This html article is produced from an uncorrected text file through optical character recognition. Prior to 1940 articles all text has been corrected, but from 1940 to the present most still remain uncorrected. Artifacts of the scans are misspellings, out-of-context footnotes and sidebars, and other inconsistencies. Adjacent to each text file is a PDF of the article, which accurately and fully conveys the content as it appeared in the issue. The uncorrected text files have been included to enhance the searchability of our content, on our site and in search engines, for our membership, the research community and media organizations. We are working now to provide clean text files for the entire collection.
The Honorable H. Lawrence Garrett III Secretary of the Navy
Admiral Frank B. Kelso II Chief of Naval Operations
General A. M. Gray Commandant of the Marine Corps
The course may be straight and true for the Kennedy (CV-67) battle group—here, heading through the North Atlantic toward the Mediterranean—but the way ahead for the sea services is rife with change and uncertainty. We must embrace that change, and continue to cover our bets as best we can.
Since the end of World War II, the United States has been the world’s preeminent military power— especially at sea, where we enjoy clear maritime superiority. In achieving and maintaining this preeminence, U.S. naval forces have sailed the high seas virtually unchallenged for nearly half a century. Since 1945, most of the world’s developed nations have enjoyed peace and stability, often guaranteed by U.S. maritime power.
But now the winds of change are blowing throughout the world—from Washington to New Delhi, from Moscow to Pretoria. Events since the summer of 1989 have brought a fundamental shift in the post-World War II balance of power. No longer do we have the sense of certainty that accompanies a bipolar world power structure and a central, agreed-upon threat.
It is time to challenge many of our ground rules and assumptions. Some will require revision; others must be revalidated. We must reshape naval force structure, strategy, tactics, and operating patterns that are wedded too closely to the concept of an Armageddon at sea with the Soviet Union. At the same time, we will deal increasingly with political and fiscal pressures to reduce the national debt—pressures that unquestionably will affect the level
of resources available for defense in the future.
Mastering the post-Cold War challenges will require our full range of skill and knowledge as practitioners of the art of naval warfare. We must respond to new initiatives and be prepared to march in different directions. The old excuse—“Because that’s the way we’ve always done it”— no longer will do. We must work to shape and guide the forces of change in the direction that best serves the needs of our nation. At times, this will be an arduous task, but we have a basic edge over potential adversaries in the quality of our people, whose talent and hard work have given us dominance over the high seas for nearly half a century. We must keep before us one goal: to maintain maritime superiority well into the 21st century—through a Navy and Marine Corps able to meet the challenges of an uncertain future.
Even though we cannot predict with confidence exactly what the new century will be like, we know that our fundamental interests will remain unchanged. The defense of our nation, our people, and our way of life will continue to be our foremost objectives. It also will remain in our interest to contribute to the maintenance of a stable and secure world—a world that will advance the welfare of all peo-
pies, within an environment that fosters economic development and furthers individual freedom and human rights. We live in a world that is more economically interdependent than ever, and we can never afford to retreat into isolationism.
Clearly, international turmoil, aggression, and conflict are not things of the past. Drives for regional hegemony, resurgent nationalism, ethnic and religious rivalries, drug trafficking, and terrorism are certain to challenge international order during the final decade of this century. Within developing nations, dramatic increases in population and growing dissatisfaction with the perpetual gap between rich and poor will continue to be major causes ol unrest and insurgency.
As we confront tomorrow’s challenges we must remember that there are things only the United States can do. As General Colin Powell, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, has noted, the superpower shingle hangs above only one nation’s door. For the United States—a maritime nation—to remain a superpower, it needs a Navy and Marine Corps that can maintain maritime power in the world’s ocean and littoral areas, where this nation and its citizens have political, economic, and individual interests.
How will this far-reaching change affect our national security policies?
- We are likely to face increasing limitations on U.S. access and influence. Absent a Saddam Hussein as a focal point, developing nations, friends, and even allies may be reluctant to subordinate national interests to a broader common purpose.
