persuade, and convince them. If those endeavors fail, the closed-area laws will become unenforceable—at the least for some 600 square nautical miles near the borders.

Captain Brown is the Chief of Operational Law Enforcement on the staff of the Commander, First Coast Guard District, Boston, Massachusetts. He commanded USCGC Escanaba (WMEC-907), which seized five fishing vessels for violations of fisheries conservation regulations.


Three-Dimensional Vision for the Warfighter

By Commander J. Bruce Ricketts, U.S. Naval Reserve

In a virtual world, warfighters are under constant bombardment by new technologies designed to aid command of the battlefield. Many of these technological breakthroughs indeed provide quantum leaps in the ability to wage and win battles.

Many efforts are under way to bring the training infrastructure to the same advanced level as the actual battlefield. One of the common themes of advancing our military training effectiveness is three-dimensional (3D) visualization.

If a picture is worth a thousand words (and those thousand words are often all the warfighter gets today), then how much more valuable is real or near-real time animation of actual battlefield events? To see animated playback of actual or simulated field data, tailored to any particular participant in an exercise, provides training value that only a few years ago would have been a pipe dream. The good news is that advanced visualization systems do exist.

Simulation Display (SimDis), produced by the Naval Research Laboratory (NRL) in Washington, D.C., represents a leading-edge three-dimensional visualization technology that left the confines of the laboratory community in 1996 for initial field application. It has received applied research funding from the Office of Naval Research because of its great promise for filling fleet visualization needs. The system is serving a growing base of users, including the Pacific Missile Range Facility, Naval Undersea Warfare Command Hawaii Detachment, Naval Air Station Patuxent River, and the Missile Space Intelligence Center, where it continues to prove the value of 3D viewing for field testing and analysis and weapon range applications.

The simple message is that this Windows- and mouse-driven tool, which has benefited from years of research and development and fleet feedback, has become a remarkably flexible and adaptable government tool available for the warfighter right now. Users recognize its utility as the 3D plug-in they have sought; because it is a government product, there are no start-up costs.

Figure 1 is a system display from Exercise RimPac 98 on the Pacific Missile Range Facility off the coast of Kauai, Hawaii. It represents actual data and was available real-time because of the system's interface with the range's internet data format, which permitted automated input of the range data stream. It was worked in a two-day effort by Naval Research Laboratory programmers in a 1997 proof-of-concept demonstration arranged by the range.

This rapid turnaround from concept to application highlights the robust architecture underlying SimDis that is essential for 3D viewers. A quick tailoring effort was all that was required to start using the product to visualize range activity. The Pacific Missile Range continues to make increasing use of 3D tools because of the obvious benefit that this fidelity of visualization brings to both the warfighter and the range. Not to be missed, SimDis has also leveraged the personal computer's incredible gains in graphical capabilities and is now available on both a Silicon Graphics and IT21 Windows NT platform, thereby enhancing even more its direct applicability to existing fleet systems.

SimDis offers many benefits:

  • Interactive real-time and multimedia post-processing capability
  • Playback of sound synchronized with platform data
  • Platform position and movement in full six degrees of freedom
  • Display of radar antenna beams, range gates, and other sensor data
  • Tethered viewpoints
  • Topographic, latitude and longitude, and geocentric capabilities
  • Multiwarfare area application

The system provides an interactive live display when the user desires a real-time view of activity; users can modify the presentation while a simulation or set of real field data is running. A change of perspective from a top-down to an underwater view, for example, may be desired when conducting an antisubmarine warfare exercise. The active display also can be programmed to run at various speeds with respect to real time.

It also provides capabilities for post processing; that is, the user can design or program a script, and then run SimDis in an automated mode following the script.

This post-processing capability is very valuable in portraying the most important aspects of a particular exercise to support briefings and long-term archiving of events useful for future training feedback or exercise analysis.

SimDis and 3D have shown their value in this capacity by their use in creating the high-visibility videos and playback files for the Trans World Airlines Flight 800 crash investigation and the Mars Explorer loss, as well as a variety of electronic warfare, antiair warfare, ASW, and antisurface warfare field tests. Figure 2 shows a scripted playback, complete with a time-history of platform position and an appropriate grid overlaid on data to provide a more meaningful display for exercise participants.

The system has another powerful characteristic: the ability to synchronize sound with data playback. At the Pacific Missile Range, operators were able to import exercise communication directly into the SimDis visualization. The 3D tool maintained perfect, time-based synchronization of voice data with visualized data and retained full flexibility to move around to different phases of the exercise. Range personnel considered this capability essential as they replayed their roles in controlling events. As an example, Figure 2 from the P-3 scripted playback was actually part of a SimDis visualization that included sound. The playback provided the valuable communication between the P-3 controller and the air crew. It also clearly indicated the initiation and timing of torpedo drops as the call "Weapon away . . . now, now, now!" was linked with the appearance of torpedo-tracking data. One cannot overemphasize the enhancement that sound provides to post-exercise briefings and the long-term archiving of events.

