Now the reason the enlightened prince and the wise general conquer the enemy whenever they move and their achievements surpass those of ordinary men is foreknowledge. What is called “foreknowledge” cannot be elicited from spirits, nor from the gods, nor by analogy with past events, nor from calculations. It must be obtained from men who know the enemy situation.

Sun Tzu, Employment of Secret Agents, pp. 144-145

As I observe the maritime domain I see three major evolutions in scouting: electronic, visual, and physical. Electronic scouting is often associated with techniques such as signals, sonar, and radar, but includes any electronic mechanism that allows for the detection of enemy forces based on many various forms of electronic enabled detection technologies. Visual scanning is often associated with image intelligence, and while this form of scouting was previously primarily associated with satellite and manned aviation platforms, growth in this form of scouting is occurring at a rapid pace with unmanned systems including unmanned aviation vehicles. Physical scouting is emerging as a quiet but intense challenge with new focus being given to VBSS operations. Physical scouting requires a sailor physically at the point of contact with the suspected enemy to perform a physical inspection that might require language skills as well as skills for uncovering concealed or smuggled materials which might include anything from weapons to drugs to people. Physical scouting is evolving primarily because of more restrictive Rules of Engagement by naval forces at sea.

Depending upon the challenge facing naval forces, any of the three types of scouting may be more important than the others, which is why all three forms of scouting require diligence in development, resourcing, and implementation in order for naval forces to maintain credible scouting capabilities. Today, the Navy tends to spend more development and resources into the implementation of both electronic and visual scouting than physical scouting, and this weakness in our scouting development requirements are being exploited by inferior foes in the maritime domain.

In his timeless book Fleet Tactics and Coastal Combat, Captain Wayne P. Hughes Jr. notes a constant in the history of naval battles suggesting “antiscouting and its likely exploitation have become major constraints on enemy scouting effectiveness.” He notes that “antiscouting became possible when scouting started to be carried out at long range to account for the phenomenal growth in weapon range. Antiscouting by cover, deception, and evasion would now aim at limiting detection, tracking, and targeting.” He associates familiar terms with the concepts of cover, deception, and evasion. In the context of Navy forces stealth means cover, distortion and disinformation means deception, and obfuscation means evasion.

The United States Navy has spent a fortune in hull forms towards the development of stealth technology for surface vessels, but I question whether the Navy truly understands what stealth on the sea means. Under the sea a submarine achieves stealth by using water as a means of cover to avoid visual and physical detection, and leverages silence as a way to avoid detection by electronic detection means. In both sky and space our stealth aviation platforms are dark to the night sky and conceal contrails to avoid visual and physical detection, while using special materials and platform design to avoid electronic detection.

The Navy has attempted to design a ship incorporating silence, special materials, and special platform design characteristics as a way of avoiding electronic detection. The Navy paints the platform a special color to imply concealment in darkness against visual detection. At 14,500 tons and with a hull form straight out of a science fiction movie, I have no idea how the Navy believes they will achieve physical or visual detection avoidance with the DDG-1000 regardless of paint color, so clearly the concept of stealth was only applied to electronic detection only, and being that Captain Hughes defines stealth as cover, it raises the question why the concept of stealth is applied to the DDG-1000 at all.

The point is that the Navy has spent billions of dollars developing a design that will be so visibly strange to every seafarer in the world that absolutely nobody will fail to note what they are looking at, whether via a long range visual scouting tool or physically with the MK0 eyeball. When the Navy decided to put one of the most power intensive thus detectable radars in the world on the DDG-1000 platform, how the Navy believes they can avoid electronic detection in any high threat environment is questionable.

What really bothers me is that Captain Hughes book is one of the gospels of littoral warfare, and when designing a series of littoral warships the designers apparently disregarded what stealth, or cover, meant in the populated littorals. For a blue water force, low radar cross-section is an important form of cover because electronic detection is the scouting capability most often utilized in a blue water environment today, but for a littoral force, defeating visual and physical scouting are much more important for antiscouting stealth solutions, and both the DDG-1000 and LCS are absent any charactoristics that would provide a stealth solution against either form of scouting. How were the designers of the SC-21 platforms allowed to so clearly disregard the definition of stealth as cover in the requirements planning process for littoral warfare? Clearly, something went terribly wrong in the requirements planning process, and unless something has changed, that flaw still exists today.