- Another reality of the new era will be proliferation of advanced military technology and equipment. As major military powers reduce forces and pull back from forward positions, regional powers and emerging Third World nations will accelerate their acquisition of modern combat weapons and delivery platforms. These countries are arming themselves with high explosives, precision-guided munitions, sophisticated air-defense warfare systems, and guided missiles. In addition, regional powers will continue to develop and acquire the technology to pose chemical, biological, and nuclear threats. The widespread proliferation of advanced weapons—plus a demonstrated willingness to use them—will present new challenges to U.S. interests and military forces.
► Finally, this will be a period of uncertainty. Warning signs will become increasingly ambiguous and reaction times will be shortened as the identity and motives of potential adversaries—and the timing and scenarios of threatening events—become more difficult to discern. Instead of simply facing a diminished but still-potent force of Soviet tanks and warships, we increasingly will confront new and diverse challenges to worldwide political and economic stability, from organizations and nations bent on disruption or conquest.
An Evolving Strategy
For almost half a century we focused on the possibility of global war, to be fought primarily on the European continent and in its adjacent waters. To deal with the many changes and cope with the new uncertainties, we must shift the objective of our national security strategy from containing the Soviet Union to maintaining global stability. Our evolving strategy must focus on regional contingencies in trouble spots wherever our national interests are involved.
For U.S. naval forces, this shift—from global commitment against a single threat to global commitment against a number of regional threats—poses a dilemma: What do we do with a maritime strategy formulated during the Cold War, focused primarily on global conflict with the Soviet Union? The answer: We extract the strategy’s enduring principles, and apply them to current planning. The maritime strategy itself remains on the shelf, with Atlantic and Pacific operations plans as bookends, ready to be retrieved if a global threat should reemerge.
In an address at Aspen, Colorado, on 2 August 1990, President George Bush stated that U.S. defense policy must adapt to the significant changes in the world, without neglecting the enduring realities of the nation’s security. The President outlined a future U.S. defense policy based on four major elements:
- Forward Presence .
- Crisis Response
- Force Reconstitution
Deterrence, both nuclear and conventional, costs less than any level of conflict, and will remain the cornerstone of U.S. defense policy. Nuclear deterrence will be required as long as any country possesses the nuclear- weapon capability to strike the United States or endanger U.S. forces abroad.
Around much of the globe, the Navy and Marine Corps will be the primary means of preserving U.S. regional influence. In a time of decreasing availability of overseas bases for U.S. land and air forces, the presence of capable naval forces near areas of potential crisis remains a key element of national security. In addition to contributing to deterrence, deployed naval forces strengthen our ties with allies and demonstrate continuing U.S. commitment to maintaining world peace. If deterrence fails, forward- deployed forces guarantee timely responses at points of conflict.
Since most of the world’s population lives within 50
miles of the sea, our naval power-projection capabilities t will remain particularly useful in applying U.S. military c might at appropriate places and times. Naval crisis re- S
sponse means much more than simply maintaining the j
capability to keep the sea lines of communication open to (
our allies and sources of critical materiel. We must be able j
to project credible military forces rapidly to meet threats posed to our interests, in places where no friendly forces- ( in-being exist.
Having the capability to project sea-based power is essential to the defense of these interests, most of which are t found in littoral areas. To maintain stability, we must be ( able to influence events on land, as well. As noted earlier, i
the reality of declining force levels and shrinking overseas 1
infrastructure means that our naval expeditionary forces r
will have to be forward-deployed and self-sustaining as they project power over or across the beach. In some cases, they may pave the way for longer-duration joint or combined operations, in which forward-deployed naval forces are present or arrive first on the scene to enable the ^ sequential introduction of additional forces.
While our new defense strategy is geared primarily to regional threats to U.S. interests, it also must take into account the uncertainty surrounding the ongoing upheaval in the Soviet Union and Central Europe, and the capabilities of the Soviet military that we expect to remain in place tiuring the foreseeable future. A global conflict with the Soviet Union appears to be far less likely than in the recent Past, but we must preserve our ability to reconstitute adequate forces, if faced with a resurgent global threat to Peace.
