Looking for Balance

July 2009


081119-N-7047S-140Frank Hoffman has an article in Armed Forces Journal titled Striking a Balance, where he articulates the various lines in the sand of emerging theories for military threats and force structure in the QDR debate. Expanding upon the simplistic “conservatives” and “crusaders” model previously articulated by Andrew Bacevich in his Atlantic Monthly article from last year titled The Petraeus Doctrine, Hoffman describes four schools of thought and breaks them down in detail. The four schools of thought, according to Frank Hoffman, are:

  1. Counterinsurgents, who emphasize the high likelihood and rising salience of irregular adversaries.
  2. Traditionalists, who place their focus on states presenting conventional threats.
  3. Utility Infielders, who balance risk by striving to create forces agile enough to cover the full spectrum of conflict.
  4. Division of Labor, who balance risk differently by specializing forces to cover different missions to enhance readiness.

This article is great, because it does pro and con of each school and offers opinions, but intentionally does not offer a recommendation. In more detail, I quote Hoffman to better articulate what each school stands for:

This school argues for a transformation based on today’s fights. The advocates here believe that Iraq and Afghanistan represent far more than a passing blip in the evolution of conflict. They contend that massed formations comprised of traditional arms and large-scale conflict between conventional powers is not a realistic planning scenario. They contend that the most likely challenges and greatest risks are posed by failing states, ungoverned territories, transnational threats and radical versions of Islam.

The Traditionalists sit at the opposing end of the spectrum of conflict. This school seeks to re-establish the traditional focus of the armed forces on “fighting and winning the nation’s wars.” Its members focus on major, high-intensity interstate wars. They advocate against reorienting forces, especially ground forces, away from their traditional emphasis on large-scale, industrial-age warfare against states or an alliance of states.

Utility Infielders
The third and most prevalent school, at least among American ground force commanders, is the Utility Infielder school. This school recognizes the need to deal with strictly conventional tasks and irregular threats. It seeks to cover the entire spectrum of conflict and avoid the risk of being optimized at either extreme. Instead, it seeks to spreads this risk across the range of military operations by investing in quality forces, educating its officers for agility in complex problems, and creating tough but flexible training programs.

Division Of Labor
There are a number of analysts that reject the fundamental premise of the Utility Infielders school. This alternative school argues that irregular and conventional warfare are markedly different modes of conflict that require distinctive forces with different training, equipment and force designs. This camp places a great emphasis on preventing conflict, on stability operations and on investing in indirect forms of security forces with a greater degree of specialization for security cooperation tasks and war fighting. Because this school specifically divides and specializes roles and missions between the services, it can be labeled the “Division of Labor” option.

The article concludes with Hoffman claiming “the current bifurcation of the spectrum of conflict between irregular and conventional wars is a false choice and intellectually blinds us to a number of crucial issues.” I don’t disagree with that conclusion, but in a period of debate that accounts for the wars we are in, and the wars of history that suggest the wars we may find ourselves in, I think the debate is very healthy.

After reading the schools of thought, I began wondering how these schools would break down among those looking at force structure from purely a Navy point of view. Who are the counterinsurgents in the Navy today? Who are the traditionalists? Are the Utility Infielders that are prevalent among ground force commanders also prevalent among naval commanders? What is the division of labor crowd look like in the Navy.

I’m going to take a shot at matching a category into Navy terms, feel free to suggest where I am going wrong.

Today’s counterinsurgents in the Navy debate are the “go small” and/or “go underwater” crowd. This school argues for a transformation based around numbers, with a premium on numerous lower cost platforms. Aircraft carriers are too big, cruisers are too big, destroyers are too big, and even the LCS is too big. This school tends to argue that surface ships in large quantities make up for lack of quality, and submarines will control the sea during future wars. Stealth, precision, and mobility represent constants of naval warfare. Well known Navy blogger Mike Burleson represents this school over at New Wars.

Today’s traditionalists believe aircraft carriers, major surface combatants, and submarines represent the most effective way to win war, and war at sea will primarily be conducted vs other state naval powers. Its members focus on major, high-intensity interstate wars and emphasizes superiority of the electronic battlefield spectrum. They advocate against reorienting forces, especially surface combatants, away from their traditional emphasis on large-scale, industrial-age multipurpose warships optimized to fight against states or an alliance of states. Most of Navy leadership today attends the traditionalist school.

Utility Infielders
Utility Infielders recognize the need to deal with strictly conventional tasks and irregular threats. It seeks to cover the entire spectrum of conflict and avoid the risk of being optimized at either extreme, defining the extremes as blue water and littoral waters. This school is open to reducing carrier fleets, open to building conventional submarines, open to building more smaller ships while sacrificing larger ships, and tends to emphasize the utility of amphibious ships and logistics ships as a solution to a wide range of operational requirements. Commander Henry J. Hendrix’s Proceedings article earlier this year, Buy Ford, Not Ferrari, represents this school well.

Division of Labor
There are a number of analysts that reject the fundamental premise of the Utility Infielders school. This alternative school argues that irregular and conventional warfare are markedly different modes of conflict that require distinctive forces with different training, equipment and force designs. This camp places a great emphasis on preventing conflict, on stability operations and on investing in indirect forms of security forces with a greater degree of specialization for security cooperation tasks and war fighting. One will find a Global Fleet Station specific ship and numerous varieties of single purpose platforms in the fleet designs of this school. An example of the Division of Labor school is Wayne Hughes’ New Navy Fighting Machine, although it should be noted that each Division of Labor example will be different.

When laid out this way I think Hoffmans comment regarding how “the current bifurcation of the spectrum of conflict between irregular and conventional wars is a false choice and intellectually blinds us to a number of crucial issues” becomes readily apparent as a warning. When I think of naval forces, I see several false choices, like Small Ships vs Big Ships, or Blue Water vs Brown and Green Water to name a few examples.