SimDis provides a full six-degrees-of-freedom presentation of platform motions during simulation. Real-time viewing or the playback of platform movement no longer must be limited to coordinate positions. Full 3D visualization of course, pitch, and roll is provided for much a more meaningful insight into the dynamics of the event. Visualization of the evasive maneuvers of an aircraft being engaged, for example, can add tremendously to the training value of a playback when compared to simple positional data traditionally available today.

Very few tools exist that can provide the warfighter with a clear view of the sensor role in an exercise; 3D viewing closes this gap. SimDis originally was designed to function as the display tool for the Laboratory's Effectiveness of Naval Electronic Warfare Systems Group's antiship cruise missile simulations and hardware simulators. This core visualization capability has proved its value over and over to analysts and operators alike. Samples of sensors and related system performance that can be visualized include sensor modes, antenna search-and-track beams, range gates, radio-frequency and infrared jammers, electronic countermeasures repeaters, corner reflectors, towed decoys with tow lines, chaff, and passive receiver beam patterns.

Rarely does a single view of an exercise satisfy all participants, particularly exercises involving aircraft, surface ships, and submarines. The system deals with this feedback issue by tethering the view of events to whatever unit or geographical position is appropriate for the audience, allowing the audience to view in real-time—or play back—events from their preferred perspective to maximize training impact.

Linking platform data with a geographic display is another powerful advance for training feedback or exercise analysis. The display can be superimposed on various types of map presentations, including world vector shoreline, filled and unfilled land mass outlines and country borders, and digital terrain elevation data, which can be enhanced with land and terrain textures.

The system also can handle multiple coordinate systems. It visualizes data in a flat-earth mode using a topographic coordinate system fixed at a user-specified latitude and longitude origin. A planned near-term upgrade will add the ability to view data using a spherical earth model.

The tool also allows for input of geocentric (earth centered earth fixed coordinates), and geodetic (latitude, longitude, altitude) data.

Figure 5 provides an actual example of the value gained by topographic display using an event on the Pacific Missile Test Range. The map display of Kauai Island is part of the exercise visualization. Latitude and longitude lines and land sensor locations with their beam positions complete the view and add greatly to the value of the feedback.

A 3D visualization tool must be adaptable to all warfare areas. To date, SimDis has been applied to ASW, antiair, antisurface, and electronic warfare areas, in both actual field tests and as a 3D plugin for simulation runs. Further, it shows great promise in visualizing the broad area, complicated world of theater ballistic missile defense. If data are available, SimDis has the potential to provide 3D visualization. Understandably, the imagination of existing users has driven applied visualization into many new areas and 3D has yet to disappoint.

As described, 3D visualization exists for the warfighter today, but the system must keep pace with advances in Navy information technology. First, of course, it must remain compatible with approved fleet hardware. As an example, SimDis originally was developed for the Silicon Graphics platform and has been expanded to include the Windows NT personal computer, or Information Technology-21 platform; in addition, the system has been used with a notebook personal computer.

It also supports various real-time networked interfaces, including distributed interactive simulation protocols, high level architecture run-time infrastructure interface, and the Navy Research Laboratory's data-server interface.

Any 3D tool must continue to refine its ability to interface with various data formats; the tool's library of icons and topography must be as complete as possible to portray exercise participants accurately. The large library of 3D models and icons continues to grow. It contains an impressive array of U.S. and foreign platforms including ship, air, land, undersea, and missile models.

Finally, any system should anticipate a fleet need for remote viewing of field events. With the Navy's increased use of secure Internet connectivity, any 3D visualization tool must be designed as a web tool. In this case, SimDis has been tuned to allow browsing and retrieval of test and simulation data over the secure network. For speed, the system's binary multimedia file format has been modified to facilitate rapid data transfer; its design provides a user-friendly way of enabling remote users to obtain and visualize raw and processed simulation and test data quickly. To put this in perspective, there are no real technical hurdles preventing a fleet command from receiving a weapon range data stream and remote 3D viewing—in real time—the events as they occur on the range.

The 3D system is real and it will enhance greatly our ability to master the complex weapons and tactics entering the fleet. The tools are here today—let's use them.

Commander Ricketts , a Senior Staff Systems Engineer for Lockheed Martin, serves as a reservist with the Naval Research Laboratory. While on active duty, he served on the USS Caron (DD-970), the USS Ticonderoga (CG-47), and the USS Philippine Sea (CG-58).