Combined and Joint Operations________________
Collective security remains central to U.S. strategy. In tile past, our primary security ties and operations centered °n countries with whom we maintained formal alliances. Such alliances remain a strategic necessity for the nation, but their character may differ substantially in the future. The Gulf War’s allied coalition may be a harbinger of
and institutional ethos.
The unique missions and functional capabilities of the services are intended to be complementary, enabling, and enhancing, and they provide us with the means to generate the greatest total combat capability in the shortest time. Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm will serve as prototypes for future joint operations. During the Desert Shield buildup in Southwest Asia, we demonstrated the enabling role of maritime forces. Forward-deployed naval forces already on scene were augmented within days by two carrier battle groups, a Marine Expeditionary Force, the Air Force’s 1st Tactical Fighter Wing, and paratroopers from the Army’s 82nd Airborne Division. These forces contributed to the initial defense of Saudi Arabia and covered the subsequent arrival of additional ground and air
future security arrangements that will complement longstanding treaties, such as NATO. We must heighten our emphasis on combined operations and training with national forces of many regions—both to facilitate coopera- 1 tion and coordination with them and to maintain our own expertise in likely operating environments.
Joint power-projection operations will be required to protect worldwide U.S. interests. When each service fulfills its respective role, we can capitalize on synergistic capabilities that stem from decades of organizational focus
Deterrence, both nuclear (left, a Poseidon C-3 missile breaks through Florida waters) and conventional, will continue to depend heavily on forward-deployed naval forces. Regional alliances—here, the Saipan (LHA-2), foreground, sails for a NATO exercise with (left to right) Spain’s Principe de Asturias, the USS Eisenhower (CVN- 69) and Italy’s Giuseppe Garibaldi—must remain strong to offset shrinking overseas basing infrastructure.
1 Proceedings / April 1991 ^ -
But as ongoing developments in both the Soviet Union and Southwest Asia demonstrate, it is difficult to foresee ' the course of future events. Replays of Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm certainly are not the only scenarios we expect to see in the 1990s, so we must maintain prudent hedges against uncertainty. Accordingly, maritime forces will continue to be required to establish and maintain the sea control essential to power projection op- ) erations, whenever and wherever they are necessary. Bat- tie space will be more complex. Control of the air, sea, and undersea environments, essential to successful military operations on land, will take on a different character but certainly will be as complex as maintaining control in an open-ocean environment. Sensors and communications systems designed for blue-water operations may not work as well in confined areas, shallow seas, or over land. The threats posed by small coastal-patrol boats, shore- launched cruise missiles, and shallow-water mines will present new challenges to our operators. Quick-reaction
First on the scene for Operation Desert Shield, naval forces (top, an SH-3 Sea King tracks the liquid natural gas carrier Hoegh Gandria through the Gulf) enforced the blockade of Iraq and covered the arrival of the first troops (here, members of the 82nd Airborne Division debark from a C-5A in Saudi Arabia). Gear for the first three Marine Expeditionary Brigades arrived in maritime prepositioning ships within ten days of sailing while a coalition air force (facing page, Qatari, French, Canadian, U.S.—not shown, British and Saudi) flew cover.
units. U.S. Navy warships maintained sea control and enforced United Nations sanctions throughout the buildup period. Naval capabilities, which complemented those of allied air and ground forces, were integrated fully into theater-wide planning before hostilities commenced.
combat capabilities and the ability to maintain an accurate and timely tactical picture will be critical for operational success in these non-ocean areas.
Changing Employment!Deployment Concepts_______
Forward deployment of naval forces in peacetime promotes regional stability by demonstrating continuity of commitment, strengthening friendships, enhancing readiness, and reducing reaction time in crises. Nonetheless, the realities of the post-Berlin Wall era cause us to rethink our employment and deployment concepts.
In the coming decade, naval forces will be called upon to conduct a wide variety of missions: from peacetime situations through crisis to conflict resolution. Many of these missions, such as strategic deterrence and protection of American lives and property, have been with us for years. Others—such as presence; humanitarian assistance; nation-building; security assistance; and peacekeeping, countemarcotic, counterterrorist, counterinsurgency, and crisis-response operations—will receive new emphasis as We focus our efforts on developing and maintaining regional stability.
