Friday, April 10, 2015

More Cowbell?

Network-centric warfare isn't our monopoly any more:

Precision weapons and networked targeting have helped maintain America’s military superiority for decades. But technology marches on. New defense exporters are joining the global game with advanced and well-priced offerings, creating potential threats to the U.S. and its allies, and weakening Western influence. The Pentagon has a plan to cope with these evolving threats, but is it enough? ...

The long-term threat involves the spread of precision-strike weapons that can hit what modern surveillance “sees.” ...

America’s surveillance-strike capabilities helped defeat Iraq’s military in two wars. Now Western militaries must plan to face evolving versions of the same thing. Western navies and their marine forces, which routinely place themselves within harm’s reach during deployments, expect that these surveillance-strike capabilities will be more common a decade from now.

As long as our plans to cope with these evolving threats centers on evolving the very expensive platform-centric aircraft carriers for sea control missions, I say the answer is "no."

I wrote that post in 2005, based on an article that the United States Naval Institute purchased from me in 1999, but which they did not publish.

And unfortunately, the debate is usually on differing issues involving the value of carriers in power projection versus sea control roles.

UPDATE: Perhaps I know too little to understand I shouldn't be worried about this development:

Two of the U.S. Senate’s top lawmakers on defense policy are protesting a Navy decision to postpone for as long as seven years survival testing on its new class of aircraft carriers, the costliest warships ever built. ...

Subjecting the first ship, the USS Gerald R. Ford, to “full ship shock trials” would generate data “to validate or improve” survivability, “thereby reducing the risk of injury to the crew and damage to or loss of a ship,” the lawmakers, who are both veterans, wrote the Pentagon’s chief weapons buyer Frank Kendall.

By all means, avoid having actual data from the real world as opposed to model simulations for the most expensive ship ever as we pretend to debate the survivability of carriers in power projection or sea control roles.