In this era of great power competition, the surface warfare community is facing some pretty wicked challenges. Gone are the days when the U.S. Navy sailed whenever and wherever it pleased. Antiship cruise missiles traveling three times faster than sound, “carrier killer” ballistic missiles with ranges of 1,000-plus miles, ultraquiet submarines, and swarming missile boats are but a few of the rising threats on the high seas.
The surface warfare community has come a considerable way in improving warfighter proficiency. It has set up a new career path for young officers to specialize in tactics, revamped the Surface Warfare Officers School curriculum to add hours to warfighting scenarios, and, most significant, stood up a “Top Gun” for surface warfare dedicated to learning, developing, and teaching advanced tactics. But this is only half of the equation.
We are missing the enemy.