Tag Archives: U.S. Navy

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)

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)

Mercy of the Dragon

New Administration Topic Week

By Joshua A. Cranford

The next administration should be cognizant that when leading the Navy amateurs will think tactics, while professionals will think logistics. As the Navy continues to move toward a technological platform to conduct its operations to ensure global security, logistical consideration for the technology being employed must be at the forefront of policy conversation. Technology employed and developed today by the Navy is overwhelmingly reliant on 17 specific elements colloquially referred to as “Rare Earth Elements” (REE). REE like neodymium possesses unique characteristics like strong magnetic fields that enable next generation technology to be powerful and compact. The Navy is evolving its tactics to compliment the new capabilities offered by REE-powered technology. To support this evolution, higher competent authorities must ensure that the logistics requirements to support REE demands are met. 

In the early 1940s, relations between Japan and the United States deteriorated as Japan expanded its Pacific influence and postured as a significant economic competitor to the west. In response to Japanese expansion, the United States embargoed commodities such as oil and steel to Japan in June of 1941. The Japanese at the time did not have controlling interest on any commodity that the United States required. So following failed economic responses, they attacked Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. The United States ultimately won the following conflict that was quickly turning into a drawn out battle of attrition with nuclear innovation. However, if the bomb had never come to fruition, the U.S. still would have ultimately prevailed over Japan with superior logistical capabilities. America controlled the resources Japan needed to wage an effective war.

In recent years, China has expanded its influence and power in the Pacific and postured itself as a significant economic competitor to the west. China does not rely on the United States for any commodity today as Japan did for oil in the 1940s. Yet the United States heavily relies on China’s 95% dominance of the REE market for economic prosperity and to conduct global security and naval operations. If China decided tomorrow to embargo these elements how long would America continue to prosper and meet its operational needs? What would America’s response be, and how effective would that response be given the compromised supply of REEs? How would production continue on the F-35, Tomahawk cruise missile, surveillance and communications satellites, or the new hybrid propulsion drive on the Zumwalt class destroyers? Such considerations must be factored into framing escalation and hypothetical conflict with China.

HM2 (FMF) Joshua Cranford is a Hospital Corpsman stationed at Naval Health Clinic Annapolis. He has participated with ATHENA and is currently working toward avenues that integrate gaseous hydrogen as a fuel source into Naval operations.

Featured Image: Chinese aircraft carrier Liaoning returns to Qingdao, China after Pacific drill, January 13th, 2017. Comprised of aircraft carrier Liaoning, a number of destroyers, some J-15 carrier-based fighter jets and helicopters, the fleet sailed through the Bohai Sea, the Yellow Sea, the East China Sea and the South China sea. (Photo/CRI)