Despite the apparent public friction and debate raging among the ground forces, who argue based on actual war experience, the Navy is at a disadvantage in such a debate. There have been so few sea battles fought in the last half century that it is difficult to claim with any certainty that any one school has the advantage over others. That raises important issues, for example, not only must QDR analysts determine the positive and negative influences of untested technologies, but must define what naval warfare will even look like in the 21st century. The second part is a much greater challenge than the first.

Posted by galrahn in Maritime Security, Navy

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  • What about a Hybrid Strategy as answer to “all of the above”? We use new technology, from the advanced sensors, precision guided smart weapons, and robot drones, to displace industrial aged platform centric warfare, and combine the capabilities of the crusaders with the firepower of the traditionalists.

    Every nation is having great difficulty in replacing older Cold War era stocks. The most obvious solution they take is cuts in numbers of older stocks, in most cases these are drastic cuts. Then when we go to war, there isn’t enough funds for everyone, and you start wondering about weapons which were useful before, but no longer seem to fit in the wars we are fighting today.

    So instead of thinking what marvelous capabilities you can add to our older industrial navy, such as giant aircraft carriers, cool Aegis missile battleships, or deep diving nuclear subs, you might instead ask “what is the most efficient platform for launching this cruise missile, or for dropping this smart bomb, or firing this new torpedo”. The answers we come up with might be surprising.

    When you get to the point where a single UAV, can carry a single bomb, to destroy a single target, where it took the launching of giant carriers wings and great fleets to destroy that one target before, you are talking about a major revolution in warfare. We expect to see the same revolution in forces structures, instead of business as usual which we can no longer afford, and really no longer need.

  • Mike,

    I am not really sure I follow. Unmanned systems are not unique to any school, neither are advanced sensors nor precision guided smart weapons.


    When you get to the point where a single UAV, can carry a single bomb, to destroy a single target, where it took the launching of giant carriers wings and great fleets to destroy that one target before, you are talking about a major revolution in warfare.

    What? Doesn’t what you are calling “a major revolution in warfare” already exist? I’ll be more impressed when someone figures out the scouting challenge that identifies that single target every time in hybrid warfare and can destroy it without collateral damage.

  • Grampa Bluewater

    Very interesting summary.

    I resonate with the “avoid false choices” idea.

    What seems to be the 600 pound gorilla in the room is the fact that the republic’s armed forces must obey political masters who wish to spend the absolute minimum possible on military readiness, and wish for quick and near painless military operations, with an absolute minimum committment over the long run. Regardless of party in power.

    The military is undermanned and underfunded for the contingency plans mandated by the nations traditional strategy. Unable to adjust its strategy to its means, it dithers and quarrels within its own subdivisions, due to the political masters’ tendency (absent immediate terrifying threat)to constantly reduce funding and manning to match their priority for military readiness, which is effectively dead last. Their homing on the zero baseline, while instinctive and unspoken, is real.

    The constant pressure for personnel reductions (mitigated only by the variety of immediate terrifying threats) has lead to a steady deterioration of management talent in areas other than combat specialties not currently dealing with an immediate terrifying threat.

    Hence the decline of logistic competency in R & D, new construction, maintenence and upgrade of existing assets.

    Manning and training, while excellent in isolated cells, is spastic and beset by atrophy with regards to the entire gestalt/organism. It is not so much that we constantly try to reinvent the wheel, it is that we drive away, under, or never develop those able to invent it in the first place, so we reinvent it both needlessly and incompetently.

    What is needed is a defense budget (can we please change that to Dept of War budget?) in the neighborhood of 5% of a mean GDP for the previous decade; a sound strategy, based on that stability of resources; and an end to outsourcing of management decision making with respect to logistic implementation of the strategy. This would provide for a (relative to today’s situation) largish, balanced force.

    For the Navy, it means a balanced fleet, no orphans (patrol craft, escorts, mine warfare and brown water come to mind), and a increase in personnel assessions combined with a decrease in flag billets (more worker bees, less dead wood too senior to cut).

    The personnel standard should not be up or out, but perform and progress to readiness for the next step – or go. Once the journeyman level is attained (2/c PO or LT at about the 5 year mark), promotions should slow down. Rank would be based on job description, with an initial spot confirmed when warranted by performance (demonstrated expertise). Boards would certify completion of prerequisites for assignment carrying spot promotion.

    Some would rise quickly, most in fits and starts, some slowly and surely, and some not much at all. Some would languish and bloom late.

    The Naval Service’s goal should be the closest approach to omnicompetence in sea power attainable, helping the other services unstintingly, but only as necessary and forced to. This should be well understood in the Army, Air Force, and Joint (General) Staff. We want our Seals etc., back (naval mountain commandos, hrmph).

    My prediction is none of this will happen. We will keep muddling along the road of decline, headed toward defeat.

    Let it come early, embarrassing, and undecisive, if come it must.


    Grandpa Bluewater, you’re taking the conversation where it needs to go in terms focusing on the human side of it, rather than the ships. Likewise, Galrahn acknowledges that the hard piece of this is not the kinetic side.

    WRT politicians wanting war to be cheap and easy–of course they do. Doesn’t the military? I see this not as a civilian failing but as a military one. The military has created its own norms of lossless combat, has designed hardware with that as a goal, and sold this very expensive hardware with the promise that paying that bill (itself politically unpopular) means paying no other costs.

