Respond to High Seas Insurgency
Spillover from the Yemeni civil war now threatens U.S. warships on the high seas, placing the fleet in a state of alert not seen since the 1988 tanker war against Iran. While the 2000 USS Cole (DDG-67)
bombing by al-Qaeda in Yemen exposed vulnerabilities in our Navy, the attack was the exception and not the norm. Insurgents and terrorists rarely take to sea because of the immense costs involved in operating and maintaining warships. Yet 16 years after the attack on Cole, a paradigm shift has occurred. On 9 October 2016, the destroyer USS Mason (DDG-87) launched surface-to-air missiles at two Houthi antiship cruise missiles (ASCMs) fired at the guided-missile destroyer.
This was first time the U.S. Navy used the Aegis weapon system against enemy cruise missiles. In the following days, two more attacks were defended successfully, and the United States eventually answered on 13 October 2016 with land-attack cruise missile strikes against three Houthi radar stations used for targeting.