Does the Navy still believe the same design techniques for aviation platforms and submarines apply for surface vessels to achieve stealth in the littoral, or have we evolved our requirements planning process enough to distinguish why blue water requirements are vastly different than the requirements that will be necessary in the complex littoral environment? I believe the Navy has blown billions of dollars attempting to achieve stealth on surface vessels for littoral warfare when, right under our nose, the antiscouting tactic of exploiting the cover of a populated littoral (exploiting cover is also known as stealth according to Capt. Hughes) has been the bane of international naval forces in attempting to deal with pirates off the coast of Somalia.

Without a single dime spent on research and development, it turns out that blending into the environment that makes up the populated littorals is how stealth is achieved on the surface of the sea. US Navy warships and aircraft utilize the most advanced electronic and visual detection capabilities in the world off the coast of Somalia, and yet our naval forces are being flanked. By blending in with the local population in plain view of both electronic and visual detection, both of which represent the long range scouting capabilities the US Navy emphasizes with development, resourcing, and implementation, the US Navy finds itself absent the necessary physical manpower centric scouting capabilities in any credible number to exercise the physical scouting requirements necessary to counter the enemies stealth advantage of achieving cover by blending into the populated littorals. Why is it the US Navy has spent billions to develop an incomplete stealth capability while our enemy has spent nothing and exploits stealth in every hijacking off the coast of Somalia?

The exploitation of antiscouting through stealth by Somali pirates has become a major constraint on our scouting effectiveness. It isn’t just us though, the rest of the world who also operates naval forces off the coast of Somalia has demonstrated they have the same constraints. Perhaps it is in our best interest to close the gap, so that we can both neutralize our weakness that is being exploited, and also adopt lessons as necessary in case we desire to exploit realistic stealth in the littorals of our enemies.

I believe the only way to effectively counter the exploitation of stealth in the littoral is to increase the US Navy’s physical scouting capabilities to better identify enemy forces that blend in with the local population. That means the US Navy needs more manpower distributed in the complex littoral environment. To counter this weakness in the US Navy’s force structure in an affordable way, the US Navy needs to invest in more smaller ships in larger numbers, rather than the larger ships in smaller numbers approach the Navy has demonstrated repeatedly to favor since the end of the cold war.

It is one thing to note the necessity of cooperative partnerships in solving difficult challenges in the littoral, but it is another thing completely to ignore our own tactical shortcomings and believe some other country will always be there to fill these gaps, particularly as the pirate problem proves other countries are being exploited by the same tactical weaknesses. Ignoring the problem is not the solution, and believing that a helicopter is a credible replacement for a small ship on the sea in meeting physical scouting requirements disregards the persistent presence requirement central to the necessity to limit the enemies ability to exploit the constantly evolving littoral environment that gives the enemy cover.




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  • Distiller

    “Blend in” stealth seems more something for special forces, not a fleet. Special forces might use something bespoke to the theatre, like an assault boat, a fishing trawler, a coastal trader, or maybe a luxury yacht.

    I don’t see the fleet having such an option. Just a few years ahead robotic vessels in all three realms might be the solution. Supported by the above described special forces HUMINT.

  • B.Smitty

    The DDG-1000 team’s use of the term “stealth” when describing its signature reduction is unfortunate. It conjures thoughts of huge warships sneaking around the littorals like a bunch of F-117s over Baghdad.

    The real value of ship-LO, IMHO, is in reducing the effectiveness of enemy weapons – specifically cruise missiles – and increasing the effectiveness of countermeasures.

    Even if a DDG-1000 is detected via Mk. 1 eyeball, its LO measures will still make it a more difficult target to engage. And LO is completely passive, much like battleship armor of old. Even if DBR goes offline, or COMBATSS chokes with a Blue Screen of Death, the LO measures could still save the ship from a missile hit.

