Part II

Overview Discussion



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Technology for the United States Navy and Marine Corps, 2000-2035: Becoming a 21st-Century Force Part II Overview Discussion

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Technology for the United States Navy and Marine Corps, 2000-2035: Becoming a 21st-Century Force This page in the original is blank.

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Technology for the United States Navy and Marine Corps, 2000-2035: Becoming a 21st-Century Force 4 Introduction The present period appears to the nation to be a relatively quiet time in international affairs. There is no major war under way, U.S. involvement in international quarrels is oriented toward establishing and keeping the peace, and we see no imminent threat to our national well-being and survival. The nation's interest and energies are focused on the development of the civilian society and on the economy and its relationships with economic developments on the international scene. However, appearances can be deceiving, with ferment below current thresholds of general notice. The past century saw U.S. involvement in two World Wars and the Cold War. Although the size and capability of U.S. and allied forces, and favorable developments in international relations among the major powers, kept the Cold War from erupting into a third World War, it nevertheless included two “hot” wars, in Korea and Vietnam, that were of considerable magnitude if measured by the number of military casualties and civilian deaths, and it was followed immediately by the need to fight another war with large forces, in the Persian Gulf region, when major U.S. interests abroad were threatened. The coming period is fraught with international tensions that carry risks of deterioration in similar directions, if not met resolutely and with appropriate national security forces. Chapter 5 of this report reviews this ferment and shows that, given the trends in development and diffusion of military technology and capability in the evolving world political scene, this is not a time to be complacent or to let our collective guard down. Rather, it must be considered a time of respite in which we can build to meet challenges that will surely arise as the new century unfolds. The world of international politics and national security in which the armed

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Technology for the United States Navy and Marine Corps, 2000-2035: Becoming a 21st-Century Force forces play a key part often changes much more rapidly than the armed forces can be changed. A great deal of adaptability must therefore be incorporated into the armed forces from the start. Their form, modes of operation, and military capability are driven in large part by the technology available to be incorporated into them as they are built, whether that technology is available from the civilian world or is developed explicitly for the armed forces. Continual review of the nation's strategic situation, the state of the armed forces and the trends in their development, and both their current and projected future suitability to help ensure the nation's security in emerging strategic situations, is thus an essential part of the construction and maintenance of effective armed forces. The study reported on here contributes to such a review for the naval forces —the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps. At the time of the 1988 Naval Studies Board projections of the naval forces' future,1 the international political world was already in transition from the world of the Cold War. Nevertheless, it still appeared that the main challenge to the naval forces would come from the Soviet Union, although changing world conditions made it clear that naval force operations in what was then called “the Third World” would become increasingly important. An update of the 1988 study, published in 1993,2 recognized that with the shattering of the Soviet Union into constituent states in 1991 and the consequent waning of the military threat that the USSR had posed to the United States and its allies, international political, economic, and military activity in many other quarters of the world would have a growing impact on U.S. national security. It was found that, in general, naval forces' developmental trends were moving in directions appropriate to the changing strategic situation. An important concern expressed at the time was the need for national recognition that the collapse of the Soviet Union had neither eliminated threatening Soviet systems in case of a resurgence of hostility nor obviated other military threats to U.S. national security, and that the strength of the evolving naval forces would have to be sustained over the long term. The outcome of the Navy-21 update was consistent with the results of the Bottom Up Review (BUR)3 of all the armed forces' status undertaken at about the same time. After that review, the need to sustain the armed forces' size and readiness to engage in two major regional conflicts nearly simultaneously (based on dangers seen in the Middle East and in Korea) dictated that with defense budgets tightening steadily, force modernization would be slowed significantly. 1   Naval Studies Board. 1988. Navy-21: Implications of Advancing Technology for Naval Operations in the Twenty-First Century, National Academy Press, Washington, D.C.. 2   Naval Studies Board. 1993. Navy-21 Update: Implications of Advancing Technology for Naval Operations in the Twenty-First Century, National Academy Press, Washington, D.C. 3   U.S. General Accounting Office. 1995. Bottom-Up Review: Analysis of Key DOD Assumptions, NSIAD-95-56, Washington, D.C., January 31.

