In 2006, following the kidnapping of Israeli Defense Force (IDF) soldiers on Israel’s northern border with Lebanon, the IDF launched an aggressive bombing campaign that would eventually escalate into a month-long war. The ensuing conflict is notable for many reasons, from the pitfalls of “effects-based operations” to the first successful tactical employment of the C-802 antiship cruise missile (ASCM) system against a modern navy. While other sources have provided in-depth analysis of the “July War,” offering a variety of lessons learned, some of the less-intuitive lessons that follow here could inform the Navy’s and Marine Corps’ decisions in designing a new composite warfare doctrine.
Specifically, the events that took place during the 11 August drive to the Litani River offer a concise case study. Even as U.N. Security Council Resolution 1701—which eventually would bring an end to organized hostilities—was adopted, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert approved an offensive to push to the Litani River to secure at least the appearance of an IDF victory.
1. M. Matthews, ‘We Were Caught Unprepared’: The 2006 Israeli-Hezbollah War, Long War Series Occasional Paper 26 (Fort Leavenworth, KS: U.S. Army Combined Arms Center, Combat Studies Institute Press, 2008).
2. Matthews, ‘We Were Caught Unprepared.’
3. “F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, Action Needed to Improve Reliability and Prepare for Modernization Efforts” (Government Accountability Office, April 2019).
4. CAPT Wayne Hughes and RADM Robert Girrier, USN (Ret.), Fleet Tactics and Naval Operations, 3rd ed. (Annapolis, MD: Naval Institute Press, 2018).
5. LT Alan Janigian, USN, “The Navy Needs a Modern PT Boat,” U.S. Naval Institute Proceedings 143, no. 9, (September 2017): 42–45.
6. Another possibility would be a hull similar to the “Minuteman” vessels called for in the Naval Postgraduate School’s 2016 Total Ship Systems Engineering project. See Naval Postgraduate School blog, 11 May 2017.
7. CAPT Wayne Hughes, USN (Ret.), “Build a Green-Water Fleet,” U.S. Naval Institute Proceedings 144, no. 6 (June, 2018), online.
8. Jeff Cummings, Scott Cuomo, Olivia Garard, and Noah Spataro, “Marine Warbot Companies: Where Naval Warfare, the U.S. National Defense Strategy, and Close Combat Lethality Task Force Intersect,” War on the Rocks, 28 June 2018.