Much has been done to address terrorism aimed at fixed installations, but to protect small, transiting units such as the USS Cole (DDG-67)—severely damaged by a terrorist attack in October 2000 while in the port of Aden, Yemen—much remains to be done.
The likelihood of someone challenging the United States to a great sea battle is fairly small. Someone challenging the United States to a tank battle probably is not going to happen in the next ten years. Somebody challenging the United States to a tactical air superiority battle anytime soon probably also is unlikely. But the United States is going to be challenged. The questions are, How? and Where?
What happened to the USS Cole (DDG-67)—or to our airmen at Khobar Towers in 1996 or our two East African embassies in 1998—is more likely than a great naval or tank battle to be the challenge we are going to face. Recently, I served as co-commissioner of the ten-week review on the attack on the Cole, and our experiences and recommendations might offer some perspective.