A destroyer nabs Somali pirates. Helicopters from an amphibious ship deliver humanitarian supplies. A frigate interdicts cocaine smugglers. Is this what these modern, highly capable warships were designed for? Hardly. Every day, U.S. Navy vessels perform important peacetime tasks far different from the naval-warfare missions they were designed for. Forces that were organized, trained, and equipped for combat spend much of their time conducting such diverse activities as sanction enforcement, security cooperation, and humanitarian assistance.1 And well they should. These peacetime naval missions are increasingly vital to our national security and economic interests. They are also increasingly complex and challenging, and fundamentally different from naval warfare.
Let's Get Serious About Peacetime Ops
From protecting the sea lanes to disaster relief, the Navy performs a host of missions that are not just ‘warfare lite.’ Different challenges call for different theory and doctrine.
By Captain Ivan T. Luke, U.S. Coast Guard (Retired)