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Suggested Citation:"1 Introduction." National Research Council. 1997. Technology for the United States Navy and Marine Corps, 2000-2035 Becoming a 21st-Century Force: Volume 6: Platforms. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/5839.
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1
Introduction

The terms of reference for this study charged the Panel on Platforms to examine how new directions in technology development can be brought to bear to enhance the effectiveness of future naval platforms, taking note of recent changes in the national security environment (threat, tasking, resources) and those that can be expected to occur in the future. The panel concluded that (1) resource availability will be the controlling factor; (2) the threat will remain diffuse in origin and broad in scope, with a consequent need for a viable, up-to-date naval force structure; and (3) the Navy and Marine Corps missions in the uncertain future will continue to be defined broadly as the application of sea power in the national interest.

From that foundation of real funding constraints, ill-defined but worrisome threats, and continuity in the basic mission of the Department of the Navy, the panel addressed, in terms of surface, air, and subsurface platforms, the specific charges in the terms of reference for the application of emergent technologies to do the following:

  1. Enhance capabilities, and identify Navy-unique R&D needs;

  2. Concentrate on defense against information and electronic warfare;

  3. Treat mine and submarine warfare as serious future threats;

  4. Advance cruise and ballistic missile offense and defense;

  5. Improve capabilities across the range of weaponry;

  6. Evaluate the suitability of propulsion systems to future missions, and consider environmental issues;

  7. Consider requirements for nontraditional roles;

Suggested Citation:"1 Introduction." National Research Council. 1997. Technology for the United States Navy and Marine Corps, 2000-2035 Becoming a 21st-Century Force: Volume 6: Platforms. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/5839.
×
  1. Optimize the efficient and effective use of personnel;

  2. Evaluate technology to enhance quality of life; and

  3. Review the merits of modeling and simulations.

OPERATIONS OTHER THAN WAR

The changed security environment will mean that the Navy and Marine Corps will be tasked increasingly with nontraditional, noncombat missions. Such operations other than war (OOTW) include the following:

  • Humanitarian or noncombatant evacuation;

  • Search and rescue or disaster response;

  • Response to environmental threats;

  • Fisheries enforcement;

  • Piracy prevention;

  • Counternarcotics operations;

  • Military assistance;

  • Tanker escort;

  • Information warfare and communications intelligence;

  • Embargo enforcement;

  • Smuggling interdiction;

  • Biological or chemical material interdiction;

  • Nuclear weapons or nuclear material interdiction;

  • Actions to counter insurgency, coups, and uprisings; and

  • Bomb detection.  

It is possible that OOTW missions will represent the major portion of the deployed time of future naval platforms throughout their operating lives. Accordingly, OOTW mission requirements should be taken into consideration in the design of future platforms, and the Navy Department research and development portfolio should include technology development targeted at these requirements. OOTW missions may require the following:

  • Special outfitting of ships and submarines including methods for rapidly and safely deploying and retrieving boarding teams and high-speed watercraft, medical triage facilities, disease control or quarantine methods and equipment, multipurpose interchangeable general-purpose spaces, underwater visual capabilities and equipment, pollution control or containment methods and equipment, special weapons, detainment methods, magazines, and other unique law enforcement tools and off-ship firefighting equipment;

  • Off-board or remote and on-board identification and detection capabilities (night vision, infrared, long-range visual, x-ray) for counternarcotics operations,

Suggested Citation:"1 Introduction." National Research Council. 1997. Technology for the United States Navy and Marine Corps, 2000-2035 Becoming a 21st-Century Force: Volume 6: Platforms. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/5839.
×

  human bodies, bomb and nuclear material, chemical and biological material, seismographic activity, and so forth;

  • Enhanced, specialized connectivity, communications, and data links with nontraditional sources (intelligence, law enforcement, medical, and communications intelligence missions); and

  • Close-in maneuverability and navigation capabilities and efficient ingress and egress routes.

OBJECTIVES FOR TECHNOLOGICAL ADVANCE

In identifying key enabling technologies that would benefit the Navy and Marine Corps, the panel kept in mind three principles throughout the course of the study:

  1. In aggregate, the selected technologies must contribute to life-cycle cost reduction. For example, performance improvements are desirable, but not if they seriously jeopardize the life-cycle cost reduction goal.

  2. Each technology must make a significant difference. Marginal improvements have been rejected as not being worth the cost.

  3. Essential mission capabilities should not be eroded.

The panel sees no technology "showstoppers" that would prevent the Navy from making substantial improvements in the design of future naval platforms. Rather, the impediments to change come from culture and policy as well as budget constraints if funds allocated to technology development turn out to be either inadequate or unstable over time. The panel anticipates that the principal problem will be that of countering the natural human tendency to resist change—a trait reinforced in the several platform communities by an understandable reluctance to give up that which is seen as familiar, useful, reliable, combat proven, and essential to one's professional career. Further, the panel expects that responsible operational commanders and those in Washington, responding to systems requirements generated by the fleet, will exhibit skepticism over changes along the lines of those offered here, particularly if they are seen as too dramatic or too quickly forgoing familiar and proven types of ships, submarines, and air vehicles. Such skepticism is viewed by the panel as being healthy and useful to the development of a cost-efficient future naval force that builds on current capability.

In its deliberations, the panel made no attempt to match technology recommendations with anticipated specific future threats and possible political scenarios. Trying to predict trends and events far in the future was outside the scope of its activities. Instead, the panel focused on technologies that, if developed and applied, could rectify current deficiencies, improve overall combat capabilities, apply across a broad range of missions and platforms, and reduce acquisition and

Suggested Citation:"1 Introduction." National Research Council. 1997. Technology for the United States Navy and Marine Corps, 2000-2035 Becoming a 21st-Century Force: Volume 6: Platforms. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/5839.
×

operating costs. Further, the panel believed that the Navy Department should not attempt now to predict or ordain what kinds of platforms to buy for the year 2035. Instead, the prudent cost-beneficial approach is to lay out a sound plan to develop the recommended enabling technologies and then, as success is demonstrated, begin to formulate platform concepts that exploit the potential these technologies offer.

Suggested Citation:"1 Introduction." National Research Council. 1997. Technology for the United States Navy and Marine Corps, 2000-2035 Becoming a 21st-Century Force: Volume 6: Platforms. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/5839.
×
Page 9
Suggested Citation:"1 Introduction." National Research Council. 1997. Technology for the United States Navy and Marine Corps, 2000-2035 Becoming a 21st-Century Force: Volume 6: Platforms. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/5839.
×
Page 10
Suggested Citation:"1 Introduction." National Research Council. 1997. Technology for the United States Navy and Marine Corps, 2000-2035 Becoming a 21st-Century Force: Volume 6: Platforms. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/5839.
×
Page 11
Suggested Citation:"1 Introduction." National Research Council. 1997. Technology for the United States Navy and Marine Corps, 2000-2035 Becoming a 21st-Century Force: Volume 6: Platforms. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/5839.
×
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