    A lit-up DBR obviously amounts to a giant beacon, but even this can be mitigated with LPI techniques.

  • http://moderaterisk.net Patrick S Lasswell

    Twenty-five or so years ago the Navy threw a bunch of money down a storm sewer replacing all the bright orange fire hoses with gray ones. Then someone finally pointed out that if you can see the fire stations, you can see the aircraft carrier. Since then we’ve mostly sobered up, but it looks like the reduced signature crowd’s been on a binge again.

    We need surface ships that look like they have the capacity to end worlds. Arguably the worst part of the VLS system is that it is indistinguishable from a helo deck when viewed from shore. Even though it has the capacity to replace an air strike, the VLS cells are roughly as threatening as a box of crackers. We do not need another crackerbox battleship that looks like it was put together by a dim child with a bunch of grey lego’s. We need a capitol ship that can linger at strategic points and scare the wits out of the bad guys. Stealth gunboat diplomacy is failed gunboat diplomacy; when threats are required, (and they are required) it is much better to have a ship that presents obvious threat.

  • Moose

    Well if Intimidation factor is a Prime Consideration, Mr. Lasswell, I’d argue DDG-1000 has it in spades. It looks like it was designed by a guy who cut his teeth on the Imperial Star Destroyer.

  • -tba

    Also, the enemy response to our using LO hulls is generally pretty desirable. I think there’s three ways to modify a missile to deal with this: (1) make the attacking missile fly slower, (2) increase the seeker’s transmit power to make up the lost signal and/or (3) develop new sensing modalities to supplement the reduced RCS. (1) and (2) make the missile easier to shoot down, and (3) forces adversaries to go through their own redesign process, probably resulting in heavier seekers with proportional reduction in speed, range and/or payload. Plus, a ship that can get closer to a coast without being detected by radar helps preserve strategic surprise. That may not matter in an age of space-based radars, but it can’t hurt. Unfortunately, calling it “like passive armor” doesn’t sound sexy enough to get money from Congress.

    I agree that we need more people on intercept-capable boats in the littorals as globalization forces all of our armed forces to play more of a police SWAT team role. The best way to uncover people hiding in a population is to make the population want to uncover them by being both a credible help and threat to them (artillery strikes near a village help convince the local elders to support security measures that allow road and school building). Horn of Africa piracy will probably continue until the navies in the region help Kenya and Puntland/Somalia set up coast guards that ensure only locals can benefit from the fishing in their waters. Otherwise, there’s no carrot to match the stick that CTF-151 and others represent.

    However, any technology needs to be evaluated in terms of the capabilities it will allow and the response it will elicit. Developing LO hulls might have been more expensive than it was worth, but convincing potential competitors to increase the cost and/or visibility of their attack systems is a good thing.

  • http://newwars.wordpress.com Mike Burleson

    Kaboom! You sunk their battleships!

  • http://informationdissemination.blogspot.com/ Galrahn

    tba,

    We need to remember this is bigger than just addressing HOA piracy. Assuming we can find political solutions to the Somalia issue, there are no shortage of other places in the world where the same theories apply, including places we have greater national security interests including the Gulf of Guinea or Gulf of Mexico.

    If one potential future is the absence of major power war, then we must also consider a byproduct will be even more populated seas. The Brits call it ‘migration to the sea.’

    This future is at least as possible as one where we face off against a peer competitor, and because desperation usually leads to violence, there will be a role for naval forces.

    There is of coarse one more trend that suggests physical scouting is already critical and the Navy is simply arriving late to the party. 2008 became the first year since statistics have been recorded globally by the UN that more people died due to crime than war. That suggests a potential 4GW future at sea.

  • http://moderaterisk.net Patrick S Lasswell

    Moose,

    The DDG-1000 has no reference to scale because of the lack of detail. There is no human perspective. It looks like a little ship on the horizon until it is alongside. I don’t know if you’ve ever seen a real BB or even an old CA on the horizon, but they look like big ships at any range.

