The course ahead for the Navy of the mid-21st century is still uncharted. The strategic alternative it chooses now will chart that course, for better or worse.
In late 2009 Chief of Naval Operations (CNO) Admiral Gary Roughead asked the Center for Naval Analyses (CNA) to evaluate the characteristics of a globally influential navy and address the “tipping point” at which the U.S. Navy would cease to be globally influential. 1 While CNA suggested that a Navy of fewer ships than today’s Fleet of roughly 285 hulls could still generate a modicum of global maritime dominance, the potential is great for tomorrow’s Fleet to be the “Royal Navy” of the mid-21st century unless current trends are reversed. What could a future U.S. Navy of, say, only 140 warships do?