In tomorrow’s naval battle, the chance of our knowing the script ahead of time is remote. While planners can make well-educated guesses, history has shown that the enemy is doing the same. Wherever we go head-to-head in conflict, the hope of landing a sucker punch leads an enemy to attempt the unexpected.
We have coined a term for this—asymmetric warfare—but the fact is, there are never rules in warfare that everyone ascribes to. When your opponent is not fighting by your rules, yet knows them well enough to understand how they limit your options, he develops strategies that take advantage of your strengths and your weaknesses. One of our naval strengths has been the ability to sustain operations at sea for extended periods of time. This sustainment comes about from a long-practiced area of maritime dominance—the ability to refuel, rearm, and resupply while under way—and a system of land-based support that includes not only Navy assets, but the global support capabilities of the Defense Logistics Agency and the delivery proficiencies of the U.S. Transportation Command. Without those connections, afloat operations quickly grind to a halt.