Fielding a Naval Surface Fire Support Missile

By Rear Admiral Joseph Callo, U.S. Naval Reserve (Retired)

Noted writer T. S. Eliot captured the essence of the Naval Surface Fire Support (NSFS) Missile program with an idea from one of his poems: "Between the idea and the reality . . . falls the shadow."

The U.S. Marine Corps clearly has identified an expanded need for deep, ground fire support, but the path to providing an operational missile to meet that requirement has been anything but smooth. Author Scott Truver put the problem in a troubling perspective: "One of the more acute, long-recognized operational requirements—one that threatens to frustrate the Navy's Forward . . . From the Sea strategic concept—is the service's ability to provide long-range, accurate, and precision fires from guns and missiles in direct support of forces ashore." (See Proceedings January 1999, page 87.)

The genesis of the requirement can be found in two Marine Corps documents: Operational Maneuver from the Sea (OMFTS) and Ship to Objective Maneuver (STOM). The former is an outgrowth of the Navy-Marine Corps vision statements . . . From the Sea and Forward . . . From the Sea, which describe how "skillfully handled naval forces would enable the United States to exert influence in the littoral regions of the world." The emphasis in OMFTS is on maneuver warfare, flexibility, and utilization of advanced technology. In STOM, the focus is on tactical translations of the broad strategies.

A basic element in the Marines' vision of their future is an ability to achieve deeper power projection—150 miles or more from the coastline—than was possible in traditional over-the-beach amphibious assaults. In this regard, the MV-22 Osprey, which recently set an unofficial load-carrying record for rotor aircraft, is an important new enabler. The heavy-lift CH-53E Super Stallion helicopter, the Landing Craft Air Cushion vehicle (LCAC), the new Advanced Amphibious Assault Vehicle (AAAV), and the new San Antonio (LPD-17)-class amphibious transport ships also will be among the staples of the Marine Corps' 21st-century maneuver mode.

As a result, two previous amphibious warfare givens have changed:

  • No longer will there be an automatic major logistical ship-to-shore build up.
  • In many instances, much of what previously was organic to Marine units on the ground will be provided from offshore.

All of which leads to the requirement for a new and cost-effective Navy fire support missile, mounted in Spruance (DD-963)- and Arleigh Burke (DDG-51)-class destroyers and Ticonderoga (CG-47)-class cruisers, that can reach far beyond the Navy's 60-mile-plus, gun-fired Extended Range Guided Munition (ERGM). "Quick-response land attack missiles, with accuracy exceeding anything to date, will service the target set between 100 and 200 nautical miles," Navy Captain Ray Pilcher wrote in Surface Warfare magazine (January/February 1999). This deep fire support mission assumes special importance with the probability that many future littoral combat missions will be conducted without carrier air support.

Until now, there have been two contenders for this new weapon system:

  • Lockheed Martin's Navy Tactical Missile System (NTACM)
  • Raytheon's Land Attack Standard Missile (LASM)

Lockheed Martin's NTACM is a development of the presently operational Army Tactical Missile System (ATACM) used in Desert Storm. Raytheon's LASM is a remanufactured Standard Missile (SM)-2 Block II/III missile, which is obsolete as a ground-to-air weapon. At one point, Raytheon declared victory in the competition, saying that the Chief of Naval Operations had selected LASM as the Navy's land-attack missile. Whereupon Lockheed Martin borrowed a phrase form well-known ESPN sportscaster Lee Corso: "Not so fast, my friend!"

In making its case, Raytheon pointed to the October 1998 completion of the LASM Demonstration and Validation Program, emphasizing that the benefits of remanufacturing of a large block of obsolete Standard Missiles, including their Mark-104 Dual Thruster Rocket Motor, steering control section, fins, dorsals, and autopilot battery unit. A Global Positioning System (GPS)/inertial navigation system (INS) and a 119-pound payload are being developed to go with the remanufactured portions of the weapon. The end product, according to the company, had a range of more than 150 nautical miles; planned initial operating capability was set for no later than 2003.

Among the benefits of the LASM option claimed by Raytheon is "a significant cost saving," based on the use of from 800 to 2,000 obsolete missiles that otherwise will have to be disposed of by the Navy at considerable expense. The company also emphasizes that the basic Standard Missile technology has been established in its ground-to-air application used by the Navy for years. Based on these factors, Raytheon maintained that the weapon is ready to move on to engineering and manufacturing development. In fact, a company document stated: "The CNO recently selected Land Attack STANDARD Missile to enter Engineering and Manufacturing Development."

Lockheed Martin argued that NTACM's Army predecessor was proved operationally as a ground support weapon in Desert Storm. Company officials also pointed out that the 390-pound payload has been thoroughly tested by the Army Material Systems Analysis Activity. The company also argued that their 390-pound payload packs more punch than Raytheon's 119-pound warhead—thus compensating for the inevitable target location errors on actual battle-fields.

