One suspects, though, that Rickover might not be too fond of the argument put forth this month by Naval War College Professor Milan Vego. In "The Right Submarines for Lurking in the Littorals" he advocates a mixed force of nuclear-powered attack submarines and conventionally powered antisubmarine boats (SSKs). If the Navy is serious about operating in the littorals, SSKs will be vital to that mission, according to Dr. Vego. He sees these boats as an important complement to the nuclear submarine force in the coming era of fiscal constraint, not an alternative.
Submarine safety has been a topic of discussion in recent years as there have been a number of mishaps involving the force. Considering the challenges inherent in peacetime operations, one can imagine the added complications a wartime antisubmarine warfare (ASW) environment would present. Retired Commander Michael Dobbs and Robert Wong discuss prevention of mutual interference and waterspace management, two key concepts of undersea command and control. They offer sound solutions for streamlining these processes.
Troy Bentz continues the discussion of antisubmarine warfare in "Fight or Flight ? " While ASW was always identified as one of the littoral combat ship's (LCS) main roles, the author maintains that the LCS is perhaps the best vessel in the Navy for this task. Its speed, maneuverability, cost, and size make it more survivable against torpedo attack and therefore a more logical candidate to put in harm's way than an Aegis -equipped destroyer.
One of the great benefits of Admiral Rickover's Nuclear Navy is that it reduced the U.S. military's consumption of oil. But today, the U.S. Navy nonetheless is the largest consumer of diesel fuel in the world, while the Department of Defense is still the planet's largest oil consumer. As Lieutenant (junior grade) Douglas Marsh points out in this issue, the time is now, not later, for the Navy to wean itself off its lethal oil dependence. Oil, he notes, is an ever-more finite resource, the use of which entails all sorts of baggage, from dependence on foreign potentates to the natural disasters that can sometimes occur (witness the Gulf of Mexico at present). The Secretary of the Navy's efforts to create and deploy a "Great Green Fleet" could not be more timely, and everything from nuclear energy to alternative fuels must be brought to bear.
Last month featured senior Navy leadership's views on the recent Quadrennial Defense Review . Now, Naval War College Professor Thomas Mahnken weighs in with "Striving for Balance in Defense," his take on what the review did not address as thoroughly as it should have. Namely, what is missing or is simply too vague is our strategy for dealing with potential future threats from North Korea, Iran, and China, while simultaneously winning the conflicts we're already in. It is a delicate balancing act, to be sure. But we fail to strike that balance at our peril.