It is not easy to determine just how much presence may he required in a given region at a given time. It is clear, though, we no longer can rely on the Cold War’s deployment data base. It is also clear that gaps in presence can lead to instability, power vacuums, and regional perceptions of lack of interest or disengagement by the United States, whether accurate or not.
Meeting our presence requirements with fewer assets calls for full exploitation of the mobility and flexibility of our naval expeditionary forces. That means new patterns in length and location of deployments, as well as in the composition of carrier battle groups and amphibious ready groups. The crisis-action and deterrent-force modules recently developed by the Marine Corps are examples of the kind of flexibility that is needed.
From the Korean War until the end of the 1980s we
concentrated our operations in deployment hubs, where American and Soviet interests overlapped at likely points of crisis. The changes occurring in our security environment will require us to break out of these hubs. Fortunately, changes in U.S.-Soviet political and military relations will allow greater freedom for operations in broader, less-rigid zones of national interest.
At the same time, reduced superpower friction enables differing configurations of naval forces to meet specific regional requirements. Recent operations off the coasts of Liberia and Somalia, for example, were executed successfully by a task force composed of amphibious ships, a Marine special-purpose force, and surface combatants. To respond effectively to larger crises, however, we need carrier aviation and forcible-entry power, together with credible surge capability. U.S. naval force levels in and around the Persian Gulf rose from a handful of ships on 2 August to more than 100, following the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait. The force included six aircraft carriers, 30-plus amphibious ships, dozens of surface combatants, and several attack submarines. The Marine Corps deployed more than 90,000 active-duty and Reserve Marines to the region— either ashore or afloat. Concurrently, naval forces continued their presence operations in the Mediterranean, Western Pacific, around the Philippines, and off Central and South America, to provide support to U.S. and allied interests in those regions.
In the future, the need for focused forward presence and credible surge capability—more than historical deployment patterns—will dictate peacetime employment of naval forces.
Changing Force Capabilities and Structure
To meet the demands of our national security strategy, we need naval forces that possess a wide range of capabilities. These must include: sea-based strategic forces, for continued deterrence of nuclear attack; surge forces that can react rapidly to any crisis; forward-deployed expeditionary forces capable of going anywhere, with full logistic, medical, and repair support; and a sea-based maritime prepositioned force.
By maintaining a credible Trident submarine force, we will have a modem, survivable, and potent sea-based strategic deterrent capability well into the next century. At the same time, our attack submarine force will retain the numbers and capability needed to hold at risk sea-based strategic platforms able to threaten the United States. We cannot discount the major open-ocean warfighting potential of the Soviet submarine force, which has yet to experience any downturn in production rates or technological developments. Threat of its use could reemerge quickly, should the intentions of the Soviet leadership change—so we can never afford to cede our current technological edge in submarines and antisubmarine warfare.
tasked on short notice to conduct combat operations—for extended periods—anywhere in the world.
During the 1990s, we expect to adjust the composition of our carrier battle groups and amphibious ready groups routinely, to suit specific situations. Untethered from the earlier predominant concern with the global war-at-sea scenario, we have new flexibility to shape our combat punch to prescribed missions and expected threats. Often, we will be operating with smaller battle groups, particularly as our older surface combatants are replaced by fewer—but more capable—cruisers, amphibious ships, and destroyers. Adding the newest generation of strike aircraft to the air wing, just after the turn of the century, will enhance our capability significantly. But improved capability never will be a substitute for adequate numbers. A single unit still cannot be in two places at one time. We
GENERAL DYNAMICS ELECTRIC BOAT DIVISION: INSET/U.S. NAVY (R. MCROY)
With the Soviet Navy threat reduced, our modern attack submarines and surface combatants can better augment carrier air power, as they did with cruise-missile attacks on Iraq (facing page, the Mississippi [CGN-40] launches a Tomahawk from the Red Sea). Amphibious forces will continue to mix old and new (here, the 30-year-old Raleigh [LPD-1] receives a CH-53E while operating with Amphibious Group 2 and the 4th Marine Expeditionary Brigade in the Gulf).
