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The Challenge: Rediscovering the Offense

New Administration Topic Week

By Richard Mosier

The Soviet Union was officially dissolved on December 26, 1991, leaving the U.S. Navy with no near-peer maritime threat for the past 25 years. The current generation of naval officers has grown up in an environment in which the U.S. Navy has been focused on strike operations in a relatively benign, third-world threat environment. In that environment, the surface navy has focused overwhelmingly on fleet defense and net-centric operations, with little need to grapple with concepts for the offense against a maritime near-peer.

Multiple nations now pose threats that require new consideration of offensive concepts such as distributed lethality. The U.S. Navy now faces the challenge of relearning lessons learned in the 1970s and 1980s when faced with the threat of the Soviet Navy. Offensive naval operations against a near-peer, then, now, and in the future will have to give the offense and the defense equal emphasis. The offense emphasizes the element of surprise that is achieved through deception, counter- surveillance, and counter-targeting tactics. The fleet will have to relearn how to operate in EMCON, with all task force RF emitters in standby, and still maintain the tactical advantage of superior situational awareness.

In the past 25 years, national, theater, and Navy intelligence, surveillance, and targeting capabilities have dramatically improved in surveillance area coverage, near real-time contact reporting, and shore-based all-source correlation and fusion. The challenge is to leverage the impressive capabilities of off board systems to achieve situational awareness when an offensive task force is transiting in EMCON. This will require some sacrifice of jealously guarded institutional equities. It also will require the Navy develop and field shipboard capabilities for the integration of this near real-time, off-board, and force sensor information on surface combatants such as DDGs to realize the potential for superior situation awareness and from that, win tactical decisions. It will require the Navy recognize Information Operations Warfare as a warfare area that requires OPNAV sponsorship and the development of warfare specialists and supporting systems that are essential for the planning and execution of deception, counter-surveillance, and counter-targeting operations that enable offensive mission success.

Richard Mosier is a former naval aviator, intelligence analyst at ONI, OSD/DIA SES 4, and systems engineer specializing in Information Warfare.

Featured Image: RED SEA (Dec. 17, 2015) Aircraft carrier USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75) transits the Strait of Bab el-Mandeb. Guided-missile destroyers USS Ramage (DDG 61), front, and USS Gonzalez (DDG 66) transits the Strait of Bab el-Mandeb. Guided-missile destroyer USS Bulkeley (DDG 84) transits the Strait of Bab el-Mandeb. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class J. R. Pacheco/Released)

Bryan McGrath’s Handy Advice

New Administration Topic Week

By Bryan McGrath

The incoming administration must grasp two things about the U.S. Navy as it assumes power. The first is that the overarching purpose for the U.S. Navy is to guarantee global freedom of the seas. Freedom of the seas is the irreducible argument for trade, upon which both the security and the prosperity of this nation is based. No other element of American military power is as closely connected to the nation’s prosperity.

Secondly, the Administration needs to know that the fleet that guarantees freedom of the seas must be large enough to both deter war and to prosecute it. However, the composition of the fleet that deters war and the fleet that conducts war is not necessarily the same. Our present fleet does not make this distinction, and it leaves us less prepared for both deterrence and warfighting.

Bryan McGrath is the Managing Director of The FerryBridge Group LLC, and the Assistant Director of Hudson Institute’s Center for American Seapower.

Featured Image: SUBIC BAY, Republic of the Philippines (Feb. 11, 2013) – USS Stockdale (DDG 106), a US Navy Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer rests moored in Subic Bay, Republic of the Philippines for a port visit. Stockdale is a part of the Nimitz Strike Group Surface Action Group and is currently transiting the Western Pacific Ocean. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class David Hooper/Released)

CIMSEC DC Happy Hour w/Guest Jim Fanell: What’s the PLAN in 2017?

Lola'sJoin our DC chapter for its January DC-area informal happy hour. We will be meeting on the second floor of Lola’s Barracks Row Bar and Grill for an informal discussion on the latest developments of the People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) with CAPT Jim Fanell, USN (ret.).  Jim is a Government Fellow with the Geneva Centre for Security Policy, having spent 30 years as a naval intelligence officer specializing in Indo-Asia Pacific security, with an emphasis on the Chinese navy and its operations.

Time: Monday, 23 January 6:00-8:00pm
Place: Lola’s Barracks Row Bar and Grill (2nd Floor), 711 8th Street SE
Washington D.C. 20003

All are welcome – RSVPs not required, but appreciated: director@cimsec.org

A Strong Navy for a Strong Nation

New Administration Topic Week

By Bob Hein

The U.S. Navy provides the maritime superiority required to keep the homeland safe, preserve global influence, deter aggression, and win the Nation’s wars. Ever since the Spartans and the Romans put to sea, nations have understood the two fundamental purposes of Navies: secure their borders and protect commerce. The U.S. Navy accomplishes this for the preeminent global power as the nation’s persistent, forward, and ready force. The Navy secures not just U.S. trade, but ensures the international free flow of commerce, enables access to global markets, and assures our partners and allies while deterring potential adversaries.

The Navy and Marine Corps team operates cooperatively throughout the world’s oceans, both as a deployable naval force and from forward expeditionary bases supporting major combat operations. In today’s dynamic security environment, with multiple challenges from rising powers and belligerent state and non-state actors fed by social disorder and political upheaval, the requirement for a persistent, forward, and ready force is more essential than it has been for over two decades.

The Navy provides immediate options for the President and national security leadership to influence and respond to any contingency through a persistent forward force that is both scalable and immediately available. The Navy maintains the most survivable leg of our nation’s nuclear deterrent force and demonstrates American leadership by operating with our allies and partners for assurance and deterrence yet retaining the freedom to act unilaterally.

However, there are still obstacles to overcome. Due to years of reduced budgets, the Navy faces challenges across its three primary fiscal pillars: capability, capacity and readiness. The Navy’s recently communicated realization to refocus on sea control will require new weapons and systems to counter technologically advancing adversaries. The Navy’s recent announcement of the need for 355 ships to meet the demands of the combatant commander cannot overshadow the need to ensure those ships have the capabilities they need from weapons to air wings to trained sailors. The final pillar, readiness cannot be neglected. A fleet without the spare parts, ammunition, trained technicians and operators will not provide the credible deterrence force the Nation deserves. The Administration has expressed its desire for a larger fleet. This will unquestionably provide thousands of new jobs, hopefully we can turn vision into reality.

Captain Robert N. Hein is a career Surface Warfare Officer. He previously commanded the USS Gettysburg (CG-64) and the USS Nitze (DDG-94). You can follow him on Twitter: @the_sailor_dog. The views and opinions expressed are his own and do not reflect those of the Navy or the Department of Defense.

Featured Image: USS San Jacinto. (Photo: U.S. Navy)