    Concerning G’s original post, I don’t see either organized navies or maritime-capable non-state threats going away anytime soon. So, the USN has to have the majority of its forces capable of doing the heavy lifting in both areas. What the Navy must realize, though, it that this large majority will NOT be experts and, except for routine or routine+ missions, will be expected to be directed by those who have expertise. This is just military and economic reality. The Navy will need large numbers of people, but will not have the money to train them up to the highest level. And it will be ok if their stoplight is yellow. The highest proficiency will be reserved for specialists. Although management of these specialists will have to radically change. First, the numbers will have to increase. Not interested in developing only a handful of people who are single points of failure. Second, the HR strategy will have to change so they can be retained and promoted for far longer. Simply having their info in a database ready for a contingency won’t work. They must be continuously engaged with the rest of the fleet for reasons of trust, teaching and terrain.

  • Is it fair to say that whatever choices we make, future competitors will exploit their weaknesses? And more to the point, given that, should the discussion be framed in terms of where should we place vulnerabilities?

    For instance, Iran has grown into a powerful regional influence not through conventional, uniformed forces but irregular, local levies like Hizbolla and influence with Hamas and the Mahdi Army, to exploit the fact that local rivals rely heavily on conventional military power that is politically difficult to use in populated areas. As a result, economic life is far more difficult in south western and northern Israel due to sporadic rocket fire and economic development in Iraq is confined to areas where substantial foreign resources have been invested. Given that security is the first requirement of economic growth, conceding the lower end of the spectrum would seem to have a mainly economic impact to potential trading partners of the US. This is a huge issue when one considers the need for global GDP to increase at a rate that keeps developed nations fiscally sound.

    China’s willingness to enforce its exclusive economic zone off its coast and Russia’s intervention in Georgia highlight vulnerabilities at the other end. International trade and nuclear weapons have done a lot to limit the capacity for major conventional warfare, but economic integration did not stop WWI from happening, and saying that China would not want a war with the US because it holds so many US dollar assets is kind of like saying Great Britain wouldn’t declare war on Germany in 1939 because the Germans owed them so much money. Drawing down conventional forces means reduced deterrence of conventional warfare, and an increasing likelihood that we would have to fight one somewhere. Ironically, winning a large scale conflict can be remarkably beneficial for the only remaining industrial power, and despite moving a lot of manufacturing overseas there’s no shortage of capacity here. However, the winner of such a conflict is not necessarily known at the outset, and the likelihood of a nuclear exchange causing global catastrophe is high.

    The decisions made today, by intent or default, will shape the future of conflicts. The downside of our democracy is that we give up a lot of flexibility in acquisitions (cf. the F-22 debate), so potential adversaries know what kind of military they will face. What decisions do we want them to make? Is it better to have competitors who nibble at the edges of the system, playing a long game that bets more fragile, debt-and-mined-fuel based economies will collapse under their own weight? Or would we prefer to face rising powers that want to directly control who can access certain resources?

    The aircraft carrier is leading to the development of anti-ship ballistic missiles and the proliferation of truck-mounted cruise missiles. Precision bombing capacity encourages irregular forces that hide in populations. Fewer, more expensive ASW platforms encourages sales of submarines. Japan and Germany encouraged the development of long-range bombers by building up effective defenses against sea and land invasion. Whichever school “wins” this debate today will likely be “proven wrong” by the next major conflict, since the adversary that we all notice will be the one who best exploits the gaps in whatever decisions we make. What should those be?

  • Grandpa Bluewater

    -tba (do you pronounce that “tuba”?):

    An old movie, “Ship of Fools”, had the washed up baseball player (Lee Marvin), put it this way: “Once they learn you can’t hit a low inside curve , you’ll never see anything else”. Or words to that effect.

    Hence balance and no orphans.

    Nations are like Gladiators. No way out of the big leagues but by failure, and most likely death.


  • Dee Illuminati

    Utility Infielders, Buy Ford not Ferrari

    Stay nimble, flexible, and keep building….


  • VADM J. C. Harvey, Jr USN

    Team, a well-written article, to be sure, but be wary of the urge to make a big bet on what particular adjective you’re going to put in front of the word “war” (conventional, irregular, hybrid, etc, etc) and go on to structure your forces accordingly.
    War is war, and nowadays it appears to be particularly unpredictable – while its violent nature endures, its characteristics can morph rapidly and without warning.
    Thus, a broad capability balance in our overall naval force structure and great flexibility in our people and our platforms seem to me to be required.
    We must be able to deter those who seek to do us harm, assure those who share our values and achieve our goals at least cost in lives and treasure should we be required to fight for what we believe. The enemy gets a big vote in defining the characteristics of the conflict; we do not get to choose those charactersitics that best suit us unilaterally.
    For our naval capability to be seen as something that can indeed deter or assure, we must be able to sustain our access wherever/whenever necessary and project power/influence while so doing. That is sea control – maintaining our lines of communications to fulfill our purposes, however we define them.
    The ultimate seat for decision in war is on the land, where the people live, so operations at sea must be undertaken with a view of the ultimate end-state on the ground in mind. Thus our balanced naval force must be inherently expeditionary and routinely deployed.
    To deter, assure and influence, not only must our naval forces be seen, they must be seen as being able to effect conditions ashore in a wide range of potential scenarios and they must be seen as lethal should force need to be applied.
    This debate about the nature of our force structure needs to begin with a clear statement of our national goals and vital interests, an articulation of the national security policies necessary to achieve those goals and protect those interests, and the development of the grand strategy we will follow to implement those policies.
    Once we get the first chapter written – what we believe about our nation’s role in the world and what is truly existential for us as we define that role – the rest should follow.
    Till then, we must strive for a broadly-balanced, inherently expeditionary and routinely deployed naval force whose people and platforms are extraorinarily flexible – capable of theater engagement cooperation operations one day, anti-piracy operations the next and full-scale combat operations in the littoral after that, with no real breaks in-between – a maritime version of GEN Krulak’s “Three Block War.”