    We have ongoing problems with impressing 14 year old barbarians with AK-47s. We do not have much problem impressing engineers. The national security posture should take note that there are a lot more barbarians than engineers, and that the barbarians are a bigger problem for the foreseeable future for the armed services. Barbarians get big guns. Barbarians do not get stealth. Barbarians get presence.

  • -tba

    Galrahn,

    I think we’re all beating the same drum of trying to match strategic requirements to procurement here. The point I was trying to make about HOA is that to achieve our strategic objectives we need a force structure that would help us stand up a local coast guard while we act forcefully in that role in the interim. That requires a lot of physical surveillance by boats of capable of boarding operations and relatively long patrols. A similar case could be made for the Niger Delta, parts of the Caribbean, or any of a number of places.

    Those, however, will require resupply and might need additional fire power in a hurry. Towards that end, we need motherships and fire support that is difficult to sink. As B.Smitty points out, LO platforms are harder to hit with radar guided missiles, increasing their survivability much as armor would. Unlike land combat, the response to this “armor” is not, relative to either major power or non-state actor budgets, as cheap as building a bigger IED to defeat armored vehicles. Forcing 4GW adversaries to either buy more expensive missiles or forgo them in favor of small boats that are easier targets for ship- and helicopter- based guns is probably a good thing.

    The lines between crime and low intensity warfare are blurry (c.f. Mexico), but the response to both is similar. It generally doesn’t require stealth, but engagement with the population, i.e. physical surveillance, to stop the enemy from hiding in the crowd. Protecting the forces involved in this process is important, so I don’t find an LO battleship completely absurd unless the money required to build it consumes resources needed for smaller boats and trained people.

  • http://informationdissemination.blogspot.com/ Galrahn

    tba,

    Good points. You make a better case for a LO battleship than Raytheon does, and they are trying to sell one.

  • Byron

    I’m just curious, but does the United States have a national security interest in either HOA or the piracy situation? This seems like a clear cut situation where someone else needs to step up to the plate. And I think trying to stand up a coast guard in any of the local nations is going to be a nightmare. I’d rather stand off shore and make piracy an uneconomical enterprise for the Somalis. Of course, in my world, that would mean a lot of boats getting sunk.

  • http://newwars.wordpress.com Mike Burleson

    If history is any guide, we see that today’s insurgents is tomorrow’s conventional power. Just look at Israel as an example, or America way back in 1776.

    Using this analogy at sea, if we don’t fight the pirates today in their own territory, tomorrow we may fight them in ours. And if you think this will never happen, just recall what Al Qaeda did to New York.

  • http://informationdissemination.blogspot.com/ Galrahn

    “does the United States have a national security interest in either HOA or the piracy situation?”

    Not with piracy, but we do have a national security interest in regards to terrorism.

  • Flashman

    The only purpose for stealth is to hide vessels from Cold War and Cold War-like systems that rely on technical means for closing the gap. Forcing that technology on a combatant destined to be a global coast guard craft – that seems like a stretch. I think the advantages of a recognizable signature outweigh the benefits of ‘stealth’.

    As far as detection of the threat – the best means for early detection of Somali pirate activity will likely come through effective HUMINT. Somali pirate activity is simply an extension of a land-based dynamic. I’m not so sure why the Navy is not willing to make that investment. If we could’ve run sources into Soviet ports, we would have done that, too. This is no different — identification of personnel, hulls, vessel type, capabilities, plans, and intentions would be more easily derived, or at least correlated, through non-technical means. By having a capable HUMINT network, there are additional measures, under the right circumstances, that could increase the certainty of detection.

  • UltimaRatioReg

    Great post by Galrahn. Very revealing of the fundamental disconnects which have led to some wild assumptions about littoral warfare and major shortcomings of the LCS design.

    Captain Hughes’ assertion of “Stealth as Cover” is plain wrong. Not a “think outside the box” interpretation, but wrong. It shows a lack of understanding of those concepts at the most basic level, and whomever he managed to sell on the idea has been duped badly.

