Over the past few months our pages have been the home of one of the perennial naval debates: the value and vulnerability of the aircraft carrier. It will no doubt remain a favorite topic for partisans of both sides of the issue. But a new naval point-counterpoint is gaining momentum: the need for an effective littoral warfare capability. One side maintains that we should focus on what we traditionally do well: blue-water supremacy. Others say that when the time comes that we need to fight in the littoral (and they are certain it will come), our blue-water fleet will be at great risk to anti-access weapons.
In our lead story, Captain Victor G. Addison and Royal Navy Commander David Dominy present two case studies of traditional blue-water navies that got their noses bloodied when they engaged their enemy in the littorals: the British during the 1982 Falklands campaign and the Israelis against Hezbollah in 2006. They conclude that future operations ashore that require naval support will mean securing the littorals, so while we may not like it, we must be ready to fight there.