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The New Navy Fighting Machine: A Study of the

Connections Between Contemporary Policy, Strategy,
Sea Power, Naval Operations, and the Composition of the
United States Fleet
Wayne P. Hughes, Jr., CAPT, USN (Ret.)
Principal Investigator
August 2009
Distribution authorized to U.S. Government agencies only (administrative or
operational use) (August 2009). Other requests for this document shall be referred
to either the Naval Postgraduate School or the Office of Net Assessment, OSD.
Prepared for: Director of Net Assessment
Office of the Secretary of Defense



MONTEREY, CA 93943-5001

Daniel T. Oliver

Leonard A. Ferrari
Executive Vice President and


This report was prepared for and funded by Director of Net Assessment, Office of the
Secretary of Defense.
Distribution authorized to U.S. Government agencies only (administrative or operational
use) (August 2009). Other requests for this document shall be referred to either the Naval
Postgraduate School or the Office of Net Assessment, OSD.

Naval Postgraduate Contributors to this report are:

Professor Christopher Twomey
Professor Gary Langford
Commander Douglas Burton, USN
Raymond Franck, BG, USAF (Ret.)

Jeffrey Kline, CAPT, USN (Ret.)

Captain Douglas Otte, USN
Charles Calvano, CAPT, USN (Ret.)
Professor Daniel Nussbaum
This report was prepared by:


CAPT, USN (Ret.)
Professor of Operations Research and
Principal Investigator
Reviewed by:

Associate Chairman for Research
Department of Operations Research

Released by:

Department of Operations Research


Vice President and
Dean of Research



This is a study sponsored by the Secretary of Defenses Office of Net Assessment

in which nine members of the Naval Postgraduate School faculty attempt to reflect the
intention of the three Sea Service Chiefs A Cooperative Strategy for 21st Century
Seapower by building an illustrative fleet on paper. The fleets composition
demonstrates the new strategys viability within an affordable SCN budget. The study
concludes with 12 actions that will begin, responsibly and experimentally, to establish the
foundation on which to create a twenty-first century Navy that reflects the geopolitical
environment and American national goals.
Wayne P. Hughes, Jr.
on behalf of the Office of Net Assessment, OSD







COIN OF THE REALM: COSTING CONSIDERATIONS .................................11



$1.5B/YEAR) ..............................................................................................................17
THE GREEN WATER FLEET COMPONENT ............................24






FOR SCN OF $5B/YR)..............................................................................................35



CLF SHIPS FOR $0.33B/YEAR) .............................................................................39



18 OTHER AUXILIARIES FOR $0.2B/YEAR) ....................................................45
THE BLUE WATER FLEET COMPONENT ...............................50


$1.5B/YEAR) ..............................................................................................................51



CONCLUSIONS AND INITIAL ACTIONS ..........................................................57

INITIAL DISTRIBUTION LIST .........................................................................................67



This study is founded on the belief that major changes in U.S. fleet composition
will better reflect the global circumstances today and be more responsive to the goals of
the Secretary of Defense, the Seapower Strategy developed by the three maritime service
chiefs, and knowledgeable members of the Congressional Armed Services committees.
The New Navy Fighting Machine promotes a wider mix of ships, in a more
numerous fleet, with better-focused capabilities, to meet a range of scenarios in green and
blue water environments. The new fighting machine does this within an affordable SCN
(Ship Construction Navy) budget ceiling, because the U.S. defense budget already
dominates defense spending in the rest of the world.
The fleets new component is a green water force of small vessels to fulfill the
three sea service chiefs maritime strategy of collaboration and support of theater security
operations now manifested in Navy global fleet stations. The green water force also
includes coastal combat forces, and additional reconnaissance for the land and sea side of
a littoral. These capabilities are achieved with 10% of the SCN budget.
Although our green water fleet of about 240 vessels is more attuned to the needs
of the nation than anything else we have seen, the composition can be no more than a
supposition, because of the intricacy of the operations described herein. For example, the
green water component also includes an additional 400 affordable and easy-to-operate
inshore patrol craft to help build up the capabilities of some countries without navies or
coast guards.
We do not believe the present U.S. Navy organization will achieve a green water
force, and so our most important recommendation is to create a new command with the
authority to foster professionalism in coastal operations similar to that by which the Navy
developed naval aviation in the 1920s and 1930s.
A ceiling of 10% of the budget is imposed on ships for strategic deterrence,
namely SSBNs carrying offensive weapons, and surface missile ships to defend against
enemy threats. The main conclusion is that within this budget the numbers will be small,
but in a risk-versus-reward context, we regard 10% as a proper ceiling for the Navy
component of what is, in fact, a national strategic force.
The remaining 80% of the SCN budget sustains a fleet devoted to blue water
operations. Defense planning since the fall of the Soviet Union has taken sea control too
much for granted, so we emphasize the forces necessary to maintain maritime superiority.
The blue water fleet is the essential foundation of American sea powers three great
rewards: first, the nations ability to project power and influence from the seas; second,
the flawless, loss-free delivery of forces for every large or small land engagement
overseas since World War II; and third, U.S. Navy popularity among all friendly nations
of the world as their guarantor of safe sea lanes for trade and prosperity.
To give coherence to the blue water fleet, we focus on the manifest interest of
China in maritime affairs, and its growing blue water navy. In addition, we anticipate
formidable Chinese sea-denial capabilities that will threaten to reduce American
influence in East Asia. For Chinaor any other prospective continental peerwe
combine a maritime strategy with a different emphasis in the blue water fleet, in order to

retain American influence over China and reassure our friends and allies in East and
South Asia.
We also show, in rough outline, that the new fighting machine is better suited than
the present projection-heavy 313-ship 1 Navy to support regional conflicts and, if it
should become necessary, to constrain Russian ambitions.
Submarines in greater numbers are central to the maritime strategy, but within a
constrained budget the larger force cannot be exclusively nuclear powered. We find that
diesel submarines with air-independent propulsion not only allow twice as many
submarines, but they also nicely complement the SSNs in the critical scenario.
Because the United States has not conducted an opposed amphibious landing in
nearly 60 years, the new fighting machine emphasizes amphibious lift rather than
amphibious assault. We stress the unparalleled success of national sealift in timely
delivery of ground forces where needed, when needed, and for as long as needed. It is a
national treasure that has received too little attention. We assiduously maintain this strong
sealift component in the new fighting machine.
The study does not eliminate high-end warships, the individual capabilities of
which are unmatched by any other nation in the world. To do so would end Americas
maritime superiority. On the other hand, a Navy of only large, multibillion dollar
warships will result in a smaller and smaller force that cannot fulfill its roles around the
world. Some of those roles, maritime interdiction operations and coastal patrol for
example, can be handled by smaller ships in greater numbers.

There is a danger, however, that the proposed changes in fleet composition may
distract attention from other, equally important conclusions.

The smaller, more distributable ships can free the inevitably fewer
high-end warships for more demanding operations. As an illustration, to
sustain the total strength of seabased air power for reconnaissance, strike,
and sustainment of ground operations, we have recommended a force of
six or eight CVNs, supplemented by ten small carriers for blue water
operations and eight more for green water operations. We believe the time
has come to build smaller carriers to supplement the big decks, for theater
security and maritime interdiction operations. The new F-35B STOVL
(Short Takeoff Vertical Landing) aircraft and the rapidly expanding
applications of UAVs (Unmanned Aerial Vehicles) make this possible.
The new fighting machine is uniquely appropriate to respond to hybrid
warsthose in which we must defeat a states conventional forces when
the state also sponsors or permits irregular warfare with
asymmetric threats.
Large, multipurpose warships are not, as is frequently argued, more
flexible and adaptable than smaller, more focused warships. We
repeatedly found cases in which single purpose warships are superior in

1 See the Appendix for a tabulation of the Navy plan for a fleet of 313 vessels.


effectiveness and for swift modernization. As an example, the green water

component includes 12 gunfire support ships because we believe
embedding guns in DDGs, CGs, or other missile-firing surface ships will
not result in effective naval gunfire support.
A greater number of smaller, less complicated warships may open the door
to new shipyard competition. Moreover, controlling costs and reducing
mission creep will likely be easier in the new fighting machines smaller,
more easily designed ships and vessels.
Experimentation with modular designs, reduced manning, automated ship
controls and communications, new hull forms, and departures from
military specifications is easier, and the consequences of mistakes are less
costly, in small combatants. We note the rapid development in the past
when the vessels were small (e.g., motor torpedo boats, LSTs and other
assault craft, and destroyers and submarines when they were smaller and
Training and career development of Navy officer and enlisted personnel
will be enhanced with more single-minded ships. For example, after 1990,
ASW (Antisubmarine Warfare) skills atrophied in the surface navy
because of its emphasis on offensive and defensive missile warfare. ASW
proficiency will be hard to restore in missile ships. By contrast, the Israeli
Navys training allowed them to quickly adopt new tactics for its highly
focused Saar boats, which defeated Egyptian and Syrian missile boats in
the first significant missile war in 1973, despite their Gabriel missiles
being seriously outranged by the enemys Soviet-built SS-N-2s.
The greatest need for tactical development is in the green water force. The
best way to foster professionalism for theater security and coastal combat
operations is to establish strong career paths in a numerous, focused green
water fleet.
Perhaps most important of all, we emphasize maritime power as the
foundation of present American influence and international prosperity. Sea
powers value is well appreciated by our friends around the world, but is
taken too much for granted by the American public. The United States is a
maritime nation and the United States Navy is its great manifestation.

The study concludes by specifying ten actions that should be initiated today to
begin the needed transition to a new and better navy fighting machine.




Imagine now a strategical system . . . so that the navy will resemble a vast and
efficient organism, all parts leagued together by common understanding and a common
purpose; mutually dependent, mutually assisting, sympathetically obedient to the
controlling mind that directs them toward the end in view.
Bradley A. Fiske 2
In the spring of 1916, Rear Admiral Bradley A. Fiske published The Navy as a
Fighting Machine. The books strengths lay in defining what we would today call a
system of systems for battlewell trained and doctrinally united.
Fiske championed coherent integration of national policy, military strategy, and
operations; the tactics to win battles; and the technologies to build and operate a fighting
machine in which all parts fit together.
He championed the complementary roles of the machine and the people to operate
the machinery.
He championed professionalism through organization and training under
coherent leadership.
These are not remarkable goals, but the achievement is not easy, nor is it easy for
even our most perceptive leaders to know how well they have been achieved. Policy
makers set national goals without sufficient regard for attainability. Strategists build on
the policy with military plans that lead to requirements with insufficient regard for
whether the forces will be funded. Logisticians and tacticians are a brake on unrealistic
strategic plans, but they are not always consulted. Inventors who know how to exploit
transformational technology ignore whether the ships, aircraft, and sensors they are
promoting will fit into the military strategy at an affordable cost.
Fiske is a breath of fresh air because he had seen these failures at first hand. But
Fiske is also a good example because of his own blind spots, illustrating that no one can
design a navy that is right in all respects in the event of war. In the year 1916, on the very
eve of American entry into World War I, German U-boats were already making their
presence felt. In less than a year, Imperial Germany would embark on unrestricted
submarine attacks as a potential war-breaker. Submarines, in their own way, had become
as significant as the German High Seas Fleet, which fought only one potentially decisive
battle against the British Grand Fleet, at Jutland in May 1916. Though Fiske missed the
U-boat War, so did Corbett and Mahan, and for a long time the British Admiralty knew
not what to do about it even as submarine success was unfolding in front of their eyes.
Fiske and Corbett were better in foreseeing the important marriage of aircraft with
wireless communications. They both correctly predicted the end of surface raiders long
before the less astute Nazi German Navy built, employed, and quickly lost surface ships
like the Graf Spee and Bismarck when they were employed as open ocean raiders early in
World War II.
2 Bradley A. Fiske, The Navy as a Fighting Machine (New York: Scribners, 1916); reprint (Annapolis,
MD: Naval Institute Press, 1988), 220.


Fiske and his book are our inspiration for taking a whole-navy approachnot
because we will design a new fighting machine perfectly, but because no one can. We
hope the New Navy Fighting Machine will be useful in stimulating the United States
Navy, to look beyond often expensive marginal improvements to a Fleet well suited for
the past, but one that will be less effective than an imperfect design we believe is better
attuned to the twenty-first century.




With one exception, none of the recent attempts to design U.S. navies for
alternative futures is anything more than a reshuffle of the same deck of cardsa change
in the mix of existing ship types. The exception was done at the National Defense
University for the Office of Force Transformation and included new ship designs. 3 It is a
bold attempt at a new fighting machine, failing only by not heeding Fiskes admonition to
relate the components of the fighting machine to contemporary world events. Here we
propose alternative ship designs (and, to an extent, impute aircraft and sensor designs)
consistent with national goals, and a maritime strategy to accommodate the goals, threats,
and responses indicated for the twenty-first century. We start by noting the changes of
emphasis among the four functions of all navies that have taken place between 1990 and
2010 for the United States. 4


Function (1): Safeguard the Movement of Goods and Services at Sea

Growing in importance because safe delivery of shipping and surface navy

operations in the western Pacific and Indian Ocean can no longer be taken for granted, as
it has been since the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991.

Function (2): Deny Enemy Movement

Also growing in importance. With the expansion of the PLA (Peoples Liberation
Army) Navy, and Chinas growing merchant fleet for trade and oil, coal, and natural gas
imports, sea denial is becoming harder to achieve, but has prospectively greater rewards.



Function (3): Deliver Goods and Services from the Seas

Where the U.S. Navys emphasis has been for the past 20 years, in the form of
massive delivery of combat power in major regional conflicts. The new emphasis adds
noncombat operations, counterterrorism, and fighting irregular wars that are individually
less costly, but are more widespread and frequent than regional conflicts.

3 Stuart E. Johnson and Arthur K. Cebrowski, Alternative Fleet Architecture Design (Washington,

D.C.: Center for Technology and National Security Policy, NDU, August 2005).
4 Discussed more thoroughly in Hughes, Fleet Tactics and Coastal Combat, Naval Institute Press,

1999, pp. 9-11. Some readers may be more comfortable with the American Navys missions that were
conceived in the 1970s. The missions are: Peacetime Presence, Strategic Deterrence, Sea Control, and
Power Projection.


Function (4): Prevent Enemy Delivery to Our Shores

The need of this function was assumed away upon the collapse of the
Soviet Union. Now the existing terrorist threat and the future consequences of ballistic
and cruise missile proliferation both demand attention to secure the homeland.
These changes are also in the context of the two great corollaries to the
four functions:


First, the seat of purpose of naval operations is on land, where people

live. The importance to the U.S. Navy lies in a shift to different lands and
peoplesfrom the Gulf States and North Korea to both anticipated and
unforeseeable sites of interstate war, irregular warfare, and
theater security.
Second, military operations on land are about ownership, but at sea
they are about links. The United States has never changed its view
toward ownership in the past two decades. American military operations
overseas have not been to possess the lands. We have had complex
motives, but none have been conquest. On the other hand, at sea there is
an increasing regard for ownership of oceans and ocean resources among
the nations, which complicates our efforts to preserve freedom of the seas
for all friendly states.







In 2007, the Naval War College Review published a presentation Hughes gave at
the Center for Naval Analyses entitled A Bimodal Force for a National Maritime
Strategy. 5 It reflected the above changes of emphasis by outlining a substantially
different American Navy, the purposes of which were, first, to influence China at one end
of the conflict spectrum, and second, to support small wars on the ground and conduct
maritime constabulary operations 6 in many places around the world. We will
demonstrate that this more focused Navy is the most our national defense budget is likely
to support. Desirable forces to meet all requirements can and should be stated for
comparison, but they cannot be purchased. The paper explicitly asserts that the suitability
of this bimodal force for wars in the middlesubstantial conflicts of the nature of Iraq
and Afghanistanmust be tested for specific future possibilities, but only after the
bimodal force had been designed. We believe the article was well received, but the
fighting machine it implies had yet to be constructed.
Almost simultaneously, the three Sea Service Chiefs published A Cooperative
Strategy for Twenty-first Century Seapower. Criticisms of it took two forms. First, the
forces that would fulfill the strategy were unspecified, and so it was too vague to evaluate
for affordability and implementability. Second, the strategy described was perhaps 80%
5 Spring 2007.
6 Roughly, maritime interdiction.

devoted to worldwide constabulary and humanitarian operations or the support of

irregular combat operations on the ground. This aroused fears that the Sea Service Chiefs
might be expressing a Navy, Coast Guard, and Marine Corps that would be constructed in
proportion to the content of the strategy. No one could appraise the strategy until the
forces to implement it were specified.
Our study conjectures the ships of such a new fighting fleet, in numbers,
construction costs, and service lifetimes, in sufficient detail so that the other components,
including aircraft, sensor systems, command and control networks, and manning, can be
inferred and (not without considerable additional effort) be added to arrive at a complete
American Navy. Concisely put, our new fighting machine introduces a diverse,
numerous, but relatively inexpensive inshore component for frequent theater security and
coastal combat operations, while at the same time creating a more distributed and
affordable fleet for blue water maritime security in the worlds oceans. It is affordable
because it puts less emphasis on fighting large regional wars than in the past two decades.
Except in one important regard, organizational changes are suppressed in the
belief that leadership problems are usually hindered, rather than helped, by such
At the outset, Hughes premised that no more than 20% of the shipbuilding budget
(and hence, in crude terms, the entire Navy budget) should be devoted to conflicts at the
small wars end of the spectrum, despite the frequency of them. Setting aside at most
10% for offensive and defensive strategic deterrence, 70% of the SCN (Ship Construction
Navy) budget remained to influence China as the most important emerging peer, insofar
as the Navy is concerned. The final design herein devotes 80% of SCN to the sea control
(China-influencing) component because we believe the small wars component can be
satisfied with 10% of the shipbuilding budget.

