Second Honorable Mention, Colin L. Powell Joint Warfighting Essay Contest
A joint littoral supremacy ship—with a well deck, flight deck, and vertical launch tubes—that brings together the gators and the cruiser-destroyer force would extend the combat capabilities of a shrinking fleet and at less cost than separate, specialized platforms.
The end of the Cold War and publication of ". . . From the Sea" have pushed amphibious forces out of the mud and into the spotlight. Without a blue-water naval threat to challenge U.S. supremacy on the oceans—but with plenty of potential conflict and disorder in the littoral regions—the "gator Navy" and the Fleet Marine Force have been afforded the respect and attention that comes with being at the spear point of our most critical naval mission: shaping events ashore.
But even as the blue-suited gators bask in the new-found warmth of the current naval strategic vision, it may be—and should be—that the days of the traditional amphib are numbered. Similarly, the days of the rival surface community mafia—the cruiser-destroyer (CruDes) force—also should be numbered.