To beat the drum harder; in this profession a sound knowledge of history is absolutely critical. A love of books is essential. A long and clear perspective, understanding the paths and lessons of those who came before is a professional foundation stone.
Without that foundation, mistakes will be repeated. Debunked theories will be born anew …. with the same results at the terminal end. In our line of work, a terminal end usually results in dead Sailors, sunk ships, and a nation in extreme Strategic risk.
Every now and then a quote comes up from someone that just sets me back. Makes me take a deep breath and read again. Makes me go back to the beginning to look for some contextual clue that I missed. Makes me try to find some mistake in the reporter’s note taking or the editor’s red pen that truncated a quote to mean something the speaker did not intend.
Sadly, often times I find myself looking at another transformationalist – someone who thinks that war is new – a huge paradigm has occurred – “old” things will “never” happen again – a new kind of war that only the select few see will make all other things unneeded.
When you combine a transformatinalist with someone looking at the future Fleet with a more bureaucratic than strategic POV – then you often have this.
From Dan Taylor at InsideDefense;
The fiscal year 2010 defense authorization bill allocates $15 million for the Navy to look into a “mobile maritime sensor” that would essentially be a dedicated radar ship for use in sea-based ballistic missile defense, according to Senate Armed Services Committee staff.
An Oct. 7 committee press release following the passage of the conference report on the bill announces that the funding would be added “for a mobile maritime sensor development program to provide options for the Navy in meeting its sea-based missile defense requirements.”
Dave Baker, a naval author and analyst, said a dedicated radar ship “is not a bad idea.” The option would be “infinitely cheaper” than doing it on a CG(X), and the service could use cruiser hulls or even merchant designs instead of developing a whole new platform.
“There’s no sense in going out and building something specialized for that role,” he told ITN Oct. 21. “A bulk cargo ship could do it.”
Baker said such ships might preclude the need for some CG(X) hulls in the future. It would also be important for the surface warfare community to get a new mission, he said.
“They’re not going to be shooting at other ships at sea,” he said. “Getting a new mission for the surface community is important to the surface community.”
We have been here before. Remember when the depth charge, ASDIC, aircraft, and the homing torpedo would make the submarine no longer a threat? Remember when the B-36 and nuclear weapons made the Aircraft Carrier obsolete? Remember when the jet and guided missiles made a gun on a fighter a romantic anachronism? Remember when MIW was a problem for just the European navies to take seriously?
This is the same thought process that told the Royal Navy in the late ’70s early 80s that they would never need a gun on their ships again and that there was no use for Aircraft Carriers in the “new navy.” They got kicked in the teeth by the Argentines to prove otherwise.
I don’t know who this dude is – but I am sure he is a great, fun, and exceptionally smart guy – but someone get him a subscription to USNI’s Classics of Naval Literature series and Naval History magazine – please.
To steal a phrase:
Only the dead have seen the end of “…shooting at other ships at sea.”
If you plan the core of your Fleet with the assumption that you will not have to face another – you will cause Sailors to be killed – you will cause ships to be sunk – and you will cause your nation to be put in extreme Strategic risk.
“Phibian Salamander, a naval author and analyst, said that Dave Baker needs to read some more.”
Do we ever learn?
- Beyond the Straits
- Sea Control 30 – Australian Submarines
- A History of the Navy in 100 Objects #54: Shell Fragment from the USS Massachusetts (BB-59)
- Midrats 13 April 14 Episode 223: 12 Carriers and 3 Hubs with Bryan McGrath
- A History of the Navy in 100 Objects #53: Handmade Seabee Photo Album From Guadalcanal