Influencing China: Blue Water Operations

The policy for China is to keep the competition peaceful, while maintaining the
capability to influence her and our friends in the region with a visible maritime
advantage. The same navy must be capable of supporting national policies that shift
between cooperation, competition, and confrontation under different administrations. 7
Chinas antiaccess and sea denial capability against American carriers and other surface
warships is pushing our surface forces ever farther to seaward. Distances of over 500
miles are often mentioned. At the same time, the threat of striking the Chinese mainland
7 For a recent nuanced discussion in policy terms that espouses a better foundation for U.S. strategy

toward China, see Michael J. Green, Asia in the Debate on American Grand Strategy, Naval War College
Review, Winter 2009. For example, Green writes . . . surveying the big strategic books on foreign policy
that have come out this year . . . it is difficult to discern a clear consensus on strategy for managing order in
East Asia. . . . Some authors argue that the world has moved beyond traditional balance-of-power
considerations altogether; others worry that rivalry in Asia means the United States must avoid provocative
actions toward China; and yet others see the emergence of a new bipolar competition with China that
requires more active balancing. (p. 17) Later, Green correctly observes Asia is a maritime theater, and the
U.S. Navy is poised at the cutting edge of each of most of that regions challenges and opportunities.
(p. 26) We are skeptical of the continuity of American policy toward China and so believe the Navys
challengeas the critical U.S. force componentis a fleet with which to influence China and her
neighbors positively under predictably varying policies.

seems less and less valuable as a way to influence affairs in East Asia. We take as the
starting point of a better strategy a grim understanding that a Sino-American war, once
started, will last a long time, with economically disastrous consequences. Policy
documents often describe the roles of the U.S. armed forces as fostering peaceful
relationships, but if peace fails, prevailing with military force. A war to prevail over
China is likely to take the single-minded dedication of every ship, aircraft, and sensor in
the armed forces and, in addition, national mobilization the likes of which have not been
seen since World War II. 8
Fortunately, thinking through an effective and affordable military strategy to
influence China can proceed in open forum, because the outcome must be clearly
understood by all parties in East Asia, and indeed throughout the world. We conceive the
constraints on the strategy to be the following:

The United States will not invade China under any circumstances. Since
both states believe this, American influence must be one that will exploit
our maritime advantage and neutralize their continental advantage. It must
show that a war of any scale must evidently be more disadvantageous to
China than to us and our allies.
We will not conduct a first strike on Chinese territory, no matter how
operationally attractive, because the risk of escalation is too great and also
in order to marshal world opinion on our side. Japan and India are
indispensible allies; South Korea, Australia, Malaysia, and Singapore are
vital; and a friendly or neutral Russia, Indonesia, and the Philippines are
American influence cannot come from threatening the first use of nuclear
weapons. While there are debates about the efficacy of nuclear coercion,
we reject all arguments that favor first use. The robust maritime
capabilities of the new fighting machine are a better way to enhance
American influence in China. 9

8 It is instructive read a pithy article by Michael Vlahos, Wargaming: Enforcer of Strategic Realism,

1919-1942 in the Naval War College Review 1987. He shows, as does Edward S. Miller at much greater
length in his classic War Plan Orange: the U.S. Strategy to Defeat Japan, 1897-1945, that Navy and Army
planners naively thought in the early 1920s it would be a simple matter to sail the Fleet to the Philippines
and repulse any invasion by Japan. War gaming at the Naval War College taught us thatas a result
primarily of logistical demandsthe Philippines would fall before we arrived, and retaking them would
require the mobilization of the Army followed by a war of many casualties in ships and soldiers. By the
mid-1930s, the fruits of over 100 games told us that the American public would not be content with
throwing the Japanese out of the Philippines. Foreshadowing President Roosevelts announced policy of
unconditional surrender, a total war and the utter destruction of the Japanese fighting machine would be
the outcome. Remembering Pearl Harbor, it is a similar total war with China that the first homeland attacks
are likely to engender.
9 For a range of views on adversary perceptions of coercion by threatening nuclear attack, see
A. Goldstein, Deterrence and Security in the 21st Century: China, Britain, France, and the Enduring
Legacy of the Nuclear Revolution, Stanford, CA, Stanford University Press, 2000; and K. B. Paine, The
Great American Gamble: Deterrence Theory and Practice from the Cold War to the Twenty-first Century,
Fairfax, VA, National Institute Press, 2008. That Chinas views toward nuclear weapons may be in flux
only enhances the comparative advantages of the new fighting machine strategy described herein.

Therefore, the seven components of the strategy ought to be:

Forward offense with many submarines, to sink Chinese warships and

merchant ships and lay mines near Chinese ports.
Distant maritime interdiction operations with aerial reconnaissance and
surface patrol craft, covered by fleet forces.
Affordable numbers of small, lethal inshore combatants capable of
demonstrating commitment to defend, alternatively, Taiwan, South Korea,
the Philippines, Vietnam, Indonesia, or Malaysia.
The commitment includes protection of offshore energy and mineral
resources (e.g., in the Spratly Islands and East China Sea).
Satellites and long-range UAVs for scouting and USAF long-range
bombers held ready for retaliatory strikes against China proper if the war
threatens to escalate.
Land-based fighter-attack aircraft based forward in Okinawa,
South Korea, and Japan. Rather than being seen as held at risk of Chinese
air and missile attacks, these fixed airfields will serve as a war warning,
because if Beijing rejects our war at sea strategy, then it must take out
these threats, and we will know China has chosen to expand the war. 10
Hold open the option of putting a large number (say, twenty) of new,
small, lethal American coastal combatants in survivable locations on the
Taiwan coast. (Thirty are included in the green water component of the
new fighting machine.) This is less risky than deploying a high-value
CVN task force near Taiwan to demonstrate American commitment to
resist an invasion, should we chose to do so.

After the types and numbers of the blue water navy have been developed in
Chapters IV through VII to influence China and control its shipping lanes in the western
Pacific and Indian Oceans, in Chapter IX we will demonstrate that the new fighting
machine will also be suitable to serve as a sea control force in other blue waters and
protect the freedom of the seas for all the world.
The blue water navy will take 80% of the SCN budget.

Theater Security and Coastal Combat in Green Water Operations

The other end of the bimodal spectrum of conflict is well described by the
Secretary of Defense, the Sea Service Chiefs, and Navy documents. The shift underway
10 A war at sea strategy against the Soviet Union was explored by Secretary of the Navy Paul Nitze
in the 1960s. It was unsuitable because the Soviet Union then was more emphatically a continental power
than modern China. The Soviets intended to spread communism internationally, but they did not have
enough trade to matter. On the other hand, the Atlantic Ocean was critical to Western prosperity and the
North Atlantic Treaty Organization. A Naval War College China Maritime Studies Institute paper
published in the Spring 2008 NWC Review was unenthusiastic about a blockade of China, because it would
be slow acting and could not prevent logistics by land. The authors, Gabriel B. Collins and
William S. Murray, did not think a blockade was a suitable American strategy against China because they
could not envision a long war. Yet the possibility and avoidance of the destruction of her shipping is
fundamental in Chinas threat perception and many recent actions.

in strategic thinking is with the understanding that the projection-heavy Navy, designed
to support two Major Theater Wars (now Major Combat Operations) in the 1990s, can be
improved upon to enhance inshore operations. These operations and forces are the subject
of Chapter III, and take two forms:

Presence for Peacekeeping and Stability in the Littorals

Such operations are manifested by a Navy global maritime posture in what

are called Phase 0 operations. For the first time, humanitarian relief operations to which
the Navy has contributed in the past are now explicitly included. Such peaceful activities
can be anywhere U.S. interests make them worthwhile, but they cannot and need not be
everywhere at once. The numbers and types of vessels for theater security herein are a
guess, in part because requirements must first be asserted by the combatant commanders
for their areas of responsibility, and second because the stated requirements must be
tempered by fiscal awareness.

Coastal Combat

Fighting may arise during constabulary operations. More likely and deadly
will be when green water forces are called on to punch a secure path through shallow,
cluttered, and dangerous inshore water for land operations carried out by the Army,
Marine Corps, and Special Forces. The blue and green components operating together
guarantee safe access, and the green water component supports the operations ashore
explicitly with single-minded naval gunfire ships, along with air surveillance and strikes
from small aircraft carriers (CVLs). Emphasis in the new fighting machine is on the
flexibility of the green water component to scale to the intensity and duration of the
operation. 11 The Navy capability is, in principle, suited for anywhere in the world. But
the number and scale of land operations is not a Navy choice, and it must be able to
deliver and sustain whatever land operations are undertaken by the President as
The green water fleet component must clear mines, take out the small
combatant threat, and deal with coastal submarines. In some of these operations, the
Navy will continue to operate safely from its ocean sanctuaryconditions we had come
to take for grantedbut in others, prospective enemies can be expected to develop
antiaccess capabilities in which the green fleet will take the casualties so that the blue
fleet does not.
This paper does not refer to Navy responsibilities for brown water
(riverine) operations because we believe the Marine Corps should resume the mission.
Marines are best trained for and attuned to coordinated air, ground, river, and logistical
operations for irregular warfare and constabulary activities on the land. As the
Marine Corps shifts emphasis from amphibious assault and forcible entry toward land
warfare of the kind in which its value is proven, the riverine mission is natural.
We believe the Coast Guard should be the supported service for all
homeland coastal defense and the Navy the supported service for all overseas port and
11 A major lesson of the Balkans, Afghanistan, and Iraq is the difficulty of bringing events to a
conclusion. Even Desert Shield/Desert Storm when our objectives were met was an inconclusive operation.

coastal defense. Joint operations of either service to support the other in a crisis response
is natural, once the Navy has developed sufficient green water competency to share in
development of doctrinal collaboration.
A sufficient green water force need take only 10% of the SCN budget.

Strategic Deterrence in the Twenty-First Century

SSBNs for a nuclear ballistic missile strike and DDGs or CGs for ballistic missile
defense are included in the 313-ship Navy. Therefore, we have included strategic
deterrence as a third fleet component to construct and pay for. The new fighting
machines budget cannot support more than nine SSBNs and nine TBMD (Theater
Ballistic Missile Defense) DDGs for offensive and defensive deterrence.
The force numbers, however, are not properly a decision of the Secretary of the
Navy and the Chief of Naval Operations. The structure of the American offensive triad
and emerging multi-Service systems for missile defense require agreement at the highest
policy levels. But the Navy (with a coherent plan for an affordable fleet) can argue the
case that this national capability must be funded on top of the Navys budget if deterrent
forces must be expanded beyond nine and nine.
Our plan is that strategic forces must take at most 10% of the SCN budget.


Concurrent with broad agreement on the new fighting machines characteristics, it

is necessary to calculate whether its personnel costs will be more or less than the cost of
manning, training, and supporting the 313-ship Navy. Our impression is that:

In numbers, manning 650 mostly smaller ships will be about the same.
In terms of individual, shipboard team and fleet tactical training, the cost
will be somewhat less.
The cost to support recruiting, assignment, and education will be
determined by the outcome of the manning and training calculations.

Here and there we highlight the easier training to competencies for the smaller
and more focused warships of the new fighting machine. But, in a different way, the
training must be just as sophisticated. Examples are (1) the need to prepare junior
commanding officers of patrol craft in the art of theater security and nation building; and
(2) the return to professionalism in warships devoted to mine warfare, antisubmarine
warfare, and countering swarms of small missile boatsas compared to the
well-developed capability to deliver accurate strikes ashore. There is time to change the
training as the new fleet is produced, but only if both the different tactics and new
training are developed simultaneously with the new operational emphasis. 12
12 Two of us had early commands and know both the joys and responsibilities entailed. One of us
commanded a minesweeper as a lieutenant, with the memory that when his sweep gear was in the water this
took tactical foresight because the ship was less maneuverable than an aircraft carrier. The other
commanded a PHM, and practiced high-speed missile attacks, sometimes in shallow coastal waters. Neither
of these seems as sophisticated as the policy responsibilities of theater security operations.

The most important and influential issue, however, stems from modern American
culture, as it is affecting the Navy now and will affect personnel competency of any
twenty-first century fighting fleet. A concise way to demonstrate the coming problem is
with a description of the obsolescent British Empire a century ago and why it fell behind
the competition. The personnel implications for the future fleet should be apparent.
Why Britain was unable to capitalize on her industrial head start . . . is
difficult to explain [but] had something to do with old-fashioned
equipment and vested interest [of large corporations]. While the U.S. leapt
from the oil lamp to electricity, Britain remained in the gaslight age,
largely because of the power of the gas companies. Her coal mines were
becoming less and less productive as the mines went deeper and deeper,
and the mine owners failed to introduce new coal-cutting machinery. As a
consequence, profits dried up, wages stagnated, and the industry became
the seedbed for 20th Century labor unrest. . . .
Britain also fell behind in the educational race. She failed to
educate her work force or maintain the necessary connection between the
scientist and engineer, let alone expose her ruling elite to science and
technology. A classical curriculum for talented amateurs reigned supreme,
and Eton, that spawning ground for effortless superiority, boasted, as late
as 1884, 28 classics masters but only six mathematics teachers and no
modern language or science instructors. Little wonder then that at the turn
of the century one observer was complaining that the best brains of the
upper classes will go anywhere but into industryinto a bank or a
merchants office perhaps, but not into horny-handed manufacture. . . .
With such an ideal as its model . . . British industry was ill-prepared to
survive in a brutally competitive environment. 13
Like Britain of a century ago but for different reasons, American education and
culture are affecting the U.S. Navy. Our secondary schools put less emphasis on science
and mathematics and our universities are experiencing fewer American students studying
technical and engineering subjects. At the same time, our youth is growing up computer
literate, game-smart, and proficient with iPods and other communication technologies.
The officer corps reflects societys trend. What the Navy can do about these things is
limited, but simple awareness is a start. We favor simpler warships with more focused
capabilities, not in all the fleet, but in more of it than in our present all big ship,
multipurpose ships. We believe small ships better nurture tactical skills, augmented by
the judgment that comes from experience at sea, and want less reliance on machines that
purportedly do the thinking, because decision aids have limits and tacticians must know
them thoroughly. The our Navy still enjoys superb blue water tactical training and the
benefits of steaming time unmatched by any other contemporary navy. We still have a
corps of fighting sea dogs who know the connection between tactics and technologies.
We do not think the Navy is in bad shape yet, any more than the Royal Navy, with its
13 Lacey B. Smith, English History Made Brief, Irreverent, and Pleasurable (Chicago, IL: Academy,
2007), 141-2.

fierce gunnery drills and practical seamanship gained all over the world, was inferior as
a single, unified organism to the German High Seas Fleets superior designs and
technologies. Nevertheless, Admirals John Jellicoe and Jackie Fisher both knewbetter
than the historians who condemned Jellicoes caution at Jutlandthat the Grand Fleet
was just one strategic error or tactical blunder away from a national disaster.
The value of American maritime superiority (as we are forced to retreat from 20
years of supremacy) is as significant to the United States today as the value of
Great Britains maritime superiority was in the nineteenth century and through
World War I. There is one vital difference. The leaders of Britain and every citizen knew
their countrys greatness rested on sea power in a way unappreciated by U.S. leaders and
the American public.
Therefore, the important feedback for personnel considerations on ship design is
this: the officers and enlisted men of the Navys new fighting machine must be both
culturally and technologically aware. This suggests simpler designs and a move away
from exaggerated emphasis on large, sophisticated ships to project power efficiently
from a safe sanctuary at sea. Instead, the American culture ofcall it excessive
self-esteemsuggests that for wide-ranging applications, from influencing and
constraining a peer on one hand to transoceanic humanitarian assistance on the other, the
American nation needs a fleet that is more distributed for flexible presence, adjustable
intensities, short and long durations, survival against surprise attack, and which is capable
of fighting in tight corners and taking affordable losses. The new fighting machine
incorporates many simpler and more single-purposed vessels so that the Fleet can
respond more quickly in an unforeseeable direction to a particularly severe threat or
rewarding opportunitywhat has been called a Black Swan. 14 We are arguing against
a Navy with warships so hard-wired that an unforeseen surprise will be fatal, because
our present fleet is an organization of long lived big warships, some programmed to last
40 years in order to amortize their construction costs.
The unanticipated threat might be similar to that of the U-boats in 1915-18. By
definition, no one can say what our Navys black swan will be, but abrupt change can
come from ingenious new missiles, war in space, insidious human or computer moles,
Chinese submarines deployed off Americas coast, or terrorists delivering mass
destruction with an unforeseen new chemical or biological weapon. Observe that we
omit piracy, drug running, and attacks on undersea fiber optic cables. These must be
attended to with more Navy effort than now, but none threaten the American jugular, and
none entail rapid shifts of construction in the way the U.S. Navy curtailed battleships and,
in a few short years, built and deployed 100 aircraft carriers (some of which were little
ones of 12,000 to 20,000 tons), and 1,000 frigates, corvettes, and patrol craft. These

14 A Black Swan, as it is described in the recent book by the same name, is a surprise of great

significance that cannot be anticipated. The basic strategy it describes is how to plan for events which, by
definition, you cannot know will occur. On the bad side, the successful Egyptian missile attack on the
Israeli Eilat was so shocking to the world that it wasif not totally unpredictableunprepared for.
Antiship missiles revolutionized war at sea. On the good side, the collapse of the Soviet Union was a
black swan. Critics have said, unrealistically, that intelligence should have foreseen it. We believe the
important thing to be the skill with which Presidents Reagan and Bush responded, as the West watched the
Soviet Union die.

simpler warships could be pumped out as emergency responses to the unanticipated

demands in the Atlantic and Pacific theaters.
In summary, the biggest personnel issue is not whether the new manning numbers
will be up or down. The vital question is how the officer corps will be educated and the
enlisted component trained to operate the new ships. They, like their ships, must be
adaptive to black swans, unlike the British Empire after it lost its edge, but very much
like its Royal Navy in World Wars I and II, which had kept most of its seagoing skills
and developed new ones.


The question might be asked, does the new fighting machine entail a new
command structure? With one exception and apart from one comment, the answer is no.
The fighting machine can be commanded with the present complicated arrangement and
function neither better nor worse than the United States Armed Forces are now organized,
trained, equipped, deployed, and employed.
The exception is that to endure and prosper, the green water component must
come under a strong, authoritative command that functions in several new ways. The
command is described further in Chapter III, Theater Security and Coastal Combat
Forces. Command, control, and supporting networks for inshore operations can better
evolve from demands by the green water forces as they gain operational experience. The
relatively small and affordable ships and other components mask the complexity of
inshore operations, and the intricate relationships with coalitions, emerging Third World
states, the Marine Corps, Special Forces, the specialized basing and support structure, and
indeed the blue water navy itself, which by comparison has a relatively well-developed
C2 (Command and Control) system.
The single comment is found at the beginning of Chapter X. In the name of
coordination, cooperation, and efficiency, the present defense organization is populated
with many offices and organizations that are a drag on every major decision in ways that
Bradley Fiske could scarcely imagine in 1916 when he advocated The Navy as a
Fighting Machine. Therefore, with few exceptions, the ten actions recommended in
Chapter X to begin the transition to a Navy suited for the Sea Services Strategy for the
twenty-first century leave unsaid who is responsiblewho has the authorityto take
them. It is a problem we can state, but cannot solve.