Preserving our edge does not require a massive building program. Continuation of our current attack submarine force through its programmed service life, together with a construction program to maintain our industrial base for building submarines, will allow us to retain a credible attack submarine force into the next century. Freed from a nearly full-time requirement to train for ASW in far- forward areas, this force now can be available for more regional power-projection and support missions.
Our carrier battle groups and amphibious ready groups are the cornerstones of our forward deployed forces, and will remain so. These supremely independent forces can be tailored to include varying numbers and mixes of tactical aircraft, surface combatants, submarines, logistic support ships, and Marine air-ground task forces. They can be must have enough carriers, amphibious ships, and surface combatants to maintain focused, forward, simultaneous peacetime presence in several regions—along with a surge capability to respond to larger crises.
Complementing carrier air power is the formidable firepower distributed through our modem surface combatants and attack submarines. Major advances in weapons technology have brought longer ranges and greater accuracy in weapons and combat systems small enough to be employed from a variety of platforms, making it possible to disperse a significant amount of firepower. The effective employment of Tomahawk missiles against Iraq from battleships, attack submarines, cruisers, and destroyers is a precursor of the multi-mission utility we must continue to emphasize in the future.
Our need to exploit the tactical advantages and flexibility of distributed firepower with sophisticated, state-of- the-art weapons does not obviate the need for guns and other less-complex weapons. We must continue to distribute all forms of striking firepower among many platforms, to give our war fighters a menu of complex and simple weapon systems of varying capabilities and costs. Longer ranges, complex employment considerations, and a wider variety of available weapons will bring renewed emphasis
on tactics and techniques, fully as important as firepower itself.
Distributed firepower expands our capability to project power landward. But controlling events ashore ultimately means putting warriors over the beach with the capability to do what must be done. The flexibility inherent within the Marine Corps’s force structure of three active (and one reserve) divisions, three active (and one reserve) air wings, and three active (and one reserve) force service support groups—formed into Marine Expeditionary Forces (MEFs)—provides warfighting commanders with a wide range of military capabilities. Our existing MEFs provide a reservoir of integrated combined arms power from which Marine air-ground task forces (MAGTFs) all special-operations capable—can be task organized to execute simultaneously a wide range of missions around the globe.
All MAGTFs are fully prepared to deploy rapidly by a variety of means. Using amphibious shipping, strategic sealift, strategic airlift, or maritime prepositioned ships, these expeditionary forces are light enough to get where needed and heavy enough to win. More importantly, they arrive capable of conducting sustained combat operations. Taking advantage of the synergistic combat capability resulting from the integration of ground combat, air combat, and combat service support elements under a single com- i mander, a variety of MAGTFs can be formed. Each MAGTF, regardless of size, is a self-sustaining, fully combat-capable force able to operate either independently or as a part of a joint task force. Each also possesses the command and control capabilities needed to form a command element for joint and combined operations.
Marine Expeditionary Forces are the Corps’s principal
Proceedings / April 1991
organization for combat and peacetime preparedness. Today, drawing upon the forces assigned to the MEFs within the Atlantic and Pacific commands and Selected Marine Corps Reserve forces, two task-organized MEFs have been committed to Operation Desert Storm. Ashore is the I Marine Expeditionary Force, which because of its size and composition is, in essence, a Marine Expeditionary Corps. It is composed of the 1st and 2d Marine Divisions (Reinforced), the 3d Marine Aircraft Wing (Reinforced), and the 1st and 2d Force Service Support Groups, four naval construction battalions, and an Army armored brigade. Additionally, a MEF afloat has been formed by combining two Marine Expeditionary Brigades and one Marine Expeditionary Unit.