  • VADM J. C. Harvey, Jr,

    Your last three sentences are very powerful – spot on in my opinion. I look forward to reading Chapter 1, and agree that while we stare at the cover of the book a maritime version of GEN Krulak’s “Three Block War” is the wise way ahead.

  • Chuck Hill

    Then there are the time and consequences dimensions.

    Nuclear deterrence we need at all times–consequences of failure are too grave to accept any risk.

    Carriers take to long to build to wait until it looks like we need them.

    Piracy off Africa is not going to bring us down in a matter of weeks. We have time to address it.

    The story of why DASH was a failure as a peacetime system, though it would have been a success if there had been a war on, was the first time I fully appreciated why optimum systems for Navys in peacetime are different from optimum systems in wartime. Too many DASH drone were lost in training. In wartime it would not have mattered as long as the system worked.

    In WWII, crew sizes of ships frequently doubled. Huge numbers of crew served weapons were added along with their gun crews. In war time planning horizons for personnel costs are short. As soon as the the war was over, all the 20mms came off.

    In peacetime, we have to figure ship life as 30 years, so the emphasis is on reduced manning.

    In peacetime, we also build the ships that take the longest and the most skilled labor to build. In wartime in addition, we build ships that may not be optimum but can still contribute to the effort to take advantage of more of the industrial base.

    Some threats, we can wait until they develop, to create a counter, some we can’t.

  • -tba

    Grandpa Bluewater,

    I’d never actually pronounced my handle, it’s a play on my initials and “To be announced.” Anyway, I know I’m playing a line from the an old film, but almost everything I’ve been reading in the aerospace industry press, and a majority of what I’ve seen elsewhere, discusses reactions to existing threats rather than the effect of our reaction downstream. Given that we’re talking about ships and aircraft that will be around for 20-50yrs, that seems like a mistake.

    The obvious answer is to build flexible, robust forces, but that does mean choosing not to focus, for instance, on optimizing expenditures and force structure to provide air support far inland. Also, at least on the technology side, flexibility and robustness are opposing goals, especially when cost constraints are involved.

    What I am trying to get to is a statement of grand strategy that says “of the imperfect worlds out there, the one we prefer has the fewest ________” With that kind of statement, guys like me can start designing technologies and training programs to get there. We all agree that “flexiblity” is the goal to be achieved, but the equipment has to be designed to do something particular, otherwise it never leaves the designers. Most likely, whatever most of the Fleet is best equipped to do will not be what a more flexible enemy chooses to do, but trying to adopt a reactive posture in procurement is a losing game when you’ve got a 5-10yr (or more) design cycle for new equipment.

  • Grandpa Bluewater


    “WRT politicians wanting war to be cheap and easy–of course they do. Doesn’t the military? I see this not as a civilian failing but as a military one.”

    I see it a failure in education (history) and management (management by walking about – writ large), at least for DoD and below. Too many on both sides of the mil/civ fence don’t have an adult understanding of the subject matter, a situation which would not exist if they knew the history of the past century and would interact with, observe, question and listen to the experienced practicioners (of war)at all levels, from current to recent to antique (after all, I want my antique self listened to…).

    A short victorious war is the worst possible planning assumption.
    Assuming operations will unfold precisely as planned is just silly. War is a godawful mess at best, expensive and bloody. Any number of things can go hideously wrong and all too frequently do.
    As we all should know from the last 7 years and a little under two months.

    The proper strategy is deterrence and forward presence, backed up by large, balanced, well trained forces provided with NON-obsolete equipment. Colin Powell defined it as having a full tool box ready to bring to the work site. This must achieved with a degree of parsimony and measure of common sense.

    Let me restate that another way: “we must strive for a broadly-balanced, inherently expeditionary and routinely deployed naval force whose people and platforms are extraorinarily flexible”
    (Hat tip – VADM Harvey)and add: the people and programs who support the forces afloat must be equally competent, dedicated, effective and “extraordinarily flexible” (not to mention tightfisted and toughminded).

    What about when deterrence fails?

    I’ll let others take a crack at that and weigh in later.

  • Grandpa Bluewater

    Chuck Hill:

    Good post, I quite agree.

  • Grandpa Bluewater


    Two quick comments.

    If the Army and Air Force renegotiated the Key West agreement and put Close Air Support and Combat Cargo (including parachutists) back in the Army, the Navy and Marine Corps would only have to escort logistic ships and defend logistic ports once the USN/USMC/USCG had forced entry and seized the lodgement. But we aren’t here to discuss the USAF’s multiple failings; we have plenty of our own.

    The original mistake in our current mess is that the nation did not declare war and MOBILIZE. It’s the lust for (barely sufficient, use what exists)guns AND (lots and lots and lots of) butter that is the source of our troubles.

    The enemy thinks we can be manipulated and outlasted. We need to make him think his doom is inevitable and only option is prompt surrender, because the only terms we will “entertain is prompt and unconditional surrender.” Or we end them. No preference on our part.

    Clearly this is not our policy. And has not been. Thought to be too expensive. Threatens social programs and all that.

    Which goes back to a mature understanding is that it’s foolish to attempt cheap and easy war. We continue to be very, very foolish.

  • Byron

    Granpa, took the words right out of my mouth. Very well put, sir.

  • Bill

    So much good stuff from a group of experienced persons! It seems to me that much of what you suggest is based upon the individual’s awareness and understanding of history, world and American. Assuming that this erudite group can construct a ballpark appreciation of the matter, a way forward if you will, I believe that a substantial awareness and belief in History is required to fill the stands with citizens who will support the hometeam. Mucho Education/Indoctrination needed.