Many studies in the last five years have demonstrated that a 313-ship Navy cannot
be sustained with the current shipbuilding budget (SCN) of around $11B-$12B per year.
Some studies assert that $20B-$25B of SCN will be needed. 15 For constructing the new
fighting machine, an annual SCN of $15B (in current dollars) has been assumed. Upon
close examination of its structure and costs, it is easy to see that amount as a floor for the
Secretary of the Navy and Chief of Naval Operations to defend forcefully.
Because they have been much studied recently, ships in the force and the annual
procurement budget to maintain them in the steady state will be the coin of the realm.
We premise SCN is a roughly accurate proxy that can be scaled into APN, WPN, OPN
and other accounts to arrive at a total Navy budget each year. We further premise that
numbers of ships will roughly govern other capabilities: manned and unmanned aircraft,
sensors and the links with shooters, missiles and other ordnance. These assumptions will
have to be checked, but that can be done in parallel with the construction and introduction
of the new fleet components.
As to manning, a reasonable question already introduced is whether a new fleet of
about 650 ships and 400 more inshore craft can be manned with the same or fewer
personnel than the 313-ship Navy. Some sealift and prepositioning ships can be manned
with skeleton crews until employed to deliver and sustain forces overseas. We believe
there are enough billet savings from big ships eliminated to achieve this, but the
calculations must be made.
The fleet must be operated. An aircraft carrier is only a mobile airfield without
aircraft, and its manned aircraft cost about 70% of the cost of the ship. More serious, the
air wings operating cost each year is about 10% of its aircraft procurement cost, whereas
a warships operating cost is only 4%-5% per year. The significance of life-cycle costs of
aircraft carriers as a complete system will be further discussed in Chapter IV: Sea Based
Air Operations.
The procurement cost of 24 Trident missiles with multiple warheads in an SSBN
is substantial, too, but the missiles annual operating cost is virtually zero. Our blue water
fleet includes 20 land attack missile ships, miniature Arsenal Ships. The 50 missiles
each ship carries cost only about a quarter of the land attack ships cost, and the annual
missile operating cost is trifling. 16
In summary, our study is more sensitive to whether SCN is a suitable proxy for
total Navy costs than other recent ones that concentrated exclusively on ship
procurement. The relationships can be more fully examined while the new fighting
15 The studies of Navy SCN are well known and almost too numerous to mention. A good summary of
three, by the Center for Naval Analyses, the Center for Budgetary and Strategic Assessment, and by NDU
is contained in Ronald ORourke, Naval Force Structure: Alternative Force Structure Studies of 2005
Background for Congress, Congressional Research Service, April 9, 2007. ORourke has covered the Navy
in SCN terms in a series of appraisals, for example, Potential Navy Force Structure and Shipbuilding
Plans: Background and Issues for Congress, updated March 30, 2005, CRS.
16 In contrast, the Arsenal Ship promoted by Admiral Mike Boorda when he was CNO was expected
to carry 500 missiles, which had more investment value than the ship itself.


machine is being built, but some decisions ought to be taken immediately to get started.
The most important ones are listed as actions in Chapter X.


It may seem strange to count ships that include CVNs as large as 100,000 tons full
load displacement side-by-side with theater security patrol craft as small as 100 tons. If
carrying capacity was the standard, a ship count would be grossly misleading. But
Secretary of Defense Robert Gates put the true worth of the American Navy in better
context in a speech on 1 October 2008. He said the U.S. Navy has shrunk in numbers too
much, but in tonnage the battle fleet is larger than the next thirteen navies combined.
The Navy has focused on large warships because we have been operating for
nearly 20 years from a safe maritime sanctuary, while exploiting the large warships
advantage of economy of scale when delivering combat power without interference. (A
rule of thumb is that capacity increases with the cube of a ships length, while its
construction cost increases as the square of its length. Thus, the advantage of the
100,000-ton ship over the 100-ton shipusing the carrying capacity per unit cost as a
measure of effectivenessis a factor of ten.) However, increasingly today capability
must take into account vulnerability. An enemy will devote a great deal more effort to
incapacitate a CVN than to sink a little coastal combatant. In addition, in a navy with
responsibilities in many places around the world, some of themas we have seen, lasting
a long time, but with varying degrees of intensitymust include in a capability
assessment the fleets distributability and flexibility to expand or shrink its operational
intensity. Force capability is not easily calculated, but it is a much richer representation of
value than mere carrying capacity. 17
In a new study, Robert Work points out the inconsistency of describing a new
Cooperative Strategy for 21st Century Seapower, while undercounting the small vessels
that contribute to green water operations. 18 Moreover, not all the ships of a new fighting
fleet are warships. Some MPFs (Maritime Prepositioning Ships) are counted as fleet
elements, but not all of them, 19 and none of the 68 ships of the strategic sealift fleet
operated by the Military Sealift Command are counted. As Work points out, they
provide a ready pool of sealift ships [that is] an enormous competitive advantage in the
17 Around 1998, Hughes drew from a study done by the Center for Naval Analyses to quantitatively
demonstrate for CINCUSNAVEUR what had happened to ships employments for crisis responses in his
AOR (Area of Responsibility) after the fall of the Soviet Union. With 40% fewer ships, CINCUSNAVEUR
had to deal with more crises annually after 1990 than he had done in the previous decade. Worse still, the
duration of the crises requiring some level of Navy presence was a factor of ten greater than when the
Soviet Union was our principal concern. The situation was worse for CINCPAC, who was responsible for
the Indian Ocean and Pacific. It was an eye-opening demonstration of the need for a more distributed
capability. Sometimes the full weight of a carrier strike group was required in the Adriatic, but at other
times a smaller number of aircraft would have sufficed, and for some operations (e.g., maritime interdiction
and patrol), these often could have been dealt with by much smaller, but nonexistent, patrol vessels.
18 Robert O. Work, The US Navy: Charting a Course for Tomorrows Fleet (Washington, D.C.: Center
for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments, 2008).
19 The Navy counts 14 MPF (Maritime Prepositioning Force) ships carrying Marine equipment, but
Work points out there are also ten with Army equipment and seven carrying equipment of other services or
agencies. Op cit., 59.


transoceanic movement of equipment, supplies, ammunition, and bulk fuel to all ground
forces operating forward. His CSBA (Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments)
study says today the actual number of ships for theater security and to deliver and sustain
operations overseas is not 280, but 423this number not including deployable units of
SEALs and the Naval Expeditionary Combat Command that have over 250 more small
craft. 20 Moreover, the Commandant of the Coast Guard is coauthor of the Cooperative
Strategy, but Coast Guard ships are not counted. Additionally, the substantial number of
additional vessels operated by the Army should be included. Part of the value of Bob
Works broader, well-founded assessment is to point out that there is a large non-SCN
cost of the other ships that serve the national interest overseas.
Frequently we will refer to the target Navy force of 313 ships for comparison with
the new fighting machine. We might have used the present force of 280 warships as the
baseline, but an even more appropriate comparison would be between the 650 vessels in
the new fighting machine (not including 400 more small craft) with the current 423
vessels in Works count (not including 250 small craft). Some SCN costs for
amphibious lift and the delivery and sustainment of Army, Marine, and Special Forces
overseas are not, at present, costs to the Navy.


Preserving the industrial base for an abrupt expansion is a DoD (Department of

Defense) obligation. The industrial base does not appear explicitly in designing the new
fighting machine, but an awareness of the need for competition and greater cost controls
is implicit everywhere.
Building large, multipurpose ships is a sure way to guarantee that construction
goes to two or three shipyards and cost growth is masked by desirable new
requirements. An electronic suite competitive against the capabilities of all nations will
be hedging against many who will be our allies, coalition members, or neutral. The more
numerous fleet has both tactical (survivability) and operational (distributability)
advantages. With regard to the industrial base, smaller ships with more focused military
purposes also have the third advantage that it is easier to control cost when designing for
one primary purpose. For example, it is easierand advantageousto modify Navy
military specifications and compromise on habitability standards in small ships intended
for short-duration green water operations. If mistakes are made using commercial
products, or low-cost solutions for berthing, messing, physical fitness, and office space,
these can be made up off-board the way we do with submarine tenders when habitability
standards are waived in submarine designs.
The Navy would be wise to experiment first with small warship designs in which
a failure is no disaster. Experimentation can be risked and mistakes made with smaller,
more affordable designs that cannot be tolerated in an Aegis destroyer, a DDG-1000, or
an aircraft carrier like CVN-21. Experimentation with automation and reduced manning,
along with determining the balance between on- and off-board training and maintenance,
is better conducted in small, single-purpose designs. Possible solutions to the mismatch
between service life and fast-advancing information technologies for combat equipment
20 Work, op cit., 59, Figure 4.


illustrates why experiments should be tried first in green water warships, such as what the
LCS might have been.
Here is an illustration of design experimentation with a happy ending. It is the
story of the Treaty Cruisers built under terms of the 1921 Washington Naval
Disarmament Treaty. During the 1920s and 1930s, heavy cruiser standard displacement
of 10,000 tons was the limiting design factor instead of construction costs. Four classes
were designed and built under the treaty, in 1925, 1927, 1929, and 1931-34, each
successive class being obviously superior to the previous one. How much superior was a
hotly debated question answered in World War II. The first two, supposedly much
inferior, ships of the Pensacola class saw as much action as any cruisers, were repaired
after battle damage, and survived the war. Looking at the 15 supposedly much improved
later cruisers built under treaty limitations, sevenalmost halfwere sunk. Our
impression is that the effectiveness of USS Pensacola and Salt Lake City was about 90%
that of the culminating seven-ship USS Astoria class, three of which were destroyed in
the Battle of Savo Island in about 15 minutes. Equally important, when the treaty terms
were lifted in 1936, we were ready with the design for 17 more heavy cruisers of the
magnificent USS Baltimore and Oregon City classes. All were ordered by July 1940 and
commissioned before the end of the war. None were sunk.
In peacetime we try too hard for a perfect design. If a ship costs a billion dollars
or more, then there is merit in trying to build a good one, but observably what happens is
a reluctance to experiment. Like the first treaty cruisers, LCS must not be regarded as a
design failure, but as a technological, tactical, and training test bed. The fact that it is
suited well neither as a blue water or green water combatant can be useful. On one hand,
it can help to design a better armed, less costly blue water frigate. On the other, LCS
shows what not to do to develop affordable green water designs to perform inshore patrol
missions, clear mines, defeat small missile boats, and screen against coastal submarines.
In summary, protecting the industrial base will be easier with a more distributed
capability. More shipyards can compete and innovative designs can be explored
sequentially in smaller warships. Technology advances can be adopted more quickly in
ships with more focused missions. Large multipurpose warships with 30- and 40-year
lifetimes (to amortize their construction cost) are harder to keep current. Cost discipline is
harder to impose. In multipurpose warships, all capabilities must be kept current with
long, expensive shipyard overhauls. Even worse, sometimes a class of warships
degenerates to one of limited military value for any mission, as has happened with the
FFGs. In the time it takes to design, fund, construct, and shake down a multipurpose,
supposedly flexible, warship, new technologyfor missile offense and defense,
networked systems, naval gunfire support, inshore combat, and autonomous vehicles
will have already made them obsolescent.


Four ground rules for the transition to the new fighting machine are established:

Do not decommission existing ships that have service life remaining,

notably CVNs, CGs, LHAs, LHDs, LPDs, and SSGNs.

Build all ships not in the new fleet that have already been funded, notably
LHA-6 and LHD-8, two DDG-1000s, and a squadron of LCSs.
Adapt to new circumstances. The new fighting fleet is todays end point.
While the transition is underway, the end point must be modified as the
world changes, or with the aspirations of successive Presidential
Discipline big warship designs and acquisition costs, but experiment freely
with the smaller, less expensive green water designs and demand swift,
cost-conscious, evolutionary improvements.








Theater security and coastal combat need more emphasis if the Navys
own strategic concepts are to be fulfilled.
A natural suspicion is that a bimodal navy is an unconnected navythat
the blue and green components will be separately conceived, developed,
and operated. On the contrary, extraordinary attention is paid to
integrating the green fleet into the new fighting machine in vital,
overlapping ways, connecting the new green component to blue doctrine,
tactics, training, and procedures.
The green water fleet is as intricate in its variety of missions and is as
operationally complex as the blue water fleet. Its vessels are nearly as
numerous, but on a smaller scale in terms of manning and firepower.
The Secretary of the Navy, who is empowered to organize, train, and
equip the Navy, should create an organization specifically to develop a
complete green water force to match the three sea service commanders
strategy document.


Early in the twentieth century, the introduction of the torpedo and mine pushed
the battleships domain to seaward. Starting with the Russo-Japanese War and
culminating in World War I, battleships and other surface warships were sunk in
significant numbers off enemy coasts. The modern analog to the first wave of submarine
and mine attacks is the missilenot as lethal in terms of sinkings, but equally fatal in
terms of a firepower kill. We will provide a detailed description of ASCM (antiship
cruise missile) performance in Chapter VII: Surface Combatants, although it is relevant
here as well, since the foundation of understanding twenty-first century littoral warfare
starts with the missile threat from the land or fast attack craft.
Experimentation with green water vessels is cheaper, faster, and more tolerant of
mistakes. Improved designs should emerge rapidly and at affordable costs. Review of
American PT boat and British MGB and MTB development in World War II shows rapid
improvements in successive classes. American development of riverine forces in the
Vietnam War was not as fast, and those familiar with the designs and operations have
been critical of them, but Vietnam history also shows how swift the learning process can
be, once a dedicated command is established for green and brown water operations.
But when the wars were over, the organizations were veritably disestablished.
Officers and men saw no professional future in small combatants and the capability was
subordinated to what was familiar to themopen ocean operations.

We regard the green water fleet constructed herein for theater security and
coastal combat to be representativeand better than anything done before nowbut it is
anything but definitive. This is because the responsibilities and capabilities for green
water operations are, in some respects, more complicated than those of the blue water
Navy, but in miniature. We believe a dedicated organization is necessary, and if
accompanied by modest, but sufficient, funding (by means of what should properly be
conceived as a planning wedge), the establishment of this permanent organization is the
single most important recommendation contained in this study to bring the new fighting
machine into existence. Despite its disproportionately small cost, success must come
from close attention by the Chief of Naval Operations (CNO) and the Fleet Forces
Commander. It hardly seems necessary to note the need for extensive interfaces and
connections with the United States Coast Guard (USCG), the blue water navy, the other
Serviceswith emphasis on the Marine Corps and USSOCOMthe State Department,
NGOs (Nongovernment Organizations), and each theater COCOM for coordination with
all deployed forces operating on both the land and sea sides of the littoral.
The NECC as a Type Commander is a suitable foundation on which to build.
USSOCOM is a flawed model because the Coastal Command must be within the Navy
and subordinate to the CNO for designing, equipping, and manning it. The best analogy
is the authority, responsibility, and funding that the early naval aviation community
enjoyed to speed its development in the 1920s and 1930s.
We have framed the Green Water Design Plan (Figure 1) in anticipation of two
other desirable changes to authority and responsibility.
The first restores responsibility for riverine warfare to the Marine Corps as a
natural core capability. Marines have been expert at constabulary and riverine operations
over many years. Control of rivers, while powerful in its effects, is accomplished not so
much by patrolling the waters, deltas, and estuaries as it is by coordinated land, water,
and air operations, accompanied by appropriate C2 systems and exploitation of
waterways for suitable logistical support and great tactical mobility.
The second change assigns responsibility for domestic anti-intrusion operations to
the USCG as the supported command and for overseas maritime interdiction and port
security to the Navy as the supported command, but with new doctrine for one
component to support the other. 21

Global Fleet Stations and Fleet Station Ships

Global fleet stations are a shift in Navy organizational thinking. A central

component is a station ship. Analysis at the Naval Postgraduate School (NPS)
demonstrates that the present employment of LHAs and LHDs fulfills the need, but in an
expensive way. The same analysis showed that a new design by Mark Campbell of
21 The doctrinal connections go far beyond crisis response. Based on many efforts at NPS funded by
the Department of Homeland Security and other agencies such as MARAD (Maritime Administration)
within the Department of Transportation, as well as a recent, major NPS faculty-student project, it is easy
to show, for example (1) the Navy has no desire to abandon its naval base protection in the United States,
and (2) cooperative development of underwater search and neutralization technology must continue
because it contributes both domestically and overseas. The devil is truly in the details, as is the case with
many things associated with domestic and overseas coastal operations and port security.


NAVSEA (Naval Systems Command) at $150M per ship, though less comprehensive,
was adequate and could be built for a fraction of the cost of a new LPD. We have
allocated funds for 12 ships at $250M each. Twelve is enough to maintain one on each of
four global fleet stations, with a reserve for surges.

