Although the origins of contemporary naval strategy are often shrouded in the mists of time, the notion of a “bimodal” Navy, whereby the fleet is divided into one force specializing in sea control and the other in sea denial, can be traced to a 2007 article published by retired Navy Captain Wayne Hughes in the Naval War College Review. In his essay, Hughes mostly concentrated on explaining how the U.S. Navy contributed to the Cold War strategy of containment; nevertheless, his analysis eventually turned to the prospect of great power competition looming on the strategic horizon and what that competition would mean for the fleet:
The existing Navy comprises large, efficient ships to project power ashore, principally in the form of air strikes, missiles, and Marine Corps elements. Against China, the need to threaten air and missile strikes will not change, but China has developed the means to attack large ships at sea. The Navy must now explore building a more distributed fleet that is offensively disposed yet can suffer losses and fight on, for no defense at sea can be perfect against a skilled opponent.1
- Wayne P. Hughes, Jr., “A Bimodal Force for the National Maritime Strategy,” Naval War College Review Vol. 60, No. 2, Spring 2007, p.
- Jeffrey E. Kline, “Impacts of the Robotics Age on Naval Force Design, Effectiveness, and Acquisition,” Naval War College Review Vol. 70, No. 3., Summer 2017, p. 4.
- Kline, “Impacts of the Robotics Age,” 7.
- Ronald O’Rourke, “Navy Large Unmanned Surface and Undersea Vehicles: Background and Issues for Congress,” CRS Report R45757 Congressional Research Service, 17 March 2021, 12.
- O’Rourke, “Navy Large Unmanned Surface and Undersea Vehicles,” 19
- On how differences in strategic culture influence assessments of the military implications of new technology see Dima Adamsky, The Culture of Military Innovation: The Impact of Cultural Factors on the Revolution in Military Affairs in Russia, the US and Israel (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2010); and Andrew Futter and Jeffrey Collins (eds.) Reassessing the Revolution in Military Affairs: Transformation, Evolution and Lessons Learnt (London: Palgrave Macmillan 2015)
- O’Rourke, “Navy Large Unmanned Surface and Undersea Vehicles,” 10.