  • “I’ll be more impressed when someone figures out the scouting challenge that identifies that single target every time in hybrid warfare and can destroy it without collateral damage.”

    Galrahn (et.al.) I worked with cows once; holsteins. In a sea of grass I could look out and name each of 300 individual black and white creatures; tell you their individual characteristics. Why? Because I had watched them so long and seen them so often.

    The technology I promote (AIRSHIPS,properly designed,constructed, and operated–not blimps)can do that same “scouting” on the sea between all kinds of craft; and only airships can do it. Subs can’t do it, they’re to low and limited where they can swim, UAVs cant do it, they haven’t got the linger time, nor planes, nor helicopters. Orbiting satellites can’t do it, sometimes they’re there, sometimes they’re not. Surface craft…well you already know their limitations.

    Airships can do that sorting of targets; and, airships can carry all sorts of lethal means to deal with those targets, if wanted.

    The only advantages that “UAVs” offer over other currrent aircraft is linger time, keeping aircrew out of harms way, and stealth (size). An airship can match or exceed these.

    Having a MANNED airship eliminates the danger of losing UAV capabilities if the controling network comes down or is jammed; and; having a manned airship gives the intelligent, adaptable edge needed to perform fully those scouting and attack missions the Navy needs.

  • Byron

    You’re joking, right? An “airship” over the beach, deep in Injun country, doing the scout thing? Be interesting to see how long an airship would last against an S-300 SAM…

  • No, Byron, we’re not joking. You seem to have missed the fact that reference to using airships was for NAVAL scouting over water. Your comments re:” over the beach, deep in Injun country” is….well, I’ll be generous, a bit of a stretch.

    Nevertheless, here: S-300 much of a threat to B-2? maybe, maybe not. But, an airship measuring twice dimensions of B-2, AND CONSTRUCTED OF THE SAME MATERIALS AND SHAPED EFFECTIVELY as well, would possess fair amount of threat avoidance capability. Toss in that it can fly/land as readily as a helicopter, use decoys as readily as any other airplane or surface ship, and that becomes reasonable.

    Don’t know what kill radius is on an S-300, but largest warhead is 293 lbs. It would have to damage (severely!) several compartments to bring an airship down. Bringing down an airship is far more difficult than bringing down an airplane. Could do it perhaps, if it could first find the airship.

    No tech is perfect. Airships represent a valuable tool that the Navy needs. Your own disdain notwithstanding.

  • Byron

    So an S-300 with a blast fragmentation warhead won’t shoot down an airship? Or a heat seeking ATA missile into the engines?

  • capospin

    BZ to all on these blogs, much good info and insight. We need to spend 5% to 6% GNP on defense over the next two decades. This much is clear, and equally clear is that is not going to happen. Will we be able to pick up after the next Dec 7 or 911? Well yes, but how are we going to do it? Can we plan for this? Also, what are the multiple failing of the USAF? Seems that the USAF is holding the short end of the stick on the budget and any Navy gripes harken back the 1949. Air and Space power air our nations only true high cards in this game. The Navy must do SEA POWER. That is rule the sea, blue, green or brown water . This, “…the sea is ours”, is the foundation of all five United States grand strategies. Only the Navy can do it. How this Sea Power thing is best done is what the USN needs to think about. However only the USAF (air-space power) gives the United States a true global strike force. This over powering shock- striking power (yes SLBM and CV air wing are a part of it) is the major factor our nations ability to dominate military spectrum. It is air-space power (USAF) that enables all other military force mission options. I sport the base conclusions of David Johnson’s 2006 RAND report, “Learning Large Lessons, The Evolving Roles of Ground Power and Air Power on the Post -Cold War Era.” This should be looked into with great thought.

  • sid

    What I see is a glaring need for a coherent national Strategy. one that won’t change with the vagaries of the election cycle.

    This is where the Chinese have us beat. Its apparent that everything from their ASAT tests, to ISR denial by fishing boat, to subsuming the lion’s share of the world’s industrial capacity, are all coming from an ordered playbook.

  • Chuck Hill

    Re the use of airships. I can see them used for surveillance, but a lot of the sorting out can only be done by boarding, and I know Campbell, that you will say you can do your boarding from an airship, but would like to see something easier done first.

  • capospin

    Sid, we have a coherent national strategy or Grand Strategy. It has five supporting elements and we have been working it for 233 years. The current politico class just does not know it American history.

    The United States has five geopolitical goals that make up her grand strategy.

    1. The complete domination of North America by the United Stated Army.
    2. The elimination of any threat to the USA by any power in the western hemisphere
    3. Complete control of the maritime approaches to the USA by the UN in order to preclude any possibility of invasion
    4. Complete domination of the world’s oceans to further secure US physical safety and guarantee control over the international trading system
    5. The prevention of any other nation or combination of nations from challenging US global power.

    How we do all this is the main point.

  • Byron

    Capospin: YGTBSM.

  • capospin

    point #3 should be: complete control of the maritime approaches to the USA by the USN in order to preclude any possibility of invasion.

    Not the UN…!

  • Grampa Bluewater


    Your strategic summary (as revised) is accurate.

    There is a revision required.

    Control of the border and ports of entry (airports, seaports, land gateways, and the entire sea, lake, and land border perimeter) to preclude any possibility of covert entry by agents or forces attempting sabotage or terrorism.

    Question is – control by whom?

  • I’ll reply, only because eventually, serious investigations into the capabilities of modern, rigid shelled airships needs to be made. Last post this thread though.