Coastal Combatant Flotilla

The coastal combatant is not a patrol vessel for theater security operations. It is a
small fighting vessel intended to clear out the clutter of enemy or neutral vessels in
littoral waters. The afloat clutter may be swarms of enemy small craft, fast attack craft
carrying surface-to-surface missiles such as the Chinese 220-ton Houbei class, and
fishing boats and coastal traders that might serve as reconnaissance posts in a targeting
system. Coastal combatants are heavily armed, but small enough to accept affordable
losses. They should operate in tactical formations of two, four, eight, or twelve vessels.
They carry no surveillance aircraft, so depend on CVLs or shore-based reconnaissance.
They have small crews in combat and when put out of action the crew is expected to
abandon, rather than try to save, the ship, and to be rescued by other vessels. They might
team with friendly forces in constricted waters where the large blue water ships should
not be put at risk, for example, operating from Turkey or Romania in the Black Sea, from
Sweden or Denmark in the Baltic, from Saudi Arabia or Kuwait in the Arabian Gulf,
from the west coast of South Korea in the Yellow Sea, or Colombia or Panama in
the Caribbean.
They can serve as an advance force to screen blue water ships conducting
amphibious operations, or protecting MSC (Military Sealift Command) or MARAD ships
delivering men and materials that might be attacked while entering a friendly port.
An impediment to accepting coastal combatants is logistical support when they
are designed for short-range, short-duration sorties. We have provided for two tenders to
support up to ten vessels each when shore basing is absent. Getting to the scene of
operations cannot be swift, implying anticipation of the locales of combat operations and
forward basing.
This is the streetfighter concept espoused by the then-VCNO,
Admiral Don Pilling. As President of the Naval War College, Vice Admiral
Arthur Cebrowski sponsored a study by Systems Engineering Analysis students at NPS to
design such a coastal combatant. For authenticity, the project was led by
Professor Charles Calvano, who is a retired Navy captain and experienced naval
architect. The students also included those in the Total Ship Systems Engineering
program. Although the term streetfighter is no longer popular, the name is apt and the
need should be evident. The NPS design, called a SeaLance, is a 600-ton,
wave-piercing catamaran carrying many dual-purpose, short-range, surface-to-surface
missiles, four Harpoons, and a gun with a high rate of fire. For survival, the SeaLance
depends on speed, maneuverability, hard and soft kill point defense, small size, and
tactically proficient formations in suitable numbers. At the time of the study in 2002, it
was costed at $60M. Table 1 provides for 30 coastal combatants costing $100M each.
The combat crew of SeaLance is 12, but it has berthing for about 25 for training, to
transport SEALs, or to embark a small staff. The design philosophy was that the coastal
combatants would go in harms way, and be prepared to accept losses while achieving

littoral water superiority, in order to prevent losses to blue water warships and large
delivery vessels entering port. For further details, see Hughes, Twenty-two Questions
for Streetfighter, Naval Institute Proceedings, February 2000.
The SeaLance does not exist and it might be regarded as too transformational for
the new fighting machine. A suitable, existing model with which to gain experience is the
stealthy Swedish Visby. Visby depends on its low-observability for survival more than
does SeaLance. Another detraction is Visbys likely price of $220M, but there are other
possibilities in the worlds navies, most of which are intended for coastal
combat operations.
In order to keep the vessels small and lethal, no manned or unmanned aircraft are
carried. At the time SeaLance was conceived, aerial surveillance was postulated to come
from CVNs or LHAs standing farther off shore until the waters were safe.
Admiral Cebrowski was so pleased that he commissioned another SEA (Systems
Engineering Analysis) curriculum study at NPS to design a small aircraft carrier to
comprise the air side of independent coastal task forces.

Gunfire Support Ship

These are single-purpose ships carrying two of the best guns available for naval
gunfire support (NGFS), such as an advanced gun system (AGS), with 2,000 rounds,
precise navigation, countermine underwater search, and evolved sea sparrow missiles
(ESSM) combined with softkill defense at short range. The Gunfire Support Ship need
have only a small surface search radar (because it will operate in company), no stealth
properties (because it will reveal its position in action), and no sonar or ASW
(antisubmarine warfare) ordnance (as a cost-saving measure). Hull size will be
determined by the minimum space and sturdiness required for two guns and their
ammunition, which in turn will determine what form of UAV for reconnaissance it
may carry.
Littoral warfare operations ashore can be greatly enhanced by the low cost, high
volume, and overall efficiency of naval weaponry over aerial bombing or land attack
missiles. When in range, the ships are also superior to land-based artillery, which has a
large support tail.
Guns in CGs and DDGs are ill-matched because their land attack missiles reach
deep inland but must be fired safely from their maritime sanctuary, which is now
sometimes 100 miles or more offshore. Missiles are expensive and so best suited for
select, fixed, high-value targets to complement the Gunfire Support ships that produce
rapid, high-volume fire in support of the battlefield.
If railgun technology matures, then future gunfire support ships could be built to
carry it in relatively short order. With suitable guidance, high kinetic energy at impact,
and delivery on targets at a range of 50-75 miles in a few seconds, a railgun would be a
highly suitable improvement over traditional naval artillery. We think railgun technology
is a challenge. Our points are that NGFS is an important responsibility of the Navy and if
and when any new technology has been demonstrated, swift introduction is unlikely
without a force component dedicated to the mission, the value of which was amply
demonstrated in the European and Pacific theaters of World War II, in Korea at the Pusan
perimeter, Inchon, and Hungnam, and repeatedly during the long Vietnam War. A rail

gun promises to have most of the well-known characteristics of afloat weapons in support
of ground operations:

a large volume of inexpensive fire;

rapid precise fire at unseen, over-the-horizon targets; and
near-instantaneous response to call for fire.

Meanwhile the AGS, or any other well-designed shipboard weapon, is so much a

vital component of the green water navy that a single purpose ship should have
the responsibility.

Aerial Scouting, Attack, and Logistics Support

All green water operations need an air component, especially for search. We urge
development of a CVL specifically designed for STOVL, UAV, and VTOL operations. It
will be most useful if the design doubles for blue water operations, but we wont know
whether this is possible until the carrier is designed, built, and tried out at sea. Again,
evolutionary designs will be desirable, but the first ones will still be useful as
improvements are constructed. A detailed discussion of the light aircraft carrier (CVL)
will be found in Chapter IV.
The C2 and networks that tie many ships and serve many functions from
collaborative Phase 0 operations up to intense wartime cooperation with the blue navy
can be developed as the coastal fleet is deployed and operational experience gained.

Delivery and Sustainment of Green Water Vessels

We find the delivery of small vessels to a distant theater and the sustainment of
them to be a serious impediment in a Navy used to large ships, with long stay times at
sea, and sustained by underway replenishment. Yet, the U.S. Navy has not been inhibited
from forward basing a 60,000-ton CVN and a squadron of large destroyers in Yokosuka,
Japan, an amphibious group in Sasebo, and, in the past, a division of 450-ton
minesweepers there. SSNs are tender supported in Guam, and for many years they were
maintained in the Mediterranean by a submarine tender and housing in
La Maddalena, Sardinia.
The Navy has experience with relatively low cost, low profile Fleet Support
Activities. For many years, when the Mediterranean was a major theater of Navy
operations, we maintained one in Naples. Today, Singapore collaborates with the Navy in
maintaining one there.
Smaller vessels operate forward today. PCs, MSOs and MHCs of 800 to 1,000
tons are sustained in the Persian Gulf. In the 1950s, 450-ton minesweepers sailed
unaccompanied to New London, Key West, and Guantanamo Bay. In World War II,
AMS minesweepers of 300 tons and other small craft accompanied the Fleet to Europe
and across the Pacific to the Philippines.
We heavy lifted the damaged USS Roberts and Cole half way around the world
from the Persian Gulf. We could charter a heavy lift ship for one-time delivery of an

entire task element of patrol craft at an affordable cost, or purchase two such ships for
perhaps the same cost as one LCS and three modules.
The new fighting machine provides two tenders for the coastal combatants, each
costing about as much as an LCS without its modules. The tenders notionally support ten
vessels each, and more aerial surveillance aircraft than carried by an LCS. Tenders are
appropriate because the coastal combatants will clear out the clutter of enemy and neutral
traffic in a local region. The Gunfire support ships, fast minesweepers, and inshore ASW
corvettes are big enough to get themselves in theater in the usual way and sustainment
would be ad hoc and dependent upon the operation. Offshore patrol ships will not be
large and might be carried. Inshore patrol craft would be carried in the same way the
NECCs riverine craft were delivered to Iraq.
In general, however, we expect host nation support for theater security operations.
In the spirit of the 1,000-ship navy and collaboration, we are not likely to be patrolling
off a coast without at least safe harbors and rudimentary facilities provided by the state
we are assisting. Compared with the blue water navys demands for facilities at an
overseas base, the green water fleets needs of support will be modest. Each operation
will be case specific, but sometimes the patrols will be spread up and down a long coast.
Supplements to host nation support may be deliverable containers that accompany the
patrol craft in the austere regions like parts of the African littoral. Although the fighting
machine does not provide tender support except for the coastal combatants, it might
occasionally be needed if and when an operation exceeds the capacity of the 12 global
fleet station ships in the green water fleet.
Again, we stress the benefit of a strong green water type commander, who will
be able to address delivery and sustainment, and the particulars which are necessarily
case-specific in global fleet stations around the world.

Achieving Rapid, Evolutionary Progress

These ships are each, on the average, more than an order of magnitude less
expensive than the blue water component. For unit costs of $50M-$250M, the Navy can
design and build several generations and let the best evolve under relaxed procurement
regulations. This is not a time for exaggerated emphasis on cost-effectiveness. The early
generations will not be uselessjust not as good as the third and fourth generations.
British MTB and MGB designs were in the third or fourth design model by 1943at the
pace of about one new generation each year.
Systems analysis to achieve perfect designs fails, except in cases of marginal
improvements of well understood hardware performing accepted missions. No one can
anticipate what is involved in inshore operations until we experiment with professional
sailors. The green water navy is a chance to break out of the rigid procurement system
with multiple designs and new shipbuilding competitors in a different set of
Congressional districts. SeaLances originally built for $100M each in a short time ought
to morph into designs nearly as capable that are less expensive, especially if the sailors
know they can have more combatants in their force that way. Progress will be made by a
professional green water officer corps working with naval architects who can improve
early designs, for example, with technologically advanced experimental vessels such as
the small, high-speed X-craft and Stiletto designs.



The theater security component comprises 400 small craft, each costing, at
most, $400K, for inshore patrol and to assist friendly, but poor nations in
antipiracy and countersmuggling. They must be simple to operate and are
given the very short service life of five years in the expectation that they
will often be given as aid to these countries. 22 The advantages are, first,
the very low cost and simplicity relative to every other navy component,
and second, experimentation with other nations can produce many designs
that can be improved quickly in ways impossible for large, multipurpose

Also included are 160 offshore patrol vessels for theater security costing
about $60M each, with a service life of 24 years and yielding the
negligible SCN cost of $400M per year to maintain the entire flotilla. 23

Twelve Global Fleet Station Ships costing, at most, $250M per ship, will
cover C2 and, in part, the afloat logistical responsibilities for four Global
Fleet Stations, with a reserve for surges. These will replace amphibious
LHAs, LHDs, or LPDs as quickly as they are constructed. The annual
SCN is $75M.

The Coastal Combatant flotilla comprises 30 Sea Lances, or a similar very

lethal design equivalent, and is budgeted at $100M each.

Two tenders to support the coastal combatants and their crews are
provided at the generous cost of $600M each.

Special, single-purpose vessels for NGFS (12 ships), rapidly deployable

mine clearance (12 ships), and inshore ASW (12 ships), collectively cost
only around $260M of SCN per year to sustain.

The green water contingent of the CVLs comprises eight ships displacing
25-30,000 tons. They cost $3B each, or $600M of SCN annually for the
force. The small carriers consume more than one-third of the green water
SCN budget, but are expected to be flexible enough to support blue water
operations when necessary. Each small carrier is to be capable of carrying
either 20 F-35B fighter-attack STOVL aircraft for ground support, or a
combination of UAVs for scouting and helicopters suited to a variety
of tasks.
Table 1 is a concise summary of the green water fleet, its numbers and costs.

22 Such preventive assistance will pale in comparison with the extent of the costly equipment and
facilities we will leave as a legacy in Iraq.
23 Annual SCN cost is the number of ships, times the cost per ship, divided by their expected
service lives.


Table 1.
Ship or Craft

Unit Cost

The Green Water Fleet Component

# Units

Fleet Cost



24 yrs
Cost is for a USCG Fast Response Cutter; but we should try some foreign craft.
Fleet Station
40 yrs
Maintains four stations. NAVSEAs Mark Campbell says he can build a good GFS ship
for $150M. New LPDs and LHDs are well suited, but much more costly.24
5 yrs
These are highly speculative averages of multiple designs.
24 yrs
To get guns off the blue water ships and inshore. 25
24 yrs
Fast MIW
Fast complies with a Where the fleet goes, weve been philosophy26
30 yrs
ASW Ship
Lots of examples of other states to crib from, e.g., the RSN Victory class
40 yrs
CVL (20 a/c)
An LHA, with no well deck and an enhanced aviation capability, is a good, but
expensive, model. Same as blue water CVL design, but carries UAVs and helos.
20 yrs
Streetfighter mission, cost like SeaLance, Visby or Houbei as paradigms. 27
40 yrs
CC Tender
When CC cannot be supported ashore. Old DD and SS tenders can serve for now.
Totals: 248 vessels plus 400 inshore patrol. Total Cost $44.6B SCN $1.56B/year.

24 A recent NPS student study of Global Fleet Station Ship attributes and candidates proved LPD and
LHD suitability.
25 One or two 155mm guns firing rocket-assisted Long Range Land Attack Projectiles (LRLAP).
26 High speed for strategic mobility carrying offboard unmanned vehicles for sweeping operations.

This is a rare case of the need for new technology, but the LCS mine clearance module should show
the way.
27 Sea Lance is an NPS student project design. Visby is the choice of Lt. Brad Fancher for his thesis
and is excellent in all respects, except for a unit cost of around $200M-$225M. Houbei is a new PLA-N fast
PGM, Type 022, which looks like it was inspired by the NPS Sea Lance.
28 The ashore support does not come free, but in friendly motivated states, it is cheaper than
afloat support.






The role of the new fighting machines seabased air component changes to
reflect the current world in which it can no longer be the primary means of
influencing China. On the other hand, when configured in a more
distributable force, aircraft carriers will be highly valuable for theater
security and fighting small wars. They will also help forestall or contribute
to any major conflicts.
CVNs compensate for their considerable cost in three ways: (1) each is a
mobile airfield that takes its efficient maintenance with it; (2) they stay
tactically and technologically current by changes to the air wings; and
(3) aided by precision strike, each one delivers a massive punch. 29
Each CVN has grown so large and, with its airwing, so expensive, that
(1) it is heavily defended when under risk of attack, and (2) affordability
will create pressure to reduce total numbers, and hence reduce its ability to
be where needed for as long as needed.
The always-important role of seabased air for reconnaissance and
surveillance in better-distributed ships and aircraft will grow in
importance relative to that of sheer striking power.
A complementary combination of CVNs for efficient striking power and
small CVLs for greater distributability maintains seabased air numbers
and flexibility. The new F-35B STOVL aircraft that can fly from a smaller
flight deck is advanced enough and fights well enough to justify
CVL development.


When aircraft carriers supplanted battleships as the capital ships of World War II,
among the instructive consequences were the following. In the Pacific, there were five
big carrier battles, four in 1942 and (after the heavy carrier losses had been more than
replaced on both sides) one in 1944. In the five battles, the average aircraft losses in each
battle were 40% on the American side and 60% on the Japanese side. Meanwhile, during
the war, the United States deployed over 100 carriersCVs of around 33,000 tons, CVLs
of around 16,000 tons, and CVEs of 12,000-20,000 tons full load displacement. A CV
deck load was 80 aircraft. It was not until the fall of 1944, after Japanese aircraft and
their fuel stocks were heavily depleted, that the U.S. fast carrier task force was strong
29 The combat power of a modern CVNs strike capability is described in some detail in a presentation
by J. H. Irvine, Measuring the Revolution, for the Air Warfare Development Command.


enough to strike land complexes in the Philippines, Formosa, and Japan with 15 or
more carriers.
The twenty-first century Navy has not faced such opposition and, in the case of
China at least, must avoid optimism about our ability to confront its antiaccess
capabilities. For a variety of reasons, the old truism attributed to Horatio Nelson, A
ships a fool to fight a fort, still holds.
The basic argument for an all big carrier fleet rests on economies of scale,
because the cost of a ship goes up as the two-thirds power of its displacement, but its
carrying capacity goes up in proportion to its displacement. The argument also depends
upon three premises: (1) strikes against land targets are seabased airs primary purpose;
(2) since the fall of the Soviet Union, the strikes can be conducted efficiently from a
sanctuary at sea; and (3) losses of aircraft will be negligible. A second argument is that
CTOL (Conventional Takeoff and Landing) aircraft from large decks will outperform
STOVL aircraft from smaller decksthough not necessarily when performance is
measured in sorties flown in limited visibility, as the British Harriers demonstrated in the
Falklands War.
Let us examine these two arguments for big carriers: first, in a war with a peer
(using China); second, for theater security and small wars; and third, for
major contingencies.

Against China, the carriers strike role must be subordinated to a maritime

strategy emphasizing submarine attacks and maritime interdiction.
Carriers may still become involved for reasons discussed in Chapter I, to
include strikes attempted against the mainland. How important is the
CVNs CTOL (F-18 or F-35C) range advantage over a CVLs STOVL
(F-35B)? The carriers are being forced far to seaward, and so the
difference in strike range probably will not matter much. Land-based
aircraft will probably surpass either CTOL or STOVL range and in future
air-to-air combat because of their runway advantage. Neither CVN nor
CVL seem very suited early in such an air war, and losses of both aircraft
and carriers are likely to be severe.
Shifting from China (or any other peer competitor) to theater security and
small wars, high performance fighter-attack aircraft are probably
over-designed. An F-35B should be more than adequate because it should
be able to safely perform reconnaissance and deliver strikes in almost any
irregular warfare environment. These small wars and constabulary events
(1) tend to be in several unpredictable places concurrently, (2) often are
long lasting, and (3) often lack suitable airfields ashore for conventional
combat aircraft. The United States needs seabased air in smaller packages
that can be tailored to the size and duration of the problem.
We will not need the capacity of ten or eleven CVNs for midrange wars
like Iraq and Afghanistan for very long. Their value is in being first-onscene with matchless striking power. When the war lasts for more than a
few months, then air superiority will have been established, and the USAF
will have arrived to operate from bases ashore. The necessary number of

seabased sorties per day for reconnaissance or strike will have diminished
to the level that one or two CVLs with F-35Bs will suffice.

The cost of the next aircraft carrier, now displacing 100,000 tons, has been much
debated. We have used an SCN cost of $10B because even for that amount there will be
great pressure to reduce the fleet to ten CVNs or fewer, in part because of sheer
affordability, in part because the striking power of todays carrier airwing is so enormous
compared with the airwing striking power of even 30 years ago, and in part because the
CVN, with its embarked aircraft, has a combat and monetary value so huge that it will be
a prime target. Every enemy will wish to attack and put it out of action. The same might
be said of a CVL, but one enemy success is not so consequential.
China is the nation that has advanced the most in developing a battery of threats
that push the region of safe carrier battle group operations farther and farther from
its coast.
Of equal interest, the acquisition of missiles and submarines among a small but
important number of unfriendly states, with which we might more readily go to war, will
also constrain our freedom to conduct carrier strike operations. These circumstances are
greatly different, however, and, unlike China, the ability to strike is both feasible and
desirable. When smaller carriers with F-35Bs supplement the CVNs, our freedom of
maneuver will be enhanced.
In view of recent debates over the procurement cost of the next CVN and LHD, it
should come as no surprise that there is substantial uncertainty in the cost and preferable
size of a CVL. We believe a notional CVL, which operates 20 F-35B aircraft in STOVL
mode, will displace 25,000-30,000 tons and cost from $2.5B to $3.5B after the first
prototype is constructed. We use $3B as the SCN cost in Table 2 of blue water ships
(following Chapter VII). We emphasize the desirability of adapting the same design for
green water operations. The size and cost are based in part on HMS Illustrious, which
carries up to 24 AV-8B Harriers, and in part on the conviction that a dedicated aircraft
carrier can be smaller than the current LHAs and LHDs (costing $4B or more and
displacing 40,000 tons), when the well deck and Marine berthing and assault equipment
are removed. Since a standard LHD airwing is 12 CH-46s, 5 CH-53s, 4 UH-1s and
AH-1s, 6 AV-8Bs, and 2 MH-60s or nearly 30 aircraft, the envisioned CVL seems
feasible, although we will not know this until the ship is designed and the cost in series
production of 18 of them is estimated.

