Editor's Page

The seabasing concept will be fulfillable for the Navy-after-next thanks to the revolutionary Transformable Craft, or T-Craft, predicts retired Navy Captain Edward Lundquist. This remarkable ship-to-shore connector will combine unprecedented speed, range, capacity, and versatility, delivering the goods to a degree that “has never been accomplished in a single vessel,” the author notes.

A team of military tea-leaf readers—Steve Koepenick, Rachel Volner, and Army Reserve Major Charles Weko—led by regular Proceedings contributor retired Navy Captain George Galdorisi, marvel at the rapid rise of technology that has brought us unmanned systems. But they also warn of a monumental hurdle. An unmanned system currently requires not less manpower but more, which is thus too expensive. And the armed services, especially the Navy, can do something about it.

Recent operations in Libya demonstrated one of the limitations of missiles as a vessel’s primary weapon: They can be expended quickly, taking the ship out of action until they can be replenished. Navy Reserve Lieutenant Maxwell Cooper looks to the past for a solution and argues for a return to prominence of naval gunnery. He believes that the low-cost, high-capacity railgun is the most effective adjunct to missile systems.

With unmanned aerial vehicles becoming ubiquitous over our battlefields, why shouldn’t unmanned seagoing vehicles be the next big thing? Three members of the fledgling long-range unmanned surface-vessel industry—Russell Belden, James Hasik, and James Soon—describe how their product, the prototype Piranha USV, will revolutionize surface operations, especially against the menace of piracy.  

After two decades as the undisputed heavyweight champ, the United States is badly in need of a new fighting style that fits the modern era, observes Captain Greg Parker. As military technology proliferates and foreign powers increase their forward reach, “U.S. forces are now within arm’s length of some very capable opponents.” The selective, Cold War–era “sanctuary” approach to the Weapons Engagement Zone (WEZ) needs to be scrapped; the new WEZ is a more amorphous territory, and the Navy must adapt to it—and yes, even embrace the new reality.


This month also marks the 70th anniversary of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor that thrust the United States into World War II. One of the enduring (and often contentious) debates of that day of infamy centers on how much blame the two military commanders in Hawaii, Admiral Husband E. Kimmel and Lieutenant General Walter C. Short, should receive for not being better prepared for a possible Japanese attack. Did they have all the facts and simply make bad decisions? Or were they missing key information that might have led them to take different actions? Elliot Carlson explores those questions in an article drawn from his new Naval Institute Press book Joe Rochefort’s War . Carlson states that Commander Joe Rochefort, head of the U.S. Navy’s codebreaking unit at Pearl Harbor, erred when he assumed the Japanese would behave logically and not initiate a war they could not win. But in the end, he points out that Admiral Kimmel made the fatal decision not to prepare for that possibility.

Paul Merzlak, Editor-in-Chief
 

 
 

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