description of Navy and Marine Corps operating doctrine in a paper entitled ''Forward…From the Sea."1

With the end of the Cold War, the potential threats that the Navy and Marine Corps must be prepared to counter have become significantly more diverse. The unpredictability of the timing, direction, and lethality of various potential adversaries requires the Navy Department to maintain both a sufficient force structure and an adequate pace of modernization. Since it is impossible to predict precisely the military environment of 2035, the planner must provide technologies that can be adopted and adapted to support concepts that emerge as time passes.


The Navy Department will have to create new platform concepts capable of performing its missions in a timely and cost-effective way. The challenges faced by the Navy and Marine Corps in this era are similar to those faced by the Navy in making the transition from sail to steam and, later, to carrier jet aircraft. Addressing these challenges will require the following actions:

  • A commitment to depart from traditional solutions,

  • A concerted effort to develop enabling technologies, and

  • A plan to make the transition from the old to the new.  

Each of these tenets is reflected in the recommendations made in this report.

The Navy has adapted to its sharply reduced budget by decommissioning ships and aircraft that still have significant operational capability. In the context of this downsizing of U.S. naval forces, a decision was made to support the production base in Navy-unique technology and production capabilities. Shipbuilding is a case in point. There is a two-edged sword at play here. On the one hand, there is a need to maintain momentum in the shipbuilding industry in the face of reduced procurement. On the other, decreased procurement volume drives unit cost up.

To offset and regain funds for recapitalization it is essential for the Navy Department to have a comprehensive plan that minimizes manning, infrastructure, and all life-cycle support costs. Ideally, this should be coupled to a broad agreement with DOD and Congress to allow recaptured funds to be applied to the Navy and Marine Corps recapitalization program.


The Panel on Platforms concluded that there is a set of common thrusts—stealth,


Department of the Navy. 1994. "Forward…From the Sea," U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington, D.C.

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