Because so many commentators have used SCN costs to demonstrate the

unaffordability of the 313-ship Navy, we have not hesitated to use SCN as a proxy for
structuring the new fighting machine. Nevertheless, SCN procurement cost of a seabased
air platform is an insufficient basis for the design decision. When one takes into account
the cost of buying and operating aircraft from this two-stage system, the SCN cost is


dominated by the total system life-cycle cost of ship and airwing as the basis of choice. 30
The Annex at the end of this chapter demonstrates this truth with three illustrations, using
notional, but realistic, costing. We summarize them here.

Why the CVN, costing 40-50% more to construct than an nonnuclear CV

carrying the same number of aircraft, was nevertheless seen as preferable
30 years ago and led to an all-CVN force. A 50% cost disadvantage of the
CVN reduces to only a 5% penalty in life-cycle costs of ship and aircraft.
Nuclear powers operational mobility advantage easily makes the CVN
more attractive.
A comparison of a ten-CVN force with a 35-CVL force carrying the same
number of aircraft (about 700 in each case) shows that they have similar
life-cycle costs, even if the CVN is costed correctly at $10B and the
not-yet-designed CVL were to cost more than $3B.
A calculation of the smaller, but roughly comparable, life-cycle cost of
what we argue to be a suitable mix of six CVNs and ten CVLs. The mix
carries 620 aircraft, or 12% fewer. We believe the smaller number of
aircraft is more than made up for by its flexibility: the CVNs powerful
short-term punch in a major contingency, complemented by the CVLs
advantage of greater distributability.

The Navy has service life remaining in many existing CVNs, but a CVL needs to
be debated, designed, and built at once to test its compatibility with the F-35B, to develop
an early warning aircraft capability, and to explore mixes of aircraft for green water
operations, including UAVs. Absent such a CVL, we believe that on affordability
grounds alone, the total number of aircraft carriers will shrink to eight within the next
two decades and, absent the development of a CVL, with no redress possible.

The Role of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles

The vital contribution of UAVs is for scouting: aerial reconnaissance,

surveillance, tracking, targeting, and battle damage assessment. Despite todays
contribution of satellites, the value of aircraft scouting abides. The new and important
contribution of UAVs is, in some ways, transformational and therefore out of bounds in
constructing the new fighting machine. On the other hand, their growing importance is
evident and a few remarks are mandatory.
30 Two-stage system is a term coined by Professor Max Platzer, former chairman of the NPS
Department of Aeronautical Engineering. In the course of arguing the transformational potential of
seaplanes carrying the means of war, he described the first stage as the mobile carrierlike an aircraft
carrierand its aircraft as the second stage that delivered the firepower. An SSBN with its missiles is
another two-stage system.


UAVs for land operations have been more a bottom-up development than
a deliberate top-down scheme. On land and at sea, the fusion of manned
and unmanned aircraft into a cohesive whole is far from complete.
Some people would emphasize delivery of ordnance from unmanned
vehicles. This may increase in importance. The history of military aircraft
(beginning in World War I) began first with scouting, targeting, and
spotting; next with pursuit planes to shoot down or chase off the scouts;
then with dogfights between pursuit planes to achieve air superiority; and
lastly (as power plants afforded significant bomb loads), the development
of bombers. Whether a similar chain will occur with UAVs is clouded by
the presence of manned aircraft and missiles fired remotely on cue from a
targeting system that sometimes includes the UAV itself.
This years Strategic Studies Group (XXVIII) is tasked by the CNO to
examine and improve the interface with unmanned vehicles for more
productive operations. The study is not only timely on its merits, but must
take cognizance of a recent GAO (Government Accountability Office)
Study (November 2008) that promotes a single overarching
organizational framework (for unmanned aircraft systems) to fully
integrate efforts, sustain progress, and resolve challenges. There are
many reasons for the Navy to view such an approach with alarm. In the
name of efficiency under top-down management in DoD, we will lose the
freedom for aggressive, maritime oriented UAV development. Brigadier
General Billy Mitchell, who 90 years ago advocated single ownership of
all aircraft, has been replaced by the GAO in todays defense culture.
Some UAVs for scouting can be land based in support of the fighting
machine because of their long aerial endurance. A recent NPS thesis by
Lt. Nicholas Wissel illustrates. 31 He proposed to reestablish the viability
of a surface action group comprising DDGs to confront a Chinese surface
action group (of existing PLA-N warships) by using long-range Predator
UAVs flying from Guam to team with suitable new surface-to-surface
missiles carried in the DDGs. For better defense, he diluted the enemy
missile strike with DDG-based short-range UAVs that radiate signals to
make them look to enemy missiles like a warship. Long-range search and
short-range deception are merely intended here to indicate some of the
new roles UAVs can play.
As a final example of the possibilities of unmanned vehicles, a carrier of
unmanned vehicles, in some ways similar to an LCS, but with a much
expanded capacity, was shown by the 1998 CNO Strategic Studies Group
to be an interesting small, inexpensive complement to CVNs. The CVL
might be a carrier of UAVs for scouting and F-35Bs for attack. As we said
above, as transformational developments these devices are exempted from
the new fighting machine, but unmanned vehicles are already having

31 Nicholas E. Wissel, Surface Combatant Readiness to Confront a Sea Control Navy (Masters
Thesis, NPS, September 2008), Monterey, CA.


considerable impact on the Navy, and that role will increase as the new
fighting machine is built and deployed. 32


Six or eight CVNs carrying adaptable airwings of 70 aircraft. We have

priced each ship at $10B. This may be low by $2B or $3B each. If so,
there will be even greater pressure to reduce CVN numbers within an
affordable SCN budget.
Ten CVLs for blue water or green operations carrying 20 F-35Bs. In
Table 2s tabulation of the blue water fleet, we price them at $3B each,
and give them a 40-year service life. This cost may also be low, but by, at
most, $0.5B.
An important consideration much under discussion is the minimum
replacement rate to sustain the nuclear power shipyard at Newport News,
Virginia. Building nuclear powered CVLs in part might be an alternative.
This would lead to a substantially greater SCN cost, but not much change
in its LCC (Life Cycle Cost).
For simplicit,y we have omitted the CVLs potential for ASW and convoy
work, should the need for those old roles arise. The analogue is the CVE
that served the purpose during and after World War II.
Ideally, the first CVL would be shaking down at sea when the first F-35B
squadron is ready to deploy.

32 A particularly useful study for those who seek more information about UAVs and the future is:

Tom P. Ehrhard and Robert O. Work, Range, Persistence, Stealth and Networking: The Case for a CarrierBased Unmanned Combat Air System, Washington, D.C., Center for Strategic and Budgetary
Assessments, 2008.




Example #1: The reason a CVN was preferred to a CV when the decision was
under debate circa 1975-1980.
The arguments and data are drawn in part from the Seabased Air Platform Study
of 1979, which concluded that for the same effectiveness three CVs could be procured for
the cost of two CVNs.
For equal capability both carriers have the same displacement, carrying capacity,
and airwings of 80 aircraft. We assume a 40-year service life for both. Here is a
side-by-side cost comparison:
Buy CV
Buy Airwing
Buy System

Buy Airwing
Buy System


$9B (NOTE 1)

Operate Ship
Operate Airwing
Operate System


Operate Ship
Operate Airwing
Operate System

$12B (NOTE 2)
$20B (NOTE 3)

LCC of System


LCC of System


Conclusion: a 50% greater SCN cost for a CVN is only a 5% disadvantage in LCC.
One of the advantages of a carrier is that the aircraft can be updated during its
long service life. We represent this advantage by replacing the initial airwing at the
20-year point, along with the reasonable assumption that second generation aircraft are
state-of-the-art and cost twice as much to buy and operate as the first wing. It is easy to
compute that the LCC costs of the system, which includes two generations of aircraft, are
then $63B and $61B, respectively.


A 50% cost advantage is now 22%.

The SBAP Study concluded CVN and CV operating costs are about the
same. We use 5% of the CVN procurement cost per year for 40 years. We
ignore inflation and discounting, in full knowledge that these
simplifications introduce analytical distortions. Nevertheless, we believe
the implications of these streamlined calculations are roughly correct and
acceptable for illustration.
Using an annual operating cost of 10% of the procurement cost per year
for 40 years. Historically, 10% is slightly low.


Example #2: Illustrating why a comparison of the CVN and CVL is more
valuable when based on their life-cycle costs.
We compare the LLC of a ten-carrier CVN force with a 35-ship CVL force
carrying an equal number of aircraft.

A CVN carries 70 aircraft; a CVL carries 20 F-35B STOVL aircraft.

Both alternatives carry 700 aircraft.
A 100,000-ton CVN costs $10B and a 25,000-ton CVL costs $3B. The
CVNs aircraft average $100M each and the CVLs F-35Bs cost
$100M each.
Operating cost for either ship is 5% per year and for the airwing is 10%
per year.
Carrier life is 40 years.


Buy 10 CVNs
$100B Buy 35 CVLs
Buy 700 Aircraft
$70B Buy 700 Aircraft
Buy 10 CVNs and Airwings $170B Buy 35 CVLs and Airwings $175B
Operate CVNs (40 years)
$200B Operate CVLs
Operate Airwings
Operate CVNs and Airwings $480B


System LCC



This is a big number, but the annual cost of either force is only a bit more than
$16B per year.
The point must again be made that to exploit the long life of the carrier by
keeping it up to date with new aircraft, one should anticipate buying a second generation
airwing. If, again, the improved second generation aircraft cost twice as much to buy and
operate, then the system LCC is somewhat more than $900B.
First, observe that for these notional costs, the life-cycle costs are similar. If one
must choose between two pure choices, then favoring the CVN is operational flexibility
of its balanced airwing, while favoring the CVL is a more distributable force in which the
incapacitation of one shipdue to collision, storm damage, grounding, repairs,
modernization, or enemy actionis not as critical.
Second, it is evident that the purchase of the aircraft and the operation of the
system dominate the SCN cost in the ratio of more than 6:1. If the unit CVL SCN cost is
appreciably greaterfor example, because nuclear power in some or all of the smaller
carriers is seen as desirablethen evidently the LCC differential will still be small.


Example #3: Cost of a new fighting machine force comprising six CVNs and
ten CVLs.
Our preferred force carries 420 mixed aircraft in six CVNs (of which 264 are
normally strike/fighters) and 200 F-35Bs in ten CVLs. We believe the 620 aircraft in 18
carriers will be preferable in a cost-constrained budget to the 700 aircraft (440
strike/fighters) in ten CVNs.

A 16-carrier seabased air capabilitysupplemented by UAVshas more

flexibility than 10 CVNs and can in all likelihood more readily keep the
right numbers of aircraft where and when needed.
A CVNs striking power today, measured in targets destroyed, is
considerably greater than even 20 years ago, thanks to precision ordnance
and better aircraft.
The positive side of fewer aircraft is a life-cycle cost savings of around
$80B that does not show when the coin of the realm is the SCN
of construction.

We make the same assumptions as to service life, operating cost, and

procurement cost.

Buy 6 CVNs
Buy 420 Aircraft
Buy CVNs and a/c


Operate CVNs
Operate 420 Aircraft $168B
40-Year Operating
LCC of System


Buy 10 CVLs
Buy 200 Aircraft
Buy CVLs and a/c



Operate CVLs
Operate 200 Aircraft $80B





The CVN airwing is flexible and can also be expanded to 80 aircraft. If the CVNs
carry 80 aircraft, then the Fleet total becomes 680 instead of 620 planes.
The CVL presumably does not carry a mix for the sake of flight deck and
maintenance efficiency, but some kind of aerial early warning capability is desirable,
perhaps a helicopter with air search radar operating at 10,000 feet, as has already been
done by other navies with small carriers of 20-25,000 tons.









In order to influence China and confound its anti-access plans, submarines

in greater numbers must play an indispensible role by threatening its trade,
energy imports, and warships.
A quantitatively sufficient all-SSN fleet will take too big a budget share.
For operations in the China Seas, air independent propulsion (AIP) diesel
submarines have many advantages and may be purchased in the ratio of
three or four AIP diesels for every SSN.


The Falklands War of 1982 is a cautionary tale of two submarine fleets having
major effects on the enemy in a maritime war. Early in the war, the United Kingdoms
HMS Conqueror, an SSN, sank the aged Argentine cruiser General Belgrano. Seemingly
as a result, the Argentine Navy withdrew into port and took itself out of the war, thus
isolating the Falklands from substantial reinforcement or resupply. On the other side, one
old Argentine submarine harassed the British task force out of all proportion to its
nominal combat value. Literally hundreds of ASW torpedoes were fired by the screening
destroyers on contacts that proved to be false. Submarines as sea denial systems can
influence enemy operations disproportionate to their numbers and cost. 33
As an historical sidebar it is well to discuss here the frequent assertion that
submarines are the capital ships of the future. We begin by noting that several decades
ago, Janes Fighting Ships and other navy compendiums began listing submarines ahead
of aircraft carriers, just as aircraft carriers had previously replaced battleships. In his
classic book on naval battles, The Price of Admiralty, John Keegans concluding chapter
was entitled The Empty Ocean because he thought submarines would eventually
dominate all surface warships, including aircraft carriers. For effectiveness per unit cost,
even diesel submarines exercise unmatched leverage against surface ships. Yet, during
the past 20 years, the U.S. Navy lost its edge in combating submarines because it failed to
see that even two or three of them could hold up an operation until they were destroyed
or demonstrably neutralized.
But are submarines capital ships? The answer is no, not yet at least. Submarines
perform Function 2 (sea denial) superbly, but thus far they have been incapable of
performing Function 1 (sea control) because shipping on the surface of the seas can only
be protected by surface ships. The American Navy, with its priceless attribute of
maritime superiority, must operate on the surface to protect the worlds shipping. Keegan
33 A different Argentine submarine was lost attempting another historically frequent submarine role,
covert supply, in this instance of small Argentine forces that had seized the South Georgia Islands.


was right about the formidability of modern submarines, right about their ability to empty
segments of the ocean surface, but wrong in predicting them to be the next capital ship.

SSNs can be deployed for the usual missions around the world, but increasingly
the emphasis will be on South and East Asian operations. To counter Chinas growing
capability to fend off American or Japanese surface warships, the best response is to
create a region whereat the outset of hostilitiesneither side can operate safely on the
surface. We subscribe to the overt development of a strategy that demonstrably would
deny China the use of the seas in the case of hostilities. We speculate that will take about
80 boats. This is a guess, but it is one subject to analysis. The number of stations to block
exits of Chinese submarines and other warships can be developed, as well as estimates of
the number of submarines to dominate Chinas seas, including the number that might be
lost over time.
All American submarines need to practice simultaneously stalking enemy surface
targets, while evading enemy submarines defending Chinese home waters. They need to
reestablish their skills in the long-standing mission of sinking surface ships. They need to
conduct exercises at sea to measure their capability against enemy submarines in the form
of detection rates and exchange rates, in the same rigorous way the Submarine
Development Group did in the 1960s and 1970s.
Some of the subs, probably the nonnuclear ones, need to drill for offensive mining
of Chinas ports, too. A new set of mines need to be developed and stockpiled in a
forward location, probably Guam. They would be mobile mines launched from torpedo
tubes. The threat of mines might be useful to intimidate less critical nations, too. 34
To sum up, roles for American submarines are the following:

Sink Chinas warships and shipping in the Yellow, East, and South China
Seas, while evading or sinking PLA-N submarines. This is a promising
role for AIP diesels.
Barrier work along the Ryukyu chain to Taiwan, the Philippines, and
possibly further south. Either diesels or SSNs are suitable.
Laying mines off Chinese ports. (Surface mine layers can implant mines in
the barriers.)
Reconnaissance anywhere. A proven role of SSNs.
Open ocean ASW, surface force screening, and antiship operations. These
are proven roles of SSNs.

Nonnuclear submarines are at their best when they do not have to travel long
distances to the scene of action. The 313-ship Navy, and its hope to respond anywhere,
quite logically espouses an all-SSN force because these submarines have matchless
strategic and operational mobility. Diesels make sense as a capability focused on one
34 There is, of course, hostility toward mine warfare in many quarters, some of which are military.
Their usefulness for peacekeeping against China is a demonstration of why offensive mine warfare is a low
cost, high reward capability.


nation at a time. The bimodal strategy says one nation dominates attention at present, and
therefore plans for basing in the Western Pacific should proceed concurrent with AIP
diesel acquisition.
The introduction of nonnuclear submarines in our all nuclear force seems
particularly difficult. American shipyards have not recently produced a non-nuclear
submarine, and the start up will be both hard to do and temporarily expensive. Several
foreign navies have greatly advanced the technology and tactics, and operate very
capable boats with skill. To compete, the U.S. submarine community faces a steep climb
out of technological and tactical ignorance. The starting point is evidentlyand
embarrassinglyto purchase some AIP diesels (e.g., the French Scorpene), with which to
gain design and tactical experience. Meanwhile, experience gained currently with leased
nonnuclear submarines will give us operational understanding, but not a
design capability.