Initial planned range for NTACM is 165 nautical miles, with energy remaining at that range for engaging air defense systems in the target area; like LASM, NTACMS also uses GPS/INS guidance. Firings from Army launchers have been conducted on board the USS Whidbey Island (LSD-41) and at White Sands Missile Range, New Mexico, with the Navy's Mark 41 Vertical Launch System. Lockheed Martin maintains that the system can achieve an initial operating capability two years after the start of a demonstration and validation program; if the Navy approves such a program during 1999, the system would be operational sometime in 2002.

To support taking NTACM to the next test step, Lockheed Martin cited that it was endorsed by three classified Assessment of Alternatives Studies before the competing LASM was moved into a demonstration and validation phase. Company officials added that a recent General Accounting Office study claims that single-service guided munitions programs are unaffordable. Lockheed Martin officials also pointed out that there has been no validated Operational Requirements Document (ORD) for a surface fire-support missile. They also protested to the Navy Competition Advocate General that there has been no Assessment of Alternatives study conducted on the two surface fire-support missile options. Based on the competing claims for LASM and NTACM, Congress ordered that the Navy conduct such a study, and the Center for Naval Analyses was assigned the task.

One of the most important factors in developing an operational naval surface fire-support missile is the consideration of future ship, aircraft, and weapons development. The proposed new Land Attack Destroyer (DD-21), for example, is scheduled to join the fleet in 2009. This ship is the first to emerge from the Navy's Surface Combatant 21 (SC 21) concept, and is a reflection of the way the Navy plans to operate in the littorals. Both an advanced gun system (AGS) and the longer-range surface fire-support missile will be among the ship's weapons intended to help shape the battlefield for ground troops. Whatever the choice of missile, it must allow for a cost-effective evolution to the advanced network-centric warfare technology of DD-21.

Other planned future systems, such as the tactical Tomahawk and even the forthcoming Joint Strike Fighter (JSF)—particularly the Marine Corps version—represent similar interface requirements for technologies under development. To add yet another variable, the Navy submarine community is discussing the use of submarines for a significant surface fire-support role. That may introduce still another set of requirements for the yet-to-be-agreed-upon fire-support missile.

"Money talks" is one of the blunter admonitions of our time, and on the NSFS issue, money is indeed talking very loudly to all concerned. It is no exaggeration to say that cost-effectiveness has been the operative term in the debate over LASM versus NTACM. Interestingly, there seems to be no dispute that on a short-term, unit-cost basis, the LASM is probably cheaper. If the comparison is developed on the basis of long-term—and the meaningful cost-per-kill basis—there are compelling arguments for NTACM. Analyses done by Lockheed Martin indicate that NTACM has a 6:1 effectiveness ratio advantage over LASM; targets such as antiaircraft installations could take as many as 15 LASMs to do the job of a single NTACM.

One of the most worrisome aspects of the cost issue part of the NSFS missile debate is that it appears it will play out against a major emerging budget problem: rebuilding a Navy-Marine Corps force structure that has been shrinking for the past 15 years. Sharp exchanges during recent Senate Armed Services Committee testimony have begun to elicit admissions that the indicator needle on such basics as readiness and sufficient numbers of ships and aircraft have moved well into the red zone.

As recently as last month, there may have been a breakthrough. In an 11 May memorandum to the Navy, DoD Acquisition Chief Jacques Gansler created what seems to be a win-win situation for Raytheon and Lockheed Martin by concurring with the Navy's plans to develop Raytheon's LASM for "the near term" only. But that concurrence is contingent upon the Navy allocating at least $50 million per year in their fiscal year 2001 and 2002 budgets for the development, presumably on a competitive basis, of a long term solution to the tactical land attack requirement. The long-term solution is the Advanced Land Attack Missile (ALAM). Gansler also stipulated that at least 75% of those funds must be dedicated to adapting Lockheed Martin's ATACM to Arleigh Burke -class guided-missile destroyers. (See Defense Daily , 19 May 1999.)

Gansler's decision includes full-speed ahead language. "I see no need for future LASM studies or a second Defense Acquisition Board-like review.... I would like to see a Navy detailed plan that introduces ALAM as soon as possible, thereby providing a full land-attack capability to both the DD-21 and the Navy's Aegis ships."

The Naval Surface Fire Support Missile Program is an important test. The Navy and Marine Corps have developed their vision statements for the 21st century. If the NSFS program—only one of many elements necessary to translate those concepts into reality—cannot be kept on a fast track, it is an ominous indicator of the nation's inability to attain a need-driven force.

Admiral Callo , a Yale NROTC graduate and a surface warfare officer while on active duty, is a freelance writer on naval, travel, and business subjects. He received the Naval Institute’s “ Naval History Author of the Year” award in 1999.



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