    @Byron: Re: fragmentation warhead…
    (1) Since helium is in many different compartments, shrapnel must reach several to do any significant damage (leak gas)
    (2) Damage must be severe, there is to much volume for tiny holes to matter much, except over a long period of time.
    (3) Damage must be given to TOP portions of the gas cells; helium will not travel downwards towards holes.
    All in all, even if a missile/radar could initially FIND

  • (dang clumsy fingers!)..cont: the airship, it would still require very exact hit to do enough damage to the airships.

    Heat seaking ATA? Engines are buried HUNDREDS of feet inside the airship, bypass engines cool exhaust, no friction heat on the airships’ surface to speak of….in any case, kill an engine, and the airship continues to float in the air, not like hitting an airplane/helicopter. Too…..electric motors would be even less susceptible to heat seakers.

    @ Chuck Hill: airship could carry boarding party and launch RHIB, yes. certainly surface warship can do so also…but the idea is to give the Navy MORE versatility and speed, not simply re-do what they can already do.

    Okay, done now. More at my place if anyone wants.

  • capospin

    Grampa Bluewater , yours is a good question. It would seem that the mission set you point out is not a stand alone strategy but a subset of geo political goal #1, #2 and #5. This mission objective can not be the role of or controlled by one brach of military service. However I do not estimate that the Dep of Homeland Security is up to the task in the long run. To many parts that in history functioned on their own. USCG might be the key military force for sea side of the force. Army has a big role in much of this. At some point it may be need to fight to defend the south border and do goal #1 and #2 in effect. The USAF may need to re-look at ADC and set up a cold war type of ADC level of operation and take the lead over civil law enforcement groups on the low side. I do not know, but as you so that is a good question.

  • Chuck Hill

    My nightmare scenario is a terrorist group bringing a nuclear weapon into a US port. We are starting to look at containers, but if it is already in our port it’s too late, so we have started to look at them at the ports of departure.

    If I were the OPFOR planner, I would seal it in the keel of a sailboat with a very long time fuse and sail it in.

  • Grampa Bluewater


    Let not give anybody ideas. The net IS all ears.

  • Oooh! I can’t resist this one. @ Chuck Hill and Grandpa Bluewater:

    Yep. Thought of that too…sealed in keel of sailboat. Nice lead shielding there to mask delivery.

    Net has ears? If we can dream it up, anyone else can too. After all, one wouldn’t want necessarily, to blame 9/11 on Tom Clancy? (“Executive Orders”, 1996) Five years before.

  • Grampa Bluewater


    Don’t say I didn’t warn you. Sleep tight tonight (you’re too late to make the Duty Agent Work List input cut off). For tonight. This weekend, now….

  • Grampa Bluewater


    It doesn’t matter how you slice the pie, as long as all concerned know which piece is theirs and only grown ups get a piece.

    Right now the children are squabbling in the nursery and the grownups are watching the game and grilling hamburgers on the deck. No adult supervision or involvement.

    Band aids and ice packs in the near future, if we’re lucky. I know you told em:
    “Heads and necks are hard to fix. Don’t run with anything in your mouth.”

    OOWWWW! Boo hooooooooooo. Momma, Daddy, Gramma, Granpa….

    Did I just channel last weekend? Or the next terrorist attack?

    Damn, the wife took away my second whisky sour.

  • Grampa Bluewater


    Let’s put some black money into the History Channel and some Hollywood studio. Just enough to get script and final cut approval.

    It’ll be expensive, we’ll have to outbid the old left and the new Arabs (AQ et. al.) They already have a significant piece of the action, looking at the output these days.

  • capospin

    Grampa bluewater:

    You are close to ground truth on this. When it all pops we will not be in good shape. The nuc – in a boat threat as well as the nuc in a truck over the south border threat are not funded as they must be. Also the good old war with the PRC (China) , North Korea, a new take on the USA bad boy Russia or some other conflict (war) we can not know about yet are not being funded. Understand we are in combat (war) right now. U.S. forces are throwing down a fight today and taking KIA/WIA as we talk. The defense budget is not up to the task at hand. No one is the politico class seem to understand history or strategy. This makes the Carter years look good.

  • Bill

    Grandpa–You make me recall one of Mahan’s Requirements—National Will. When one considers all the foolishness we Americans see in the Congress and the wild pressure groups of national importance, having a ell developed “National Will” is something to be most strongly desired. At one time one could depend on the public school systems throughout the Nation. Today the schools present a sorry foundation in such matters.
    Good Luck to all you youngsters. We have Internal Problems as well as Extrenal ones.

  • capospin

    there is not a thing broken in our national education system that a good Mom and Dad at home can not fix. The problem is a lack of Mom-Dad leadership teams. In the day this was a know as an American family unit. It takes two parents (male/female) working together to do what must be done. The internal problems we face as a nation come from the brake down of the family and the outright attack on the family be the social forces of the anti-family and anti-individual movement. This is collectivism and state socialism Vs. American liberal conservatism. The French Revolution Vs. The American Revolution. Who will win? The world wonders.

  • Grampa Bluewater

    It’s not that some guys can’t take a joke, it’s that some guys take it in their teeth, get all lathered up, and jump the fence and run around knocking over lawn furniture in the neighbors’ yard.

    Steady, men…Steaaady.

    Tell you what. Let’s start small. We’ll see if we can get “Victory at Sea, Part II (The Collapse of Empires and the Cold War)”, on the History Channel. Anybody know a genius level composer and an announcer with a voice for radio? We’ll just get the guy who wrote “Six Frigates” to do the script, with the guys who did “Iron Man” for color quips to pep it up for the kids.
    (Hmmm, maybe we should just get an arranger to adapt Richard Rogers, Dum Dum Da Da Dum Dum, DaDaDa DumDum!…..,great stuff.)