The Navy is reconfiguring some SSBNs as SSGNs. These formidable, secure

launch platforms carry a large numberabout 150of land attack conventional cruise
missiles. We would not decommission any during their remaining service lives, but
would urge a more affordable alternative to replace them. We prefer a corvette-sized
surface land attack missile ship which, in Chapter VII, is in our program as a more
efficient way to delivery strikes against land targets than SSGNs, CGs, or DDGs, and
without undue risk.
The SSGN cannot contribute to the strategy to influence China and probably does
not affect a strategy to confront Russia. All other nations where SSGNs might make
senseIndia, Japan, the European Union, or Brazil, for exampleare unlikely opponents
and the SSGNs cloak of total invisibility seems either insignificant or counterproductive
against themyet is achieved only at great expense. Small bundles of 50 land attack
missiles carried in surface ships (with strong low observability properties) seem secure
enough and in many respects more attractive. They are not as safe as SSGNs, but they are
not easy targets for most nations to deal with. A newly designed SSGN probably costs
$4.0B in current dollars and carries 150 missiles. A stealthy, very quiet surface ship will
probably cost $0.2B and carry 50 missiles. In addition to its greater distributability, the
land attack surface ship has more than a 6:1 cost-effectiveness advantage in missiles
carried per dollar cost. A not insignificant operational advantage is the greater ease with
which the surface force can be rotated off station to rearm. The entire operating cost
advantage might not be in the ratio of 20:1 ($4B versus $0.2B times 5% per year), but the
surface ship would assuredly be considerably less expensive to man and operate than the
nuclear powered submarine. Hence, we have no new SSGNs in the new fighting machine,
but include 20 land attack surface ships that can be designed and deployed by the time the
current SSGNs reach the end of service life.
Another less expensive alternative is a diesel SSG. It would be less mobile, but is
as hard to find as an SSGN. Before the end of SSGN service life, there is time to evaluate
either of these cost-effective alternatives, but only if prototypes are built soon.


We observe that the 80 boats in the submarine fleet take over 40% of the blue
water SCN budget. This fraction is large, in part, because we give submarines a short
25-year service life. Their challenging combat roles are the reason for replacing them
more often than two-stage systems, like aircraft carriers that can be modernized by
replacing the airwing. The CVN and CVL force with 40-year service lives take only
$2.1B in annual SCN, or just 18% of the budget. However, the carrier is only half of the
fighting system and it is instructive to make a total system cost comparison between these
expensive components of the new fighting machine, its submarines and aircraft carriers.
From Chapter IV, we estimate the procurement cost to be $90B for 6 CVNs and
ten CVLs. This compares with $128B for a fleet of 80 submarines. But the life cycle of
16 carriers with their airwings is $560B, and with two generations of aircraft to keep
them viable over 40-year lifetimes, the LCC is over $800B. The submarine force costs
$128B to build andat 5% per yearanother $160B to operate for 25 years, or a total of
$288B. Annualized costs are therefore $20B for the 16-carrier force and $11.5B for the
80-submarine force. The air and submarine forces take complementary capabilities to sea,
so the comparison is between apples and oranges. But with our emphasis on force
distributability, we observe that the fighting machines cost of 16 apples is nearly twice
as much as it is for 80 oranges.


A total of 80 submarines, with special emphasis on China.

Of these, there will be 40 SSNs at $2.5B each (if the price can be reduced,
the number can rise) and 40 AIP submarines at $500M-$700M each (we
show $700M in Table 2 and make the same comment as to the latters
price and numbers).
A set of 100 submarines would be better than 80 to defeat China, but in
the absence of detailed operating plans and analysis, 80 seems sufficient
and an acceptable risk, especially based on our premise that we must have
allies in the unlikely case of a war with China.
Existing SSGNs should complete their service lives, but the Navy should
replace them with surface land attack ships in greater numbers.
Some submarines should be equipped and trained for minelaying.






At least from the time of Alexander the Great, the reward of a nations
maritime supremacy has been to deliver ground forces from the sea and
sustain their movement on land. Today, sometimes the versatility of
strikes from the air has distracted attention from this more fundamental
historical advantage.
The great and understated connection with American national policy and
strategy is safe delivery. Since World War II, swift and loss-free sealift
has never failed in any war, quick reaction contingency, or other
operation. American maritime supremacy guaranteed this. The new
fighting machine perpetuates the current U.S. maritime advantage with
amphibious lift and the delivery and sustainment capability of our
national sealift.
With current emphasis on joint operations, the Navy is coequally
concerned with delivering any and all ground forces and sustaining them,
along with needed Marine, Army, and Air Force aerial components.
The new fighting machines affordable capacity will determine speed of
delivery by sea, and the numbers of ground forces sustainable for the
duration of the conflict. The pace of delivery, however, is often
constrained at ports of embarkation and debarkation.
The Marine Corps, appropriately, asserts responsibility for designing the
capabilities and doctrine for joint forcible entry. The new fighting machine
gives primacy to the Marines with single-minded naval gunfire support,
prepositioning ships, and strong air support of operations ashore, but not
to opposed assault. We emphasize amphibious lift, but not forcible entry.


For a very long time, the mobility advantage of transport by sea has been the great
reward of a dominant maritime state. 35 Flawless, casualty-free delivery and sustainment

35 A concise explanation of the advantage of sea power is in Hughes, Naval Maneuver Warfare,
Naval War College Review, Summer 1997.


of forces on the ground is so natural that U.S. policy makers tend to take it for granted. 36
Since World War II, amphibious lift, rather than amphibious assault by forcible entry, has
characterized U.S. operations as small and swift as Grenada and Panama and as large and
long lasting as Vietnam, Afghanistan, and Iraq.
Before World War II, the Marine Corps performed a valuable service by being
first to perceive that opposed amphibious assaults could not be avoided in taking the
small Japanese-held islands in the Pacific. Marines established the doctrine and
conceived the vessels to make that possible: prominently assault transports with their
landing craft, larger landing craft like the LSTs and LCIs, and warships for naval gunfire
and close air support. Although since World War II, the Marines have rationalized their
value to be for amphibious assault, the Marine Corps has not participated in an opposed
landing since Inchon. That 1950 assault was as much an Army as a Marine operation.
At the same time, the Army was not unaware that it must operate overseas. In
World War I, the Navy delivered the American Expeditionary Force across the Atlantic
without a loss as fast as the divisions could be mobilized and trained. Of course, French
ports obviated the danger of attack when they disembarked. In the 1920s and 1930s, the
Army reckoned that to retake the Philippines, over-the-beach operations would
be necessary.
When amphibious landings were common in World War II, there were as many
Army-Navy opposed assaults in Europe as there were Navy-Marine landings on Pacific
Islands, and there were many Ranger special operations worldwide. The Navy also
supported Army landings up the New Guinea coast under General Douglas MacArthur.
As Naval Warfare Doctrine Pub 1 points out, MacArthurs leap frog operations were
spectacularly successful, almost casualty free, examples of operational maneuver from
the sea achieved by bypassing Japanese strong points. The Navy-Marine team in the
Central Pacific advanced farther, faster, and by-passed many strong points, too, but it
could not avoid attacking small, heavily defended islands. In the latter part of the Pacific
War, the Army was a major participant in the Marianas and Okinawa. The Army alone
assaulted the Japanese on Leyte Island, and recovered the Philippines after bitter fighting.
Marines are popular for their excellence in constabulary operations and as
fearless, flexible combatants, notably at Belleau Wood, in Vietnam, in Desert Storm, and
in Operation Iraqi Freedom. The most recent guidance from the Commandant of the
Marine Corps Vision and Strategy 2025: Implementation Planning Guidance
acknowledges this. It puts renewed emphasis on a naval force that is fully prepared for
employment as a MAGTF across the spectrum of conflict. The Commandant defines six
core competencies, only one of which is to conduct joint forcible entry operations from
the sea [and to develop] amphibious landing force capabilities and doctrine. The modern

36 Here are three historical reviews that correct the exaggerated attention on battles for command of

the sea, but instead put proper emphasis on the far more common naval operations in history, namely the
safe and efficient delivery and sustainment of ground forces: (1) Vice Admiral P. H. Coulomb, RN, Naval
Warfare: Its Ruling Principles and Practice Historically Treated, London. W. H. Allen, 1891, 1895, and
1899; reprinted by the Naval Institute Press in the Classics of Sea Power series, 1990; (2) F. Uhlig, Jr., How
Navies Fight: The U.S. Navy and Its Allies, Annapolis, Naval Institute Press, 1994; and (3) R. F. Grimmett,
Instances of Use of United States Armed Forces Abroad, 1798-2008, Washington, D.C., Congressional
Research Service, 2009.


amphibious assault force is appropriately renamed an expeditionary force, that is to

say, by amphibious lift rather than by landing in the face of any enemy.
In history, opposed landings involved scores of ships and we expected to lose
ships and assault craft as well as troops. Today, the large-capacity, efficient amphibious
assault shipsLHAs, LHDs, LPDs, etc., are few in number compared to the LSTs,
APAs, and AKAs that were the backbone of the opposed assaults in World War II and
Korea. Now, the loss of even one amphibious ship would probably terminate the
operation in failure.

Robert O. Work has performed a great service by pointing out that as a national
capability the size of our amphibious lift, and delivery and sustainment capability extends
well beyond what the Navy counts in its 313-ship fleet, which is limited to 31 amphibious
ships and 14 ships that preposition Marine equipment in a theater of expected overseas
operations. 37 Work demonstrates that when all ships of the Military Sealift Command
and Maritime Administration are counted (some, but not all, of which are paid for from
Navy funds) the national fleet comprises more than 420 ships.
For purposes of exposition, we will distinguish between sealift ships for delivery
and sustainment from ships for amphibious lift and prepositioned ships. The joint sealift
component comprises over 70 ships, most of them large, medium speed roll-on/roll-off
ships, container ships, and tankers, and also a few High Speed Vehicles (HSVs).
Delivery and sustainment ships are not expected to be attacked and so they are,
properly in our judgment, large with very big capacities.
The delivery and sustainment mission, empowered by maritime supremacy, plays
a valuable role for our nation. We do not underfund it. On the other hand, as Work has
shown (and separately, Ronald J. ORourke 38 ) that the national fleet has a considerable
capability for delivering ground forces overseas. We believe it might have to deliver as
many as 250,000 in a surge from among Army and Marine forces that total about 700,000
land combatants on active duty.
The strategy of the new fighting machine excludes a ground attack on China. It
supports many small packets of ground forces for theater security, for small, sharp wars,
and for sustained irregular warfare.
The total capacity issue is the extent to which the national strategy should also be
devoted to major theater wars, but the new fighting machines sealift of 125 mostly large
ships achieved with an SCN investment of $1.0B per year appears to be adequate to
support one such theater conflict for as long as it might last.
The speed of delivery across an ocean is important, but movement calculations
must include the significant time it takes for Army and Marine equipment to be moved
37 Robert O. Work, The U.S. Navy: Charting a Course for Tomorrows Fleet, Washington, D.C.,
Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessment, 2008. For a concise summary of what ships in the
national fleet are counted and uncounted by the Navy, see Figure 4. Also see his recent and excellent
The Global Era of National Policy and the Pan-Oceanic National Fleet, Orbis, Fall 2008.
38 Ronald J. ORourke, Future Requirements and Capabilities of U.S. Maritime Forces, Statement . .
.Before the House Armed Services Committee Subcommittee on Seapower and Expeditionary Forces,
Washington, D.C., March 26, 2009.


from bases to ports of embarkation. Speed of delivery is also affected by the time to
disembark in the theater. In Desert Shield, delivery was limited almost entirely to
two ports.
Our relatively small SCN investment is possible, in part, becauseunlike
amphibious assault shipsprepositioning ships and ships of the Ready Reserve Fleet
have long lifetimes due to the fact that they are only employed when needed in an
operation. The operating cost of the delivery and sustainment fleet is also less for the
same reason. Some ships in todays RRF (Ready Reserve Force) are programmed for 60
years of service life.
In the case of prepositioning ships, the current total count of 31 ships (for the
Marine Corps, Army, Air Force, and other agencies) seems extraordinarily generous,
since both the ships and the ground combat equipment they carry must be purchased and
tied to a region indefinitely. Prepositioning ships and the Air Forces airlift capacity are
closely linked because equipment and ground combat personnel must be married together
at the scene of the operation. This approach proved itself in Desert Shield/Desert Storm.
It may be less efficacious for future operations in Africa or Southeast Asia because, in
these regions, the port facilities are more limited and nearby airfields with long runways
less certain.

The amphibious force of 31 ships in the 313-ship Navy is neither fish nor fowl. It
is too expensive, at $4.0B-plus for each new LHA or LHD, to serve merely as a lift force.
For lift, an MSC (Military Sealift Command) RoRo (Roll-on, Roll-off) ship carries ten
times or more rolling stock, costs about one-eighth as much as an LHD, and has a much
lower operating cost. At the same time, for forcible entry, the amphibious ships are too
large and there are too few in an Expeditionary Strike Grouponly three or fourto be
effective when an enemy counterattack is possible. The loss of even one ship would
probably abort the landing. As we have said, the U.S. Navy has no experience with an
opposed assault since 1950.
For over-the-beach operations, the carrying capacity of U.S. amphibious ships
seems small. Only three LCACs are carried in an LHD, four in an LSD, or one in an
LPD. Perhaps there is a more efficient way to provide the landing craft for the
ship-to-shore movement. The notional aircraft load of an LHD or LHA is impressive at
29, but if the new CVL is built, for green water operations it should be able to carry 15 or
20 helicopters and UAVs. We favor the smaller load because we think for small wars the
CVLs allow for easier sizing to the mission and for positioning two or more of the small
carriers at two or more different locations.
The fleet of LHDs and LHAs are highly popular for humanitarian relief, medical
treatment, and command and service facilities. They serve as versatile, but expensive,
global fleet stations. The existing amphibious force should be retained until the end of
service life. This will offer time to reappraise the most cost-effective way to provide for a
sufficient capacity to continue, without interruption, the great pay-off of overseas
delivery of Army, Marine, and Special Forces. We favor a ten-year construction holiday
on new amphibious ships after America LHA-6 and Makin LHD-8 are commissioned.
We recommend a thorough sorting out of the most suitable smaller amphibious lift ships,

air support from CVLs, and the right number of sealift ships under MSC and MARAD
for small wars and specific theater conflicts in the future.
In summary, for 60 years the safe and timely delivery of forces overseas has been
the most successful, casualty free, and reliable service performed by the U.S. armed
forces. Sealift is a complicated, multifaceted component that can be retained at
modest cost.


For $1.0B of annual SCN, a fleet composed of between 100 and 150 ships
can be maintained for amphibious lift, delivery and sustainment. Many
sealift ships will be large, high-capacity RoRos, container ships, and
tankers, constructed or purchased at an average cost of about $500M.
Others will be small, simple HSVs, to quickly move ground forces to a
scene of action demanding swift response. Some will be amphibious ships
of 15,000 to 25,000 tons for unopposed delivery across a beach or at an
undeveloped landing site. In Table 2, we show a sealift fleet of 125 ships,
including propositioning ships. This capability will suffice for any likely
conflict involving ground combat overseas. The current numbers are
between 80 and 90 reasonably modern, large-capacity vessels, plus 31
large ships for amphibious lift. If a large regional war ensues, the U.S.
merchant fleet can be requisitioned, but it is relatively small, so leasing
from neutrals around the world might be necessary, as was done for Desert
Much of the fleet is inexpensive to maintain because it does not need to
deploy except when needed. It is inexpensive to operate because the crews
are small. The life-cycle cost is relatively low because the ships, not being
worn out by frequent forward deployment and not needing upgraded
combat capabilities, can enjoy very long lifetimes, currently 50 or
60 years.
Although not all these ships are paid for in the Navy budget, it is a proper
Navy responsibility to design the sealift force and keep it ready.
The urgent need is not sealift, but a green water fleet to safeguard delivery
and sustainment. The threat of small missile craft, coastal submarines,
mines, and land-launched ASCMs requires attention. The Navy also has
an obligation to all ground forces to provide more naval gunfire support
than now exists.
We espouse a ten-year holiday in which no high-cost amphibious ships are
built. Much of the existing amphibious assault force can serve for many
more years in the unlikely case of the need to conduct an opposed Marine
assault (e.g., in Lebanon or Syria). The amphibious ships will also serve
effectively as interim Global Fleet Station ships.




By contrast with the delivery and sustainment force, another MSC component
paid for by the Navy is extremely busy and hard working, namely the Combat Logistic
Force. We have not changed the plan for 30 CLF ships in the current 313-ship Navy
because this is a number amenable to analysis and subject to close scrutiny. Nevertheless,
we believe the programmed service lives (40 years) may be optimistic. In addition, the
demand may increase because the number of ships and locations of their operations can
be expected to increase. As the new fighting machine is constructed and deployed, the
CLF force numbers and costs must be subjected to continuing review.






The blue water surface combatants should concentrate more capability and
tactical skill on sea control. Most should carry at least eight
antiship missiles.
When the risk of loss of blue water warships is not great, they can
supplement the green water ships with individual capabilities for inshore
ASW, antiswarm, and missile and gunfire support in the littorals.
Offensive antiship missile development is getting ahead of defensive
surface-to-air missile technology, and the situation can be expected to
worsen, as more countries exploit the international arms market.
The number of missile ships (CGs and DDGs) has become
disproportionately great, compared to the number of simpler destroyers,
frigates, and corvettes suited for blue water operations. This phenomenon
is unique to the U.S. Navy.
An affordable land attack missile corvette seems advantageous, in part
because it gives land attack a more distributed capability. A family of such
corvettes is much cheaper than an SSGN and will suffice in
many scenarios.
The smallest tactical unit should be a mutually supporting pair of vessels,
with either identical or complementary characteristics. This is easier to do
with greater numbers of ships, sometimes having complementary
capabilities. 39


A critical question affecting future surface combatants in the missile age is the
relative advantage of the offense (antiship cruise missiles) and defense (surface-to-air
missiles, hard and soft point defense, and stealth properties). A general truth of ground
warfare is that a defender of a prepared position has had an advantage throughout history
with occasional reversals brought about temporarily by technology. At sea, where there is
no terrain or defendable position, the opposite is true. There is only one proven exception
in which the defense matched the offense. This was the period when armament and armor
competed for advantage. Armor could stop gunfire from 1861, when the Federal Monitor
39 A pair as the smallest combat unit was a Soviet tactical concept. Among the reasons are (1) succor

when one ship is hit; (2) a pair complicates enemy targeting; (3) two ships allow one unit to radiate, while
the other is silent; and (4) experience with hunting submarines was never to send a single surface ship in
pursuit of a submarine.


fought the Confederate Virginia to a draw, until around 1880. By 1900, armor-piercing
shells and better fire control made defense with armor merely a temporizing thing.
In the missile era, for the past 40 years the U.S. Navys defense has kept pace
with the offense, especially with the highly effective Aegis track-while-scan radar,
integrated CIC, cooperative engagement, and effective SAMs. But there is strong
evidence that the advantage of the attacker is going to be ascendant once again, with the
development of (1) sea-skimming, low observable, fast-maneuvering, very high speed
ASCMs; (2) ballistic missiles with improved terminal homing, some of which deliver a
terminal spray of small explosive warheads; and (3) small, cheap, very numerous,
autonomous Harpies invented by the Israelis and adopted by the PLA-N. Harpies fly
out, loiter, and home on a search or fire control radar of the chosen frequency as soon as a
target radar is detected.
Defenders will need more operational deception; cooperation through mutual
support; decoys; soft kill; and short range, very fast response hard kill. Consonant with
the naval maxim, attack effectively first, they will also need aerial search, targeting,
and battle damage assessment at blue water distances of over 100 nm, accompanied by
ASCMs to kill ships at those distances. They will need air search for early warning and
time to react in order to diminish surprise attacks, like those suffered by HMS Sheffield
and USS Stark.
The special value of a more distributed capability achieved by greater numbers
can be shown mathematically and operationally. Mathematically, it has been proven that
if an enemy has twice as many ships attacking, then in an exchange of fire, the other fleet
to achieve parity in losses must have twice the offensive power, twice the defensive
power, and twice the staying power. The operational insight comes from observing that
when a ship is put out of action it loses all three of its combat propertiesoffensive,
defensive, and staying powersimultaneously. It cannot be emphasized too strongly that
delivering a first unanswered salvo is the best tactic when it can be achieved.

