The days of big defense budgets are over. As the money runs dry, focused maritime helicopter tactics will have an oversized strategic payoff.
Successive Department of Defense budget cuts paired with evaporating supplemental war funding have diminished the Navy’s budget. With these cuts, the service will have to prioritize resources on missions for which it is uniquely suited to protect our national interest. A renewed focus on maritime tactics can help bridge the gap when money is scarce. The Navy won’t be able to afford the gold-plated platform, weapon, or sensor every time, but improved training and tactics will make the most of cheaper alternatives. While each community should reexamine its priorities after 12 years of counterinsurgency land war, no community offers a better return-on-investment than rotary-wing aviation.