    But we digress. Back to the search for an adequate and balanced Navy for the years ahead…

  • capospin

    Well Grampa, In the search for an adequate and balanced Navy we find that there is no money for such an undertaking in the offering. We do not have a defense budget up to the takes for the missions and active wars the American armed forces are called to do. The defense dollars are not in step with what we are call to do. The Navy will not get any better off any time soon. The same for the Air Force. The Army is tied to the the current fight and is in no why in any shape to look at the next fight to come. It is not even up the speed for the current fight. All the politico class can do is play one service off against the other for the limited dollars. This in a government that is spending tax dollars (taxing, speeding and printing money) as though tomorrow will never come. We have not had any thing like this (on this scale) in American history. What is the way ahead?

  • Bill

    In the short term,now plus 20 years, we better hope there will be funding for the Utility Outfield to prosper.
    An aside. Take a look at what “great nations” are now willing to spend as much as the US does today. Who are they ? Nada. China has the potential as do Russia and sometime, maybe India.
    There must be many reasonable alternatives to the existing way of our doing business.

  • Grampa Bluewater


    I dinna disagree a bit.

    From time ta time poverty comes upon us. The first thing is ta stop losin’ coins from the hole in the bottom of yer purse.

    Like the shipbuilding budget. And needless wrecks brought on by not fixing critical equipment before sailing and not taking the time to have the ISIC certify the crew is sufficiently trained to take the ship to sea by having them demonstrate the fundamental skills in a dedicated fast cruise. It might be good to send the Ensigns through a basic school (hat tip:USMC) so they know enough to train lookouts, investigate alarms, and other fundamental skills. I would get run them thoroughly ragged in a simulator doing piloting team and collision avoidance training and basic radar plotting.

    There are several simulators within a day’s journey from Newport, not always fully booked in the evening.

    That way they have some street cred with the sailors when they step on board. Not up to the standards of a 3rd Mate License, but not clueless.

    Then perhaps we might get some defense contractors to understand the fiscal facts of life in the new age by starting to write contracts with really mean penalty clauses (all those pesky lawyers in uniform can start earning their pay). Or whatever we have to do to get the ship design, building, and cost control world under control. FIVE TIMES ESTIMATED COST FOR THE LCS AND NO FLAG OFFICER BLOOD ON THE DECK?

    ahhungh. Pardon me, had to reset my pacemaker. As I was saying,
    the Navy needs to clean its own house wrt management and get tight fisted aa hell. What? Yes, it can be done, actually. How do I know?; because it’s being done in New London every day.

    Once the Navy has its act reasonably together, then it needs to build a modest and affordable prototype for each of the orphan types, then wring the hell out of them, write up the lessons learned and revise the plans accordingly. Put out a first flight
    class build in modest numbers, evaluate, and put out a flight two, test and revise thoroughly and then go to series production for a much longer production run.

    The working hours for the design and supt of shipbuilding teams should be the same as 1943, because there is a war on.

    That should keep everybody off the street and out of mischief for about a decade. Then the Navy can start on the big ship update and replacement program. But it better get the small boy picture under control before starting on the big bucks.

    Besides, current strategic folly will bring chickens home to roost, and the atmosphere inside the beltway will change. Hopefully, for the better.

    But you are right, it’s going to get worse before it gets better.

  • Chuck Hill

    It occurs to me that we do have some division of labor on the Naval side, in that the Coast Guard concentrates on the low end threats and the Navy picks up the rest.

  • capospin

    just let Kings Point run/train the SWO program. That might keep the CG off the reef and the gray boats from running into each other. A 3ed Mates License might be what is needed at that level (at all levels of deck/line underway leadership). Kings Point should have a bigger/major role in this. Well it could be a start. As you say it will get worse before it gets better.

  • Grampa Bluewater


    Upon declaration of war and mobilization, the Coast Guard becomes part of the Navy. Hmmmm.


    And they don’t have to go that far south to get excellent training in piloting, as long as you can get used to only one really long necked alidade…

    But once again, we digress.

    Why not list an order of battle by ship type for the whole Navy.
    They used to do that in the 30’s and 40’s. Very big on it, actually. Then see if we can can up with a budget for the shopping list, as in how much to pay for each ship based on the mode price on the world market, and how much ship you get for that average. Three oceans to cover (lant, pac, ind).

    Lead off, anyone?

  • UltimaRatioReg

    How about this?

    A carrier, two submarines, and the rest are amphibs and NGF platforms! 🙂

    But seriously, are we assuming that the Navy will be given the expanded BMD mission it envisions?

  • Grampa Bluewater

    Let’s assume yes. Politicians tend to like things that directly protect their hides.

    Don’t forget the fleet train. Otherwise the NGFS ships will run out of bullets and black oil (or ND fuel or whatever).

    Let’s start by listing what is in the locker now, then add.

  • Chuck Hill

    Rather than ship types, what capabilities do we need? Where are we short? Then, what is the most economical way to reach the desired combination of capabilities?

  • capospin

    OK Grampa, if I were the SecNav we would fight to build and fund this”

    SSN 80
    SSGN 15
    SSBN 15 ( we must get out of the SALT USSR thinking)

    * we also need 6 DSRV, keep NR1 operational and fund new force of ALVIN’s

    CVN 15 (home port 9 CVN PACFLEET)

    DLGN 45 (call them what they are and do)

    DD/DDG 85

    DE/DEG 75 (call them what they are and do}

    LHA/LHD 14

    LPD/LSD 14

    LST 20 (yes we still need this type of amphib)

    MSO (Mine warfare ships) 25

    AD 9
    AS 11
    AR 6
    ASR 8
    ATF 10
    ATS 8
    store ship, tankers, fast combat-support ship 35

    Well, this is what I estimate we need to do the job. Is it good to go?