    Any infantry Corporal worth his salt will quickly tell you that stealth is a means of concealment that hides you from enemy detection and engagement. But cover is the physical protection from the effects of the enemy’s weapon systems. Often, the two are mutually exclusive.

    An infantry platoon must dig in to obtain protection from enemy fire. But digging makes noise, and fighting holes and trenches must be then concealed carefully, as they are easily spotted by the enemy otherwise. A tank is difficult to conceal, or to move with stealth, but it provides plenty of cover from enemy fire. A reconnaissance team may be extremely stealthy, and masters of concealment, but in the main have very little by way of cover from enemy weapons systems.

    The same is true of the water. A populated littoral to hide in, regardless of the efficacy of THAT concept, does not provide COVER. It provides concealment, perhaps. But not cover. And, not even concealment if the enemy has the HUMINT system to observe and report movement. To call this COVER is to use the term absolutely incorrectly, as if someone has watched too many cop shows.

    On the water, concealment is paint scheme, perhaps hull design, (though Gal’s point about the odd appearance of such a design being a dead giveaway is a great one!) in order to avoid electronic or visual detection. But cover remains what it has always been, and that is armor. Weapon systems mitigate enemy weapon systems in many ways, but do not provide cover in the tactical sense.

    This idea of stealth as cover is the direct result of “groupthink” at its worst. Something that sounded interesting, made its way into powerpoint, and seemed to make some sense to the uninitiated. But any cursory critical examination of the concept should have revealed the basic problem with the idea, and it should have died there. That it didn’t is a stain on the US Navy’s reputation for understanding the environment in which it must operate.

    This “stealth is cover” concept is born of the same flawed groupthink as the “speed is life” idea applied to a littoral warship. That concept seems to have dominated questions of hull design, propulsion system, and led to an obsession with weight with the LCS. The mantra of “speed is life” is true in the air because an aircraft that has protection against a 23mm cannon or SAM/Air-to air missile is simply too heavy to fly.

    On the water, however, the idea is badly flawed. Speed to get in and out of harm’s way is still useful, but it is a vessel’s ability to absorb damage and continue its mission, and its crew’s ability to perform damage control, that is life. Life not only for the vessel itself, but for those ashore whose lives and protection depend in part on that LCS being afloat and effective.

  • http://informationdissemination.blogspot.com/ Galrahn

    “Captain Hughes’ assertion of “Stealth as Cover” is plain wrong.”

    I don’t think he is wrong. I didn’t mention it, but in his book Hughes discusses how stealth is different in the context of land and sea forces, and discusses stealth in exactly the same context your describe for land forces.

    Water is cover for submarines, so when you think about stealth and the maritime domain, cover has clear application to the concept of stealth at sea.

    Under your revised definition, water would be armor for a submarine.

  • UltimaRatioReg

    Gal,

    I respectfully disagree with your assertion. Stealth may be different in its form between land and sea, but how it affects the ability to hide from enemy observation is precisely the same. A fold in the ground may be both cover and concealment for ground units, but only against certain weapons systems. Ditto water for submarines.

    Coming back above water in the littoral, the assertion that stealth is cover in the littoral is patently incorrect. Once the stealth measures (concealment) is defeated, there is no cover.

  • VADM J. C. Harvey, Jr USN

    Excellent thread – exactly the kind of discussion I’m looking for on a timely and very relevant subject.
    I wish we could find a way to bring the Baltic naval experience into the discussion.
    Here’s what I mean – I took USS CAPE ST GEORGE into the Baltic for 3 weeks of ops in June ’97. Great line-up of participating ships from all the Baltic nations plus squadrons of fast patrol boats from Sweden, Finland, Germany and Norway.
    Those FPB guys were real pros and understood all the components of stealth – those that you build into a ship and those you create by how you operate in a given environment.
    I got a real education in integrated FPB-aviation “combined arms” operations in the littoral.
    Not long after that summer, we see Sweden roll out the Visby – probably the stealthiest ship ever built. And worth every penny they paid for it. They built that ship to operate, and survive, in a very tough, close-in environment. A ship that can provide scouting and attack effectively first.
    Given our blue-water background, I think it’s tough for most of us to get a conceptual handle on the true value of stealth, both in close to shore and further at sea. More thinking to be done here. All the best, JCHjr

  • gvg

    Does the US have anything like the British TEE (Tactical Exploitation of the Environment)?