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Technology for the United States Navy and Marine Corps, 2000-2035: Becoming a 21st-Century Force Now, with a congressionally mandated Quadrennial Defense Review4 just completed, it appears that the national military strategy might well be adjusted to give higher priority to modernization because, as was recognized from the beginning, needed modernization could not be deferred indefinitely. Despite the lower priority accorded to modernization after the BUR, the development of the naval forces has not remained static. The Marine Corps has been developing a bold new concept known as Operational Maneuver From the Sea that capitalizes on new capabilities being acquired in aviation, in amphibious ships and landing craft, and in naval fire support.5 The Navy has developed cooperative engagement capabilities among networked defenses at sea and ashore that greatly strengthen the naval forces' ability to defend both sea and land forces against attack by stealthy aircraft and missiles. The Navy has also originated the concept and begun acquisition of an “arsenal ship” that can be a base for launching missiles against land, sea, and air targets on command from elsewhere in the fleet, in a networked mode similar to that of the cooperative engagement capabilities for defense. Both Services in the naval forces are working on technical and operational measures to reduce the number of personnel in “overhead” activities that support the fighting forces while strengthening the ability of fewer people to provide such support—the Navy in ship and base design; the Marines in logistic support for operational maneuver forces ashore. At the same time, both Services are also increasingly contributing to and becoming embedded in the joint and national intelligence and information networks being built to support expeditionary operations by all the forces in a theater. Although these developments are impressive, especially in view of the severe financial constraints under which they have been taking place, they have not yet been fully integrated into new concepts of total naval force design, nor are they being supported in a manner or at a level that would enable the rapid evolution of integrated naval forces in keeping with the strategic demands that the future will place on them. Moreover, technology in the civilian world is developing rapidly in many directions, and this technology will affect the evolution of the naval forces. They will have to rely heavily on civilian technology, and will have to devise new ways to meet technological challenges in areas in which we were able to maintain a dominant position during the Cold War era, but in which such a position is no longer assured. The purpose of the present study is to explore these concerns in depth, to help the naval forces arrive at integrated plans that will best help them meet the nation's potential strategic needs. Much can happen in the 35- to 40-year time period covered by the study, but different aspects of events will occur at differ- 4   Office of the Secretary of Defense. 1997. Report of the Quadrennial Defense Review, Washington, D.C., May. 5   Naval Studies Board. 1996. The Navy and Marine Corps in Regional Conflict in the 21st Century, National Academy Press, Washington, D.C.

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Technology for the United States Navy and Marine Corps, 2000-2035: Becoming a 21st-Century Force ent rates, as will the advance of different applications of technology. As we have seen many times during the 20th century, 5 to 10 years can be a long time in the international strategic arena. At the other end of the scale, some of the newer major Navy platforms, such as nuclear-powered aircraft carriers currently under construction, can be expected to have a useful service life extending beyond the 40-year time horizon of the study. Other areas of technical capability will advance at generational turnover rates varying from 1 or 2 years to 1 or 2 decades. Thus, the study covers perhaps one generational change of major Navy ships; one or two generations of combat and support aircraft and of weapon system technology; several generations of information and computing technology; and several generations of technology and process in training, utilizing, and caring for the personnel of the naval forces. This uneven advance of events, forces, and the forces' constituent parts contributes to the difficulty of creating forces for an uncertain future. Conservative planners, unable to foretell the future with any degree of confidence, may be reluctant to give up tried and tested capabilities for new ones with which there has been little or no experience. This has always been true. Nevertheless, advancing technology does lead to distinctly different kinds of naval forces from one generation to the next. In the 40 years from 1865 to 1905 the Navy changed from a force of mainly sailing frigates to one built around dreadnaughts, and from that to one built around carrier aviation in another 40 years. Nuclear submarines and guided missiles for all purposes flourished in the subsequent 4 decades. The ground forces moved from horse cavalry to armor in 40 years, and from armor to heliborne assault in a similar time period. This study attempts to show what the next generation of integrated naval force capability can become, taking account of the technical and operational risks involved in changing from one kind of system to the next. The study deals with four areas of concern that will be fundamental to Department of the Navy planning for future forces: The international security environment over the period 2000 to 2035; Technological opportunities during the period 2000 to 2035—technologies that the naval forces can use, consequent changes in the forces' composition, and how newly constituted forces could operate; Shaping the naval forces of 2000 to 2035—describing the technology-based capability that must be made available to enable them to meet the challenges of the anticipated environment most effectively, and to hedge against uncertainty; and The implications for Department of the Navy force planning and force building. The remainder of this volume deals in turn with each of these major areas of concern. The reports of the eight separate panels published in an additional eight volumes (see Box P.1 in the Preface) provide the details of the technologies and

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Technology for the United States Navy and Marine Corps, 2000-2035: Becoming a 21st-Century Force their applications that are likely to contribute to shaping the naval forces' capabilities over the time period of interest. Included in those reports are detailed recommendations for actions to advance the naval forces' technological and derivative operational capabilities in each of the areas covered. This overview report describes and discusses the overall, integrated approach to force evolution that emerged from the study, and presents the key areas requiring the attention of the Navy Department's top management and commands to ensure effective implementation.