Prior to the Civil War, a group of innovative leaders touted the value of steam power for ship propulsion. Facing detractors who claimed steam was redundant to the capabilities of sail, or that the technology would only be suitable for riverine traffic, leaders such as Commodore Matthew Perry and later Rear Admiral Benjamin Isherwood motivated the U.S. Navy to embark on the construction of steam vessels. By the end of the Civil War, the size of the American steam fleet had grown from 28 to 600, and soon thereafter, an increasing number of those were capable of transoceanic travel.1 By the turn of the century, steam power was essential for a modern naval force.
The Time for Lasers Is Now
A new generation of forward-thinkers is needed to bring the power of directed-energy technologies to the Fleet.
By Bryan G. McGrath and Timothy A. Walton