    I know the Dutch just recently started talking about setting up such a knowledge-centre as well. They said that TEE was in the mindset of submariners (the Dutch have introduced TEE in 1999 in the submarine-force), but that it lacks with the surface-warfare part (the ships) of the navy.

    The article started with a nice introduction:
    A naval ship is sailing around in the night. The gray hull disappears into the darkness. The special
    construction of angled planes and angles makes the ship hard to see on radar. The rudders and
    engines make little noise. In short, the ship is all ‘stealth’. Too bad the bow wave leaves an
    enormous lighttrail in the water because luminous plankton in the upper water layer is being disturbed.

  • Byron

    Question for the Admiral:

    Would you consider the Visby to be a viable alternative to LCS?

    Secondary question: Would you consider doing a bobtail SLEP to the Perry FFGs that have received the latest upgrades in order to make a bridge between the next FF(X)?

  • Bill

    VADM Harvey: “I wish we could find a way to bring the Baltic naval experience into the discussion”

    So do I! Having spent most of my design career (well ..still spending it ‘over there’, really) assisting both the RNoN and RSwN puruse their particular sets of littoral ship requirements, it has seemed to me that we (‘we’ as in USN design community..without ‘me’ in the ‘we’) have walled off the valuable knowledge and experience those two navies have in this area. That virtual ‘wall’ might even explain why the prototye ‘Skjold’ prototype deployed here for almost unlimited USN evaluation and tire-kicking..and nobody bothered to appropriate any funds to do it after she arrived. Her crew got a nice extended vacation out of the deal..we got little of nothing, nothing technically valuable anyway, for their trouble. The standard reaction to the vessel’s outstanding performance from the average observer can be summed up as :”Wow..impressive boat!..but of course we could never build something like that here”..as if it was some sort of ‘magic’ that created such a capable platform with so few dollars spent. Magic that we do not possess nor seem to want to understand..much less embrace. I beg to disagree.

    We have a long and sorry history in that particular area too. Its not like our Scandanavian friends have not tried to help us out with their unique ‘littoral’ expertise. The failed Cardinal MSH program (undertaken with the help and technical assistance provided by the Swedes..that we then ignored during design execution), the autonomous SAM II ACV shallow-water mine countermeasure platform..that we abruptly withdrew funding and participation in..the Umoe (Norwegian Skjold builder) LCS design that achieved the obective long range transit at more than twice the speed of either of the selected concepts..and so on. Well..OK..we did get the ‘Nastys’ from Batservice (Norway) for ‘Nam service…

    Great observations, sir. I wish we would see more like them.

  • VADM J. C. Harvey, Jr USN

    For Byron – as beautiful as she is, VISBY is optimized for the Baltic/North seas and “close-in” North Atlantic.
    For our purposes she has insufficent range and mission endurance, insufficient helo capacity/capability and very little room (space/weight)for mission growth over time.

    I don’t believe a “bobtail” SLEP offers sufficient return for the investment given remaining service life on the FFG-7s and their current mission set.

    All the best, JCHjr

  • Byron

    With all due respect sir, Figs currently have new SSDGs, new ROs, new Force Protection, and many have completed habalts and galley upgrades. Included are many engineering and electrical upgrades. McInerny will be the test platform for Firescout in the coming months. Not much would be needed to extend their life another 10 years. This would enable the Navy to have some breathing space before they have to make some hard decisions.

  • http://informationdissemination.blogspot.com/ Yankee Sailor

    Also, most of what the Scandinavians have done to optimize their platforms and tactics is geared towards defending their own littorals against conventional naval forces–a mission we don’t anticipate performing any time soon. Protecting your own territory and EEZ is a different problem from penetrating or securing someone else’s.