Marine Expeditionary Brigades (MEBs) are designed specifically to deploy by a variety of means. They are capable of conducting sustained operations, and they also are the lead elements for larger Marine expeditionary forces. The rapid buildup of combined-arms power demonstrated during Operation Desert Shield resulted from this capability. Two MEBs deployed by strategic airlift and married up with equipment and supplies brought into the theater by two squadrons of maritime prepositioning ships. In addition, two other MEBs deployed to the region on board amphibious shipping. These forces became the lead elements of the MEFs currently serving in Operation Desert Storm.
Marine Expeditionary Units (MEUs) are forward deployed routinely to maintain influence and enhance stability in regions of interest. Afloat in task-organized amphibious ready groups, these MEUs represent our nation’s on-scene, immediately responsive amphibious power- projection capability. MEUs routinely deploy with a spe-
Marine Expeditionary Units with special-operations capabilities routinely deploy afloat in presence roles, and are often first on the scene when crises erupt—here, Marines from the 22nd MEU (SOC) provide security for noncombatant evacuation operations, from the roof of the U.S. Embassy, Monrovia, Liberia.
cial-operations capability. The 22nd MEU recently was tasked with providing security for the U.S. Embassy and the evacuation of threatened U.S. and foreign citizens and diplomats in Liberia.
Special-Purpose MAGTFs are configured to accomplish specific missions. These MAGTFs are organized, trained, and equipped to conduct a wide range of conventional and unconventional operations. They can deploy by a variety of means and normally are composed of Marines and sailors who are highly trained in both day and night operations, to include raids and strike operations. Recently, a Special-Purpose MAGTF was formed from amphibious forces in Southwest Asia to respond rapidly to the unexpected crisis in Somalia. Two amphibious ships were detached from the task force operating in the Persian Gulf and raced to the crisis area. Four hundred and sixty miles from the objective, two helicopters loaded with a special- purpose force were launched. They were refueled in-flight by Marine aircraft. This force was able to reach Somalia in time to protect and evacuate threatened American and foreign citizens, before returning to the Persian Gulf to continue with its other mission.
Any consideration of conducting naval operations in shallow waters along the world’s littorals raises the specter of mines. In the maritime environment of the 1990s, we will have to be proficient in mine warfare, both offensive and defensive. On the offensive, our P-3 aircraft and Air Force B-52s can carry large quantities of mines over long distances and place them with accuracy. Tactical carrier- based and Marine aircraft also can deliver mines, as part of a coordinated air strike. Our submarines can plant mines in heavily defended areas and then engage ships with torpedoes or cruise missiles, as they try to evade the mine fields.
We have focused most of our mine warfare efforts in the area of countermeasures. Our helicopter and surface mine countermeasures forces are getting better all the time, but we face new challenges as mine technology spreads worldwide. Shallow-water mines, for example—readily available at low cost—are simple weapons easily employed by potential adversaries. In the 1990s, we will continue to explore and develop new technologies, including laser mine detection and the use of remotely piloted underwater vehicles for locating and neutralizing naval mines. Our surface mine-countermeasures force, manned by both active and reserve personnel employing these new technologies, will be a vital part of our balanced naval force.
An equally vital—though until recently less-noticed— contribution to our maritime power is strategic sealift. During the first 60 days of Operation Desert Shield, 85% of all cargo sent into the Persian Gulf theater moved by sea. We have long recognized that strategic sealift would be a critical component of our maritime force structure in the 1990s, and we were ready for the challenge.
Over the past ten years, we have spent more than $7 billion on sealift. Our sealift force numbers 130 ships, including eight fast-sealift ships capable of meeting demanding, high-speed schedules, as they carry vital materi- j als for forces airlifted to the scene of action. We expect to add to our inventory over the next few years.
The current shipping pool is sufficient for scenarios with long warning times, but even large numbers of fast- , sealift ships would be insufficient for most short-warning scenarios. This is why we have maintained three sets of prepositioned equipment and sustainability on 13 naval ships, with each set capable of equipping and sustaining a Marine Expeditionary Brigade. All of these equipment sets, together with the Marines who use them, are now in Saudi Arabia. This prepositioning program proved its worth despite the short warning time and long distances of Operation Desert Shield. No matter what the mode of transportation, however, sea and air superiority are the keys to our ability to deliver materials when and where needed.