It is not certain that defense with surface-to-air missiles was ever as good as is
commonly believed. Only once in the missile age has a SAM shot down an enemy
antiship cruise missile. That was accomplished by HMS Gloucester during Operation
Desert Shield in early 1992, when it shot down one old, slow, relatively high-flying
Silkworm missile fired by the Iraqis from the Kuwaiti shore 18 miles away, while the
American battleship Missouri was conducting shore bombardment against them.
Every other successful defense against incoming ASCMs has been by soft kill
(chaff or jamming), sometimes augmented by hard kill point defense. The record of
attacks by ASCMs can be usefully broken into three categories. There have been around
300 missile attacks, all told, since the first one against the Israeli destroyer Eilat,
in 1967. 40
40 Data is taken from two sources: an NPS Masters Thesis by Lt. J. C. Schulte, An Analysis of the
Historical Effectiveness of Antiship Cruise Missiles in Littoral Warfare, September 1994, and a
presentation prepared by Peter Swartz of the Center for Naval Analyses. More detail regarding ASCM
effectiveness in ship damage and sinkings, and in personnel casualties, can be found in Hughes, Fleet
Tactics and Coastal Combat, Annapolis, MD, Naval Institute Press, 2000. See especially 275-276.


The greatest number of attacks was against defenseless targets: larger

tankers and other commercial vessels, mostly during the Gulf War of the
1980s. Over 90% of the missiles hit. Typically the damage was extensive,
but the ship did not sink.
The next greatest number was against defended targets, most of them
being in the 1973 Arab-Israeli War. About 25% hit, usually resulting in a
sinking. These were small combatants, Israeli Saar boats, facing
Soviet-built Osa and Komar missile boats manned by Arab crews. The
average is misleading, however, because the Israelis were totally
successful in using soft kill and tactics to defend themselves. All losses
were suffered by the Egyptians and Syrians. Several merchant ships were
also struck by Israeli Gabriel missiles, because the Syrians used innocent
shipping for concealment or to draw off the Israeli missiles.
The third category was targets like Sheffield and Stark that were capable of
defending themselves but did not. About 65% of missiles launched at
defendable warships hit their targets. In these attacks, six ships were sunk
and 16 were put out of action.

An ominous trend (although the data sample is small) is that the success
percentages of the attackers have gotten better since 1975. Since it seems predictable that
the offense will continue to regain the advantage over a defenders surface-to-air
missiles, it is a mistake to rely heavily on expensive DDGs and CGs with Aegis and
SAMs. We do not want to eliminate these capable ships and we think new ones should be
added periodically as technology advances. If the ships were more easily and quickly
updated to neutralize the natural advantage that is possible with ASCMs and TBMs
(Theater Ballistic Missiles), we would be more optimistic about their future value. In the
meantime, we propose to let attrition at end of life reduce the number of DDGs to a
steady state force of 30.

To maintain total surface combatant numbers for offensive action and screening at
around 140, we conjecture a new blue water frigate similar to those in the other navies of
the world. They emphasize sea control but are capable of escorting large and small
carriers, amphibious lift, and delivery and sustainment shipping. They carry at least eight
long-range surface-to-surface missiles, a helicopter or UAVs, have a capable ASW suite,
and strong, short-range hard and soft kill defenses.
There are many international frigates and corvettes that serve as examples for
developing an affordable design, which should be evolutionary, but cost, at most, $400M
in series production. These include Turkeys new MILGEM class corvette, Singapores
Formidable class frigate, Indonesias Sigma class corvette, Indias Project 28 frigate, and
the Russian Steregushchiy class frigate.
The LCS design has some frigate features including capacity to carry helos and
UAVs, but its high speed is unnecessary and unaffordable. To have range and endurance
at least equal to the international designs, the frigate should be diesel powered with a
cruise speed of around 18 knots and top speed of 28 knots.

Perhaps the frigates can be built with an empty CICnot for operational swaps
of modules in the manner planned for the LCS, but to facilitate defensive soft kill and
point defense upgrades and command systems for offensive missile strikes, and for
controlling off-board deception devices in UAVs or USVs.
Table 2 includes 90 fleet frigates costing $400M each.

To replace the lost land-attack capability of DDG vertical launchers we include a

force of 20 land-attack missile corvettes. Each ship carries 50 Tomahawk-like missiles.
The corvettes would be much more easy to upgrade and less expensive to replace than a
CG or DDG. Single purpose and austere, against most enemies they can remain silent and
hard to detect until the time to launch an attack. Unlike DDGs and CGs, which must
radiate for self-defense, these ships can be electronically silent until ordered to attack.
The corvettes are like mini-Arsenal ships, which were to have carried 500
missiles. The arsenal ship had too much value in one vessel and faced the problem that
when it began shooting its position would be known and it would be subject to
counterattack. The stealthy land attack corvette will not have as much firepower, so has a
better chance to escape counterfire after revealing its position. The land attack corvette
can be operated in a task group in numbers suited to the mission. It can be embedded in a
task group if the enemy threatens to attack at sea, or it can be in a dispersed disposition to
make the enemy unsure whether he has detected all threatening ships. A compact task
group with a land-attack mission might consist of four missile corvettes carrying 200
improved Tomahawk land attack missiles (TLAMs), plus a CVL, a DDG, and two
new frigates.

The new fighting machineas a system of systemsmust be just as alert to

tactical advancements as it is to supporting transitional national policies and, if possible,
a sturdy and endurable maritime strategy for the armed forces.
We have said the smallest tactical unit should, by doctrine, be a mutually
supporting pair of similar or complementary ships. An example is the tactical teaming by
the PLA-N of an offensive strike ship with a defensive SAM ship. As the more numerous
new fighting machine evolves it will be easier to assemble task groups in units of two,
four, or six ships and task forces of eight, 12, or 16. A tactical pair cannot eliminate, but
can reduce, the danger of surprise attack. A pair can cooperate by having one ship in
search mode (and detectable), while the other is silent, but alert to act. This is not the
place to show the many benefits, but it is appropriate to point out that thinking in tactical
pairs and larger formations has been largely lost in the process of developing expensive,
multipurpose warships.


The 313-ship Navy includes 20 auxiliaries, including two fleet command ships.
We have made no effort to examine how this component might change as the new
fighting machine is developed, and leave the numbers and costs unchanged.


Build DDGs at a limited rate, sufficient to keep one shipbuilders line

open, and to keep technology current, but with the intent of reducing the
Aegis force to 30 warships within 25 years. The steady state force of 30
ships costs $60B, so the SCN per year for a 30-year combat life is $2.0B.
Introduce several affordable frigate designs of 2,500 to 3,000 tons and
about 25 knots, with the goal of creating a force of 90 ships at a unit cost
of $400M. Essential features are at least eight upgraded TASMs (tactical
Antiship Missiles), strong close-in defense, and a modern ASW suite. The
ships will emphasize sea strikes and ASW. Each must carry a helicopter or
pair of UAVs.
Design and build simple corvettes carrying about 50 land-attack
missilesupgraded TLAMs as it were. They are not fast, but 25 knots is
desirable. They operate in silence, with any radiating platform being in the
air or scores of miles away. Because of their simplicity and American
shipbuilder design experience with stealth properties, the first design will
probably be very much like the final one.
Merely for completeness we include here a component of 20 auxiliaries.
The numbers and costs are unchanged from the 313-ship Navy plan.

Table 2 summarizes the blue water fleets numbers and costs as described in
Chapters IV, V, VI, and VII.


Table 2.

The Blue Water Fleet Component

25 yrs
25 yrs
Observe that at $5B+ the 80 subs take 40% of the blue water budget. 41
50 yrs
Deliver and
An intricate calculation driven by how far, fast, and often the demand. Serves Army, Navy,
and Special Forces, with a mix of RoRo, Container, HSV, heavy lift, and prepositioning
ships. 42
40 yrs
CVN (70a/c)
Power projection capability of even 6 CVNs is massive.
40 yrs
CVL (20a/c)
Same design as green CVLs, but intended to carry F-35B STOVL JSFs (Joint Strike
Fighters). 44
40 yrs
Land Attack
A miniature Arsenal Ship carrying 50 next-generation land-attack missiles. Escorted when
needed. Inexpensive even if a $200M cost estimate is low. 45
30 yrs
(Fewer because (1) ASCMs are winning the dual between offensive and defensive missiles
and (2) DDGs will not make land attacks.
30 yrs
Carries a substantial ASCM load, a good deep water ASW system, and a well-integrated hard
and soft kill point defense.
40 yrs
CLF Ship
No change from 313-ship Navy. This is a potential Achilles heel. 46
35 yrs
No change to these cats and dogs ships from the 313-ship Navy plan.
Totals: 411 ships. Total Cost $388.4B SCN $12.2B/year.
Ship or Craft

Unit Cost

# Units

Fleet Cost

41 Submarines will be marvelously useful in twenty-first century sea warfare. Only the cost of SSNs
has held back a larger fleet.
42 An average 50-year service life because, unlike amphibious ships, some can be tied up at a pier or
placed in the RRF when not employed in operations.
43 The number and type of a/c carried is an operational and an affordability issue.
44 A big reason the CVLs time has come is the potential of high performance STOVL; also, the

prospective role of long-range UAVs.

45 The goal is to get land-attack missiles off DDGs and let specialized ships perform the specialized

mission. SSGNs are a secure, but costly, alternative. By carrying 150 LAMs they have much
less flexibility.
46 Combat Logistics Force ship requirements can be computed closely. A distributable 411-ship blue
water fleet may take more CLF ships than 313 ships. Also, since there is no slack, an enemy may regard
them as an Achilles heel.






Strategic deterrence ships are not in the bimodal force because the Navy
component is only one element of national deterrence. Still, until this year
their cost has been included in the 313-ship Navy, so their cost is included
herebut constrained to 10% of SCN. 47
The size of the Navys strategic deterrence element is not, or ought not to
be, the Navys choice. Nor should the Navy pay for it.


The next generation SSBN construction cost is extraordinarily uncertain. A recent

Navy plan prices each ship at $3.6B. Another credible source says each will cost $5B or
more. A recent CSBA study estimates it will be cost $6.5B. We use $4.5B; hoping that
cost is high and believing that no fundamentally new capabilities need be developed.
A more transformational but plausible possibility is to augment the fleet of nine
SSBN submarines with very stealthy surface ships carrying offensive ballistic missiles.
The ships would be considerably less expensive and more numerous, and carry enough
missiles to bring the sea based forces capacity up to desired requirement for ballistic
missile attacks against shore targets. The ships would look like container ships and be
capable of changing their appearance quickly to aid in deception. If the next generation
SSBN(X) costs as much as $6.5B, a lower cost alternative seems worth exploring. Since
their procurement and conversion cost should be quite small, a protective screen of one or
two consorts could probably be employed and be less expensive than a new SSBN(X).
It is necessary to include the defensive component, which in the fighting machine
is a force of DDGs modified for ballistic missile defense (BMD). We treat these DDGs as
highly trained and dedicated to such a demanding task, so they must be single-purpose
and cannot double as defenders against ASCM attacks. In some theaters, BMD ships will
themselves have to be defended or embedded in a task force. We do not charge the cost
of protection because the screen ships would often be free for other tasks. The unit cost
we assign of $2.2B may be low. The CGX, with a much more capable new radar
detection and tracking system, would be far more expensive; probably triple the
DDG cost.

47 According to a Congressional Research Service Report this year, the Navys new (FY2009FY2038) cost estimate, unlike last years, does not include the cost of new ballistic missile submarines that
are included in the 30-year (shipbuilding) plan. Including the cost of these 12 SSBNs could increase the
average annual cost of the 30-year plan by $1.3B to $2.5B. A whimsical situation may arise in which
strategic offense ships are excluded from the Navys SCN budget, but defensive ships are included.




The 10% SCN budget will only buy nine SSBNs and nine DDG-BMDs
even when they are given a 40-year service life. A long-term, one-in-three
average on-station rotation provides only three SSBNs with 72 ICBMs
(Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles), absent a surge. With strategic
warning, a surge is practical and might achieve six or seven SSBNs at sea
to threaten with 144 or more ICBMs.
To put more than three BMD ships on station in a surge, the national
command authority would have to commit the DDGs in advance to the
right theater of operations. Presently, that is probably possible, with basing
in Japan or South Korea being logical. Nevertheless, DDGs carrying
SAMs for missile defense do not have the stationing flexibility of a
submarine with ICBMs.
The Navys role in nuclear war deterrence could well be bigger, of course,
and many technological advancements offer prospectively more effective
BMDs. But neither the requirements with the simpler ships, nor the new,
substantially more expensive and technologically advanced alternatives
can be purchased within an affordable Navy budget. This is just as true of
the 313-ship Navy as it is of the new fighting machine.
Table 3.


Unit Cost

Strategic Deterrence Fleet Component

# Units

Force Cost

Service Life
40.5 yrs
39.6 yrs 48

48 Longer than a DDG life because less stressful peacetime operations are anticipated.






Doubtless the structure herein is jarring to those content with the Navys current
emphasis on power projection and faith in a continuing sanctuary at sea. Nevertheless,
insofar as possible, the new fighting machine comprises only well-developed and tested
capabilities responding to current circumstances in the spirit of Bradley Fiskes goal of
unity between policy, strategy, and warship characteristics. We often illustrated the
fighting machines ship characteristics with existing foreign warships, especially
borrowing their ideas for coastal operations. We also drew from nascent domestic
attempts to create a more distributed force.
Nowhere does the new fighting machine depend upon technological innovations
such as the sensors, SAMs, and command-control for advances in BMD; directed energy
weapons, rail guns, robots, dirigibles with surveillance radars, and exotic hull forms. On
the other hand, we believe that future changes will be easier to introduce and more
quickly in less expensive and more single-minded ships. The LCS modular construction
shows the way to an empty CIC in which the ASW, MIW, and antiswarm capability
each has its systems to plug in. An empty CIC can also be a space to put the latest C2
hardware and software in portable components, each with its own operators who have
already been trained at an experimental shore site (e.g., Dahlgren, Virginia, or
Moorestown, New Jersey). A possible stumbling block is the need for appropriate
antennae. Nevertheless, there are already van-based communications suites in the Army
and Air Force that include antennae. Why not have an empty bay for combat-IT vans and
places to locate antennae topside? The point is that hard-wired electronics suites are the
dominant cost of modern warship construction and conversion. If warships must have
40-year combat lives, then rapid adaptation must be a built-in feature.
The pervasive influence of information technology and its effect can reshape the
fleet of the future in ways not heretofore discussed. Networking advances now underway
are more realistic than those promoted by champions of a totally integrated, network
centric warfare. An orderly transition, rather than a transformation driven from the
top down, is in progress. Those working in or teaching information operations may think
the progress is too slow and inefficient, but it is happening. The changes have included
the exploitation of the commercial web, and satellites for navigation, communication
and surveillance.
On the other hand, transformational potential is utterly constrained by the speed
at which advances in information technology make hard-wired systems like Aegis,
aircraft electronics, and inflexible systems like NMCI obsolescent at birth. A positive
example is the AN/SPS-73 radar: a Coast Guard-Navy product that is a blend of COTS
(Commercial Off-the-Shelf), modern signal processing, and a flexible, adaptable
engineering design. A transformational navy design would explore highly innovative
directions with untried new technologies, not all of which would be in the warships. The
Army and Marine Corps in Iraq did not adapt as fast as the World War II Navy, but they
transformed their composition and tactics because they were taking casualties. Todays

U.S. Navy has not felt the pressure of casualties and enemy adaptability, and so there has
been an absence of demand pull. We believe a new navy fighting machine will encourage
the introduction of technologies pulled into the fleet quickly, with less of the red tape in
the budgeting and acquisition process when the ships are smaller with more
focused designs.


Admiral Bradley Fiske would find it more difficult to describe a coherent fighting
machine today than in 1916. First, the composition and mission of the fleet of battleships
for the decisive battle, cruisers for scouting, and destroyers for screening were simpler to
describe in the context of national policy, operations, tactics, and technology of the
day. 49 The nineteenth century Royal Navy that was the cornerstone of the Pax Britannica
until World War I could be easily described as (1) battleships deployed in a few critical
places; (2) cruisers distributed all around the world; (3) destroyers for offensive and
defensive torpedo-related tasks; and (4) flotillas of small craft for inshore warfare. To
describe the structure of our fleets roles, missions, and tasks today is a greater challenge.
Second, Navy Department authority and responsibility were simple to understand.
If the Secretary of the Navy wanted to change anything, he consulted with his Chief of
Naval Operations and Bureau Chiefs, got the endorsement of the President, sought
legislation by the Congress, and told the Secretary of the Army what the Navy was doing.
Today, we are challenged to identify the one or more decision makers that are
empowered to approve the actions we recommend.
Transitions are difficult, even after a new end point is established. The new
fighting machine, with the best of acceptance, will start to emerge in ten years and not be
complete for 20, at the earliest. To belabor the obvious, in ten years there will be
refinements, if not major changes, of policy, strategy, and technology. In 20 years the
desirable force for the next 20 years may have undergone severe modifications.
That being said, it is a truism that you must fight with the fleet you have. As
Hughes has written elsewhere, between the attacks on Pearl Harbor on 7 December 1941,
and the Marine assault at Tarawa less than two years later in November 1943, every
American ship type except minesweepers changed its purpose. Thanks to the pressure of
circumstance, the adaptability in the American sailor, and the forceful leadership which
saw the need, a radically different fighting machine was created for the Pacific theater.50
49 Fiske was the U.S. Navys renaissance man. He was so technologically proficient that he personally
designed the major caliber gun features and fire control systems to make W. S. Sims goal of continuous
aim fire a reality; he commanded ships and fleets of ships; and when ultimately he went to Washington he
was a critical member of the Navy progressives who got the Congress to create the Chief of Naval
Operations behind the back of Secretary of the Navy Josephus Daniels. See the editors Introduction to The
Navy as a Fighting Machine, Annapolis, Naval Institute Press, ix. Fiske was also a respected author. In his
Naval Institute Prize Winning Essay of 1905, American Naval Policy he foreshadowed his
comprehensive approach, reaching far beyond policy and strategy and devoting about one-third of the essay
to tactics, technology, and combat doctrine. Fiske was also President of the Naval Institute longer than
anyone else.
50 In the Atlantic, the Navys metamorphosis was different, but equally radical, in order to defeat the
U-boats and to deliver very large Army forces commencing with three simultaneous, semiopposed landings
in North Africa in November 1942.


