On 9 August 1798, following his victory at the Battle of the Nile, a wounded Horatio Nelson wrote: “Was I to die today this moment, ‘Want of frigates’ would be found stamped on my heart. No words of mine can express what I have, and am suffering for want of them.”1 Nelson’s problem was not unique. His dispatches and those of his contemporaries are filled with similar complaints regarding a lack of frigates and sloops to carry out the unglamorous but necessary tasks of scouting and communication by sea.
Closing the Presence Gap
The U.S. Navy needs a balanced fleet that includes smaller vessels if it is to exercise sea control in East Asian waters.
By William M. Beasley Jr.