Preserving our leadership base is more important to our ability to maintain maritime superiority than any category of weapon systems or delivery platforms. A professional officer and enlisted leadership core is essential for any combat-ready military force. Rebuilding an educated, trained, and experienced cadre of professional leaders takes a great deal of time, and is far more difficult than rebuilding force structure.
Training and education will be top priorities in the 1990s. In a constrained fiscal environment, a well-trained and educated force will provide the highest payoff for our investment. Professionalism will remain our primary force-multiplier. As the threats we face become more capable and more technologically sophisticated, shrinking both battle space and reaction time, we will not have the luxury of a practice shot; we will have to do things right j the first time.
In addition to the appropriate mix of skills and experience levels our personnel force will require in the 1990s, we also will need the right mix of active and reserve forces. As specified in Title 10, U.S. Code, reserve forces exist to buttress active forces in times of war or national emergency, and when other exigencies demand. The value of a ready, trained reserve component is being demonstrated dramatically in Operation Desert Storm. Navy and Marine Corps Reserve personnel have responded superbly, and are integrated into our force structure to en-
hance not only our capability in Southwest Asia, but also °ur capability to maintain presence and respond to crises 'n other regions of the world. We will continue to need the reserves.
Since we now anticipate additional warning time with respect to global threats, we can best use shrinking resources by planning for phased mobilization of those reserves needed to augment regular forces in the event of major East-West conflict. Toward that end, we are transferring roughly 25% of our current inventory of surface combatants, the Knox (FF-1052) class frigates, to the reserves. Most of these frigates, primarily designed for the ASW convoy mission, will be placed in reduced availability (ready for full duty in 180 days), with operating time devoted exclusively to Selected Reserve training.
The Navy of the 1990s and Beyond___________
How big a force do we need?
The size of our force will be determined by the following three criteria:
^ We need a force capable of supporting the President s national security strategy. We must be able to maintain forward deployments and be able to reinforce in the event of a regional contingency. We also must retain sufficient strategic forces to deter a resurgent global threat.
V We need a force that can sustain the level of readiness and response capability required to implement that strategy. To sustain that level of readiness, our ships, submarines, and aircraft must be well-maintained and combat
ready. Sufficient time and resources must be allocated for overhaul and maintenance. We also must afford opportunities for adequate basic and advanced training in a realistic, stressful environment.
► Our people remain the strong foundation upon which our maritime strength is built. We must continue to attract and retain the best of our nation’s youth. To do that we must operate our force in a way that provides our sailors and Marines a decent, realistic quality of life—beginning with stable sea and shore rotation patterns. Current guidelines concerning the time sailors and Marines are away from home port must be followed, even while force structure shrinks. We also must provide them adequate time for maintenance and training. Our sailors and Marines must continue to have confidence in their ships, their equipment, and their shipmates.
With these criteria, we can size our balanced total force for the future at about 450 active and reserve ships, plus three active and one reserve Marine division/wing teams (Marine expeditionary forces). Plans to achieve necessary reductions are in place. We will get smaller in a rational way. And, we remain committed to building a force that will provide a realistic and affordable margin of security
The USS Avenger (MCM-1), lead ship in the newest class of mine-countermeasures ships, reflects the Navy’s new focus on surface forces that can both detect and destroy mines. Here, the Avenger and the older minesweeper Adroit (MSO-509) await offloading in the Persian Gulf from the submerging transport deck of the Dutch heavy- lift ship Super Servant-3, during Operation Desert Shield.
While maintaining our technological edge, as seen in this HARM 2G launch from an F/A-18, the Navy and Marine Corps must ensure that their “people” foundation remains strong, augmented in times of strife by reservists— here, on the hospital ship Mercy (T-AH-19) in the Persian Gulf, guarded by a Coast Guard harbor-security craft— and bolstered by those who endure the long wait for their return, as these Guam (LPH-9) families are now doing.
for our nation.