  • Bill

    YS: “Also, most of what the Scandinavians have done to optimize their platforms and tactics is geared towards defending their own littorals against conventional naval forces–a mission we don’t anticipate performing any time soon. Protecting your own territory and EEZ is a different problem from penetrating or securing someone else’s.”

    The first part of that is certainly accurate and true. My question, however, relates to your assertion in the second sentence. IF we (USN) are really interested procurring and operating small, capable, fast littoral combatants..then don’t we have a lot to learn from the Scandanavian experience as it would apply to what we are trying (and failing) to do? Or was this whole exercise in “Streetfighter gets fat and slow and expensive and gets named LCS” simply a complete waste of resources and a bad idea altogether? If that is so, and all we really need are vessels frigate-sized and larger, then I agree we have little of nothing to learn from the Scandinavians. Although I already know that the SpecWar boat community has other ideas about that…but that is a diffent mission set and a story for another day, so I should not digress.

  • http://informationdissemination.blogspot.com/ Yankee Sailor

    Bill,

    I left out the disclaimer, but I’m certainly not an advocate of continuing to build nothing but >3,500-ton platforms. If we’re serious about executing littoral security and stability, and training other nations on how to conduct them, I think we need a mix of corvette & coastal patrol craft with some sort of support platform to support them; but, I want to head off any discussion of whether a Visby-style configuration is an optimized platform and whether the Scandinavians have all the remedies to the problems.

    The problems Galrahn points out—that our current platforms are too few, ill-configured for the task and stand out like sore thumbs—are spot on, but I’m not sure we can remedy all the problems with a new platform. If the Navy decides littoral security and stability ops are a high, long-term priority (which it seems like we want to, but are afraid of the impact on our blue water capability given our resource constraints) we can certainly acquire platforms that are more numerous and better adapted to the task.

    Whether we can significantly counter the anti-scouting capability that concerns Galrahn in an era where every fisherman with a cell phone or radio can be an anti-scouting asset, I’m doubtful. We’re still going to stand out like sore thumbs, the only difference being the thumbs are smaller and more numerous.

  • http://informationdissemination.blogspot.com/ Galrahn

    My concern is less which technology is used specifically, and more that it is going to take a variety of technologies and there doesn’t appear to be any real commitment to this reality. We will need to very different littoral capabilities for advancing against a shore with layered A2/AD capabilities and unrestricted access, and we will also need different capabilities for Phase 0 and Phase 4 vs Phase 2 and Phase 3 of operations.

    When I observe the operations related to the Iraqi oil terminals today, and consider a similar scenario could be required in the future along much larger coast lines, I question whether the Navy has enough assets and the right capabilities to meet the tasking demands sure to be present. The tactical situation related to Somalia piracy suggests we currently have gaps in our littoral approach not likely to be filled with ‘a one ship fits all profiles’ LCS approach.

  • Bill

    YS said: “but, I want to head off any discussion of whether a Visby-style configuration is an optimized platform and whether the Scandinavians have all the remedies to the problems.”

    What is an ‘optimized platform’ in this context? I’m probably guilty of not making my thoughts clear on this topic. I’ve nver said, and do not believe, that any of the existing array of Scandinavian fast combatants is ready ‘off the shelf’ for any USN role. But in terms of simply the capabilites of the platforms..we have a lot to learn if we want similar platforms, at similar cost, with similar capabilites (or different capabilites that are still compatible with those platforms). In very simple terms, we have nothing afloat like they do, we seldom ever have in our ‘recent’ history (PHM excepted) and yet we make a lot of noise that we ‘should’have vessels with those kinds of capabilites.

  • Bill

    Gal said:”When I observe the operations related to the Iraqi oil terminals today, .”

    That was exactly the mission FSF-1 was being considered and being made ready for..right out of the shipyard.

  • Consuela Nieman

    Great post dude Thanks

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