Commander Scott Jasper wrote an enlightening article on maritime patrol aviation's future ("Does Maritime Patrol Have a Future?" Proceedings April 1997, pages 73-77). Certainly, the new weapons and sensors have provided the VP community the necessary hardware to conduct many missions-land attack, stand-off surveillance, mining, and counter-narcotics operations-in addition to antisubmarine warfare. A P-3 junior officer might point with pride to the new capabilities and say, "We can do it all."
With only two deployments under my belt, I concede that my horizons are somewhat limited, but I fear that we might not be able to do it all. We must identify our primary missions, those in which we must excel, then cast aside the others. Narrowing our focus will take courage, for if we voluntarily give up missions, pressure undoubtedly will build to take away money and resources.