In addition, many new types were conceived and built during the war to fill out the core
capabilities of the prewar Navy, including most of the ships and landing craft to empower
the amphibious landings in the sweep from Pearl Harbor to the Philippines, Iwo Jima,
and Okinawa.
It is a canard to say only ships designed to do everything are adaptive. The
opposite is closer to the truth. A multipurpose ship, like an Aegis cruiser, takes so long to
design and build it is obsolescent from the day it is commissioned. Simpler ships for
focused tasks can be designed and constructed more quickly.
Two stage systems adapt by changing their aircraft and missile suites. Although
carrier and SSBN size and potency have crept up in the name of economies of scale, in
fact the advancement of the first stage CV or Polaris submarine designs took place
slowly. That modern warships can be adapted as readily as the fleet that entered
World War II cannot be claimed and will depend upon the unknowable future, but the
weaknesses of the present fleetwhich is excessively focused on delivery of combat
power at an enemy on landillustrate that multipurpose ships have more difficulty in
confronting obsolescence or unsuitability than do smaller warships built to
simpler designs.



Until configured with ships in an affordable new fighting machine the fleet could
not be tested for scenarios in the middle. Using the force composition of Tables 1, 2,
and 3, it does not take deep study to conclude the new fighting machine is probably better
suited than the 313-ship Navy for many of the principal scenarios.
RussiaConfronting Russia is not a scenario envisioned in current defense
planning. Recent events, however, suggest that the role of the Navy in deterring or
containing Russian ambitions is once again pertinent. Here are some observations.
A fighting fleet with small combatants is better for forward operations in the
Baltic to support Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, and Sweden, or in the Black Sea to support
Romania, Bulgaria, Turkey, and Georgia. In the unlikely event that Russia again poses a
threat to NATO in the Atlantic, the addition of 90 ASW-oriented destroyers and a fleet of
twice as many submarines will probably be better suited to respond than the 313-ship
Navy. We cannot know the comparative value of AIP submarines in the shallow
North Cape waters and near Vladivostok in the Sea of Japan, but we venture that AIP
SSKs nicely complement SSNs if it is necessary to restore barriers against the Sovietcum-Russian submarine threat. That having been said, the confrontation with Russia is
essentially an issue for NATO ground forces, supplemented with the forces of a now
friendly Eastern Europe. The American Navys role today is not nearly as crucial in the
European theater as it is the in the Far East.
IranA military operation with ground forces, though a remote possibility, would
probably not involve an amphibious assault in the Strait of Hormuz, but would be safer
and easier by land, Iraq willing. For operations in the Arabian Gulf or to keep the Strait
clear and safe, small missile combatants and CVLs seem as well or better suited than
Aegis ships and CVNs, but if the large ships are needed to deliver massive strikes and

protect operations in the Strait in the initial stages, then they can be deployed for such a
major endeavor. Twenty small missile frigates are well suited for strikes from the
Arabian Sea, where the extreme concealment of SSGNs seems unnecessary and
perhaps undesirable.
North KoreaAgain the new fighting machine looks more attractive than the
313-ship Navy. The green water combatants can cooperate with South Korean naval units
in the Yellow Sea to defeat the numerous North Korean infiltrators. The AIP submarines
of the new fighting machine are as well or better suited to counter North Koreas
extensive nonnuclear submarine fleet. Although the threat of a Marine amphibious assault
on the east coast might be attractive in tying down North Korean army units, it is certain
to be opposed, is away from the wars center of gravity, and is a demanding operation
that seems unnecessary when U.S. and South Korean forces are already in place and their
most urgent task is the defense of the population center around Seoul. For air and missile
strikes against North Korean nuclear facilities and launch sites, one or two CVNs,
supplemented by a half-dozen dedicated, 50-missile, land-attack corvettes, would be a
formidable response to a North Korean ballistic missile attack in which BMD-DDGs
would also play a role.
Other Scenes of ActionPart of the argument for a bimodal force is that it is
difficult to find a high priority major regional contingency of the future involving large
scale land operations that match past QDR (Quadrennial Defense Review) scenarios. Let
us, however, choose a Venezuela-Colombia War as representative of a situation in which
we might wish to aid a friendly state (Colombia) and defeat a rogue state (Venezuela).
Our Army and Marine forces would join the Colombian Army in an attack via land, being
delivered and sustained through friendly Colombian ports. An offshore patrol would be
supplemented by submarines and a CVL task force to forestall support from Russia.
Venezuelan oil rigs and refineries would be subject to seizure by Special Forces delivered
from the sea.
The question of timeliness is always important in Navy planning, with the
concomitant desire to keep forces present for deterrence. Colombia-Venezuela illustrates
a potential contingency in which continuous presence will become increasingly difficult
for the 313-ship Navy, but less challenging for the new fighting machine.

This brief survey examines some wars in the middle, that are neither a war with
a peer (involving total effort and national mobilization) nor small, frequent, littoral
combat operations involving sealift and support of land forces of the nature of Panama,
Grenada, Lebanon, and Somalia. The Navys capability to prevent the former and support
the latter is what the bimodal force is designed to do. Capacity for other major
contingencies will not be risk free, but arguably sufficient within an affordable budget.




The participants in this study do not claim special wisdom. Our advantage is the
time to think, in a community informed in substantially all aspects of the Navy as a
system of systems. We bring continuity for analysis (of the constituent parts) and for the
more difficult synthesis, which is the cornerstone of an integrated fighting machine. We
have drawn on a large number of past ship designs under the guidance of naval architects
who led the Total Ship Systems Engineering curriculum. The military operations research
faculty have taught more than 25 years of campaign analysis, through the transition from
the Cold War, to emphasis on regional conflict and power projection in the 1990s, to the
new emphasis on irregular warfare and counterterrorism, learning in the process more
than the students. We have no naval history department, but we have a cadre of Naval
War College faculty who teach JPME Phase I from a broad background in naval art. We
stay abreast of naval thought not only through contact with young officers in our
classrooms but with senior officers in dozens of distance learning courses in the
Pentagon, the COCOMs, and research laboratories. Our students encompass all services,
civilians to include those in federal, state, and local law enforcement, and also a
substantial fraction of junior and senior international students. NPS has been a center of
technical and engineering studies since 1909, so that our culture is devoted to
understanding the capabilities and limitations of systems engineering methods,
information technology, weapon design and delivery, and command, both as a human
endeavor steeped in leadership and as a technological phenomenon steeped in the bits and
bytes of communication systems. All of this and more has helped us to think about the
aspects of a new navy fighting machine comprehensively. We believe we have delivered
an objective effort to fulfill Fiskes vision of a unified system of systems.
When Secretary Gates pointed out the Navy had shrunk in numbers too much, he
added that in tonnage the battle fleet is larger than the next thirteen navies combined.
Across the board, the most important goal of this study is to describe a more distributed
combat capability for sea control and the projection of national influence from the sea.
New components include:

CVLs for both blue and green water operational flexibility.

Land-attack missile ships, each carrying 50 missiles and numbering about
20 inexpensive vessels that can be deployed in pairs or task forces tailored
to the risks and demands.
A new class of AIP diesel submarines to complement the more expensive
SSNs for an increasingly important role in sea denial.
At least 12 dedicated naval gunfire support corvettes that can quickly and
affordably go where the ground action demands, be put at risk according
to circumstances on the ground, and more readily embrace new NGFS
technology when it is tested and ready to install.

High-speed mine clearance vessels that can be on station quickly to clear

the way for the operation.
A large number of smaller, less expensive frigates to complement a
smaller number of DDGs and boost surface combatant numbers at less
SCN cost.
At least nine single-purpose strategic defense BMD-DDGs for deterrence.

Create a more numerous fleet that adapts more rapidly to changing
circumstancesstrategic, operational, technological, and tacticalas well as to the phase
of the conflict being supported when it is a lengthy one of variable intensity.
A highly effective and flexible Theater Security and Coastal Combat fleet to
fulfill the green water part of the Cooperative Strategy for 21st Century Seapower can be
sustained with 10% of the SCN budget.
The first step is to create prototype vessels while, in parallel, adding the scouting,
C2, and logistical support, along with a professional corps of personnel to develop and
employ the new green water forces.
The above actions needed to rapidly create a comprehensive green water force are
so intricate that they demand a separate command. All actions, including the
establishment of the command, ought to be within the Secretary of the Navys mandate to
organize, train, and equip the Navy and Marine Corps.
We believe the single most important action to hasten the development of the
entire fighting machine is to create a strong, comprehensive command over green water
force design, development, tactics, and training. The Naval Expeditionary Combat
Command is the logical nucleus of knowledge and leadership to build upon.

The new command fosters the design and development of the green
water fleet.
In parallel, it develops compatible tactics.
It establishes professionalism in and protects career paths of the officers
and enlisted men devoted to coastal operations.
It develops coordinating doctrine with the blue water fleet, Marine Corps,
Coast Guard, USSOCOM, and geographic COCOMs.

It studies the ships and tactics of the successful coastal navies around the
world and tries to match them in ship quality, cost, and tactical
competency, while exceeding them in comprehensive capability
and numbers.

The Marine mission and emphasis has shifted from forcible entry by amphibious
assault to the kinds of roles it has been successful at since World War II: unsurpassed
ground combat and superior constabulary operations. A logical adjunct to these roles is
riverine warfare. Marines know better than the Navy the land-air-water relationships.
Return the riverine warfare mission and forces to the Marine Corps. Work out the
green/brown water interface for deltas and the logistical delivery and sustainment
relationship between the Navy and Marine Corps.
The blue water component should take 80% of the SCN budget. China is the
proper design focus. Sea control and maritime supremacy are the blue water fleets
indispensible roles. These two roles are exceedingly popular among most nations of the
world, as well as nongovernmental humanitarian organizations. The composition of the
complete blue and green water fleetincluding its air, missile, and logistical
componentsneeds to be tested against other possible threats and contingencies.
Superficially, at least, the new fighting machine seems better suited than the 313-ship
Navy to respond to:

Russian adventures.
Iranian threats.
Venezuelan ambitions.
Operational demands in both high and low risk waters such as the Yellow
Sea, Malacca Straits, Caribbean, Black Sea, Baltic Sea, and Arabian Gulf;
and cooperation with regional navies for theater security or
coastal combat.
Emerging needs to protect sea bed resources in many places around the
world. The new fighting machine seems well-suited for intervention in a
maritime crisis in, for example, the East and South China Seas.

Conduct explicit comparisons with the 313-ship Navy for these and any other
DoD contingencies, once the aircraft and the ISR (Intelligence, Reconnaissance, and
Surveillance) components have been added.

The new fighting machine should give equal priority to all ground forces for
amphibious lift, and delivery and sustainment of operations overseas. We observe that all
overseas operations have been jointly Army and Marine, sometimes accompanied by
Special Forces. The last opposed amphibious assault, at Inchon, was an Army-NavyMarine operation conceived and ordered by an Army General.
Make a concerted effort to promote greater public appreciation of a great success
story, namely the dependable, efficient, safe, and timely delivery and sustainment of land
forces overseas, including the air elements, by a maritime transportation system that has
never failed.
With 10% of the SCN allocated to strategic deterrence, the Navy can buy only
about nine SSBNs for offense and nine DDGs for defense against ballistic missiles. This
is before introducing any major technological advancements, which are likely to be
expensive. Paying for more ships, or more technologically advanced ones, intended for
nuclear war will gravely affect the blue and green water fleets.
A decision to reduce the SSBN force is a national decision and should be checked
against needs determined by USSTRATCOM, the JCS, the Secretary of Defense, and the
National Security Council. There is longstanding recognition of the SSBN role, but not of
the rising importance of Navy ballistic missile defense. The budget implications may be
profound and unwelcome to the Navy.
Significant SCN changes are involved if the new fighting machine resonates with
decision makers in the Navy, and if more emphasis on a national maritime strategy
appeals to Defense and Congressional leadership. Although the structure is an internally
consistent response to world conditions, it is not necessary that every component be
accepted, all or nothing as it were.
To the contrary, the best way to proceed is to begin with individual elements of
the fighting machine at once, so existing and not-yet-designed components can be
deployed in prototype quantities and tested with new, compatible tactics. For example:


SSNs must become proficient in attacking surface ships in the China Seas.
Forward basing locations must be found for new AIP submarines, which
play complementary roles with SSNs and must be adept at shallow water
operations. SSNs, with their highly regarded operational mobility, can still
be exploited for a variety of missions where needed, but all U.S.
submarines should be proficient ship killers, and China should know this.
Offensive mining is a neglected capability with great leverage that ought
to play an important role in the American sea denial capabilities. Against
China, only submarines can lay the mines, and new and suitable mobile
mines will have to be developed to fulfill their potential to further
complicate Chinas growing need to use the seas.
The first CVL prototype should, if at all possible, be in commission
simultaneously with the first squadrons of F-35B STOVL aircraft, in order
to find out whether ship and aircraft are compatible for blue water
operations. To be the basis of an independent force, the CVL task group
must have a surveillance system for early warning, probably less capable
than a Navy E-2 or Air Force E-3, but unquestionably able to conduct
scouting missions and detect targets approaching.
The second CVL should be tested in littoral operations in which
helicopters, STOVLs, and UAVs are employed over water and land. The
tests should be completed by the time the more expensive LHAs and
LHDs reach the end of service life. The third CVL should be employed in
a two-carrier task force with a CVN, to enhance the big decks strike
performance, to add flexibility in a variety of littoral scenarios with
different aircraft mixes, and perhaps to augment ASW protection.
Vigorously pursue the roles of UAVs and their complementarity with
manned aircraft. Assiduously guard the Navys authority to develop
unmanned vehiclesto include surface, subsurface, and autonomous
vehiclesby pointing out the uniqueness of maritime theaters and
naval operations.
Create a squadron of first generation inshore combatants as soon as
possible. Since the cost is relatively modest, the initial lot might be a
foreign purchase or lease. U.S. shipbuilders should be encouraged to
collaborate in American refinements at affordable costs, in the certain
knowledge that the green water navy is a permanent component of the
twenty-first century fleet. The Swedish Visby class is a suitable, but
expensive, example, and squadrons of the Chinese Houbei class have the
threat characteristics against which to test our inshore combat capability
and work out coordinated air/surface tactics.
Develop, by inexpensive trial and error, several inshore patrol craft
designs that can be deployed and supported overseas in suitable numbers
to empower the several activities specified in the Seapower Strategy to
hasten the development of navies for their own coastal security.


Negotiate doctrine with the USCG for coastal patrol and harbor defense. In line
with domestic and overseas functions, the doctrine might specify the Coast Guard as the
supported command for U.S. territory and the Navy as the supported command for
overseas operations. Agreements for augmentation of each service by the other in crisis
situations will aid in fast response.
Ships alone are not the fleet. However, it seems appropriate to use the ships of the
new fighting machine as the basis of the comprehensive design and costing.
Action Regarding Force Design
In parallel with designing, constructing, and training the ship components, test its
sufficiency as a system, using the methods of tactical and campaign analysis. In
particular, compare the new fighting machine with the 313-ship Navy to constrain not
only China, but Russia, Iran, North Korea, and all other speculative or programmatic
opponents involving major combat.
Action for Long Wars
Conduct a series of strategy games at the war colleges, especially the highly
respected games at the Naval War College, with emphasis on achieving end states of the
wars, rather than deterrence of, or the opening salvoes in, such wars. Use the Army-Navy
Rainbow Plans of the 1920s as a paradigm for developing hard-nosed strategies to win
over time. Pursue hypothetical wars with China, Russia, Iran, or other states of interest to
a conclusion. The intention is to better understand the consequences of military actions
on the seas, in the air, on the ground, and with nuclear weapons. What does it mean to
prevail, what reactions is it realistic to expect from adversaries in each case, and what
are the economic and social consequences of wars waged in alternative ways? What
strategy has the best chance of a negotiated de-escalation once guns are fired? Our recent
experience is that shock and awe with high technology weapons is an inadequate
strategic capability to bring a war to a rapid conclusion against enemies who have learned
how to exploit American impatience. The JCS and COCOMs might object that this is
their responsibility. Their evaluations would be exceedingly welcome, but their
operational responsibilities and the need to develop executable war plans with their
existing forces make it difficult for the staffs to find time for such analysis.
Action for Small Wars
The Secretary of Defenses staff should promote greater awareness of studies of
small, rapidly concluded, successful operations (e.g., Grenada and Panama) to better
understand why they were brief and why we regard them as successful. Also review
operational failures, such as the aborted Iranian Rescue Mission, and contrast it with

quick successes, such as the Entebbe Raid. Thirdly, promote greater awareness of
thoroughly studied guerrilla wars as notably long lasting, a fact that should be, but
apparently is not, well known. Everyone in a position of executive authority should have
a solid appreciation of what military actions succeeded, what constituted success, and
how long it took to achieve these successes in the small wars of the twentieth century.
We believe that since Theater Security is now an essential component of the American
twenty-first century strategy, knowledge of these operations is as important as knowledge
of how to win large, decisive campaigns and wars.




DDG 1000

Force Structure
7 (legacy)
4 (legacy)

Service Life

Average Ships/Year





Source: CAPT Douglas Otte, USN, NPS Chair of Warfare Innovation. Taken from an
OPNAV briefing in 2008.





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