With a smaller force, we will find it harder and harder to maintain the wide balance of capabilities required to counter sudden, unexpected geopolitical challenges and newly emerging threats or capabilities. There are clearly increased risks associated with a 25% reduction in our naval forces. Given the fiscal realities of the coming decade, a force adequate to meet our quality-of-life goals during routine peacetime operations likely would be unable to support a regional crisis or conflict for more than a few months without major departure from the preferred rotation and deployment policies. High-tempo operations will be even more difficult to sustain. Smaller forces will be less well-balanced will have less surge capability, and will be less able to respond in a timely manner. This will place a premium on early political decisions. We must be careful not to encourage, by untimely absence, anyone who might seek to fill a perceived power vacuum or exploit an apparent weakness in our force structure.
Moving into the 20th century’s last decade, the naval forces of the United States have adapted rapidly to the dramatic changes of the past year—and stand poised in anticipation of changes yet to come. The forces that U.S. taxpayers bought over the past decade have served us well; most will still be with us, forming the backbone of the fleet, well into the new century.
As we anticipate the changes and challenges that lie ahead, our efforts will be focused on several key areas:
- Training and education, because they are our primary force multipliers
- Joint and combined operations, because they generate the greatest combat capability in the shortest time
- Power projection, because it is the key to successful implementation of a stability strategy
- Deployment flexibility, because we must make adjustments to get the job done with a smaller force
- Surge capability, because a premium will be placed on getting adequate combat power rapidly to the scene of action.
We also must continue to ensure that, as technology evolves, we employ it to our best advantage, and have the capability to counter developments by others, if required. The technological gap between our systems and those of potential adversaries most likely will narrow, but we must never lose our comparative advantage.
We must match technology to the battle space of the future, keeping in mind that many of our platforms will spend three or more decades in active service. Low observables, improved weapon seekers, remotely piloted vehicles, netted high-speed computers, and multi-dimensional electronic warfare and command, control, and com-
munications systems are some of the promising areas we
are exploring actively. . .
An affordable technological advantage is essential to successful implementation of our national strategy . The fiscal realities of the 1990s have made affordability an evermore important factor in sustaining our maritime strength. To meet this challenge, we have initiated a top- down Total Quality Leadership approach throughout the Navy and Marine Corps. Our goal is to strive lor continuous improvements, in order to provide the best affordable mix of forces and capabilities and to maintain those forces in a high state of readiness, able to get the job done right the first time.
New developments—as dramatic and unforeseen as those capturing our attention and imagination over the past year—surely lie ahead. But as ongoing events in the Soviet Union and Southwest Asia demonstrate, the future may not be as different from the past as we once hoped it
might be. .
In the years ahead our nation s leaders still will find naval forces just as useful, just as necessary, and just as important as they have been so often during the years ol the Cold War. In peacetime, crisis, or conflict, naval forces will continue to serve our nation and our national leadership through a wide range of roles and military options, from sensitive representation to massive retaliation. They will continue to provide a stabilizing forward presence, protecting U.S. lives and property, and safeguarding the commerce of our maritime nation. They will continue to demonstrate America’s resolve, forestalling or punishing hostile acts, and, if required, engaging in combat.
Naval forces have a staying power and mix of capabilities unique to our nation’s armed forces. Independent ol political access or foreign bases, they have the capability to act swiftly and decisively anywhere in the world— through unilateral action, joint U.S. forces operations, or as part of a coalition of allies.
Future large-scale regional deployments, like Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm, necessarily will be joint-service efforts. Naval forces, complementing and enhancing the capabilities of the other services, will serve as enabling and participatory elements, making possible rapid and effective concentration of the country’s power in support of our national interests and security policies— anywhere.
The task before us—one which needs to be kept in clear focus more than at any time in the last four decades—is to avoid relearning the lessons of the past as we adjust to the geopolitical and fiscal realities of the present and prepare for the future. This future, regardless of its uncertainty, will still require the United States to have a Navy and Marine Corps of sufficient size, quality, and capability to ensure freedom of the seas and the application ol naval power, to maintain peace and stability wherever our national interests lie.