  • Bill

    What Intergalactic Fleet is this proposed Navy to fight ?
    What Timeframe ?
    What is the likely source of funding ?
    But a great chuckle!

  • virgil xenophon

    Grampaw Bluewater hit the nail on the head up thred on 14 JUL 9:41 post when he talked to the aspect of political will in shaping the Navy’s budget. As an Air Force jr. birdman I’ll not speak to the exact composition of the fleet here (although I have my own quite obviously brilliant ideas) but instead emphasize that what I believe ails the Navy equally as much as poor planning and decision-making in the forming of the composition of the fleet against some sort of strategic vision based on probable threats both future and present is it’s supine unwillingness to use the resources and good-will it has to shape public opinion to not only influence votes in Congress vis a vie naval budgets in the appropriations process–but elections as well. For unless we elect enough people who take defense matters seriously–as opposed to the those who hold an anti-military bias–all the “sharp” thinking in the world inside the Navy is simply going to be another exercise in re-arranging the deck-chairs on an ever-shrinking Navy budget ship.

    What people have been slow to realize–mainly because it has taken a while for the old incumbents to die off–is that the “Southern strategy which saw the white, conservative southern democrats like Sam Nunn replaced with Republicans means that the moderating influence of pro-military key senior democrats (senior because they had longevity due to being in previously un-challenged “safe” seats) in the Democratic Party are GONE. Which means that now–unlike in the past–when the Donkey Party controls things there is ALMOST NO ONE in the that party who takes almost ANY threat seriously–as witness the slashing of the budget under Obama and a Democrat controlled Congress even as the threats proliferate.

    Seen in the above light, I firmly believe that we are in historically un-charted political waters not seen since pre-WWII.
    The ultimate answer to the Navy’s woes lies in an arena it’s traditions shy away from–political action. Unless the Navy marshals every PR and lobbying effort it can legally muster–and unless it’s alumni/veterans began organized campaigns to influence elections of those of both parties favorably disposed to the armed services and the national defense–the ship will continue to take on water. What the Navy is doing now is trying to more effectively “manage/tend” the pumps, but until and unless it patches an every expanding budgetary hole in it’s hull (the budgetary throw-off of the workings of the political class) even the most efficiently tended pumps will be over-whelmed even as the Navy watches billions of budget dollars siphoned off for the likes of “community organizing” outfits like ACORN. ACORN–and those who think it is a nifty organization–are the Navy’s REAL, MOST DEADLY AND IMMEDIATE enemies. Unless the Navy can manage to help elect those who oppose ACORN–as opposed to those who would (and currently ARE) budget billions (thats Billions with a “B”) for it–the ultimate fate of the Navy–and this nation–is in grave danger.

  • Grampa Bluewater

    Virgil X.

    Whoa, big fellow, whoa.

    You’re outside my lifelines, my friend. Military professionals
    in a democracy in the form of a federal republic are party neutral. Military and strategic advice to the Executive and Legislative branches are based on ground truth and must be the same to any member of any party.

    I’ll give my befuddled old man’s opinion on just about anything, but in this forum I mean to keep it to naval affairs, national defense, leadership, integrity, and common sense (as I see it)
    within the DoD or mebbe the NCA. In house Navy, I’ll call ’em as I see em regardless of rank, designator, or sacred cow.

    Sometimes I’ll take a more extreme position than I might actually hold for purpose of arguement. I learn most from a lively discussion. Mispent youth, fell in amongst ruffians, you know.

    Partisan Politics and ideology, not on this site, not under this handle.

    I recommend the same to all.

    If I talk about national “will”, I am indulging my Mahanian side with reference to educating the citizenry at large. Lili whats-her-name I am not.

    Breakers ahead, recommend reverse course NOW with full rudder.

  • Grampa Bluewater


    Thanks for leading off. If anybody differs, show us your list and say why.


    The aim is to preserve the peace. Crush the first miscreant while having enough on tap to crush the one who thinks we don’t have enough whup ass left in the can to deal with another tiff half a world away. Deterrence if possible, detergence if necessary. The idea is to keep the USA safe and international conditions scrupulously polite and proper.
    polite. Or that how this old thunder lizard sees it.

    How many do you recommend?

  • Grampa Bluewater

    Oops, well just delete the second polite.

  • Grampa Bluewater

    Well, what capabilities do you see as needed, and then which are needing remedial attention?

  • capospin

    Grampa Bluewater, Steel on target! For my 21st century fleet I use the eleventh edition of the USNI’s “The Ships and Aircraft of the US Fleet” as a base guide. The types/class and approximate number of ships reflect what the USN had on hand in 1978! (I added to some types based on what the USN would up to in the 1980’s, but the over all base line force is 1978) To get a Navy this size we can build new, SLEP and FRAM. Should take about 10 years if we get building!

  • virgil xenophon

    Grampa Bluewater/

    Perhaps you overlooked the “…every PR and lobbying effort it can LEGALLY muster.” part. My point was simply to urge the Navy to do something which it has long done–only more effectively and with greater intensity. Nowhere did I say that young uniformed Ensigns should pace thru the Halls of Congress personally button-holing Senators and Reprsentatives for votes. Are not the Blue Angles part of the PR effort–as are speeches/talks made by the CNO before think tanks, newspaper editorial boards and the likes of the National Press Club all part of that legal PR/lobbying effort? My point is that discussions here “in-house” about the ideal composition of the force, tng standards, etc., are all well and good and certainly necessary–but hardly sufficient unless everyone here enjoys simply re-arranging the deck-chairs. My objective in my post was/is to alert the “big kids” who read this thing that they had better get their PR and outreach acts together and coordinate with those Veterans groups able to actively advocate in political campaigns–else the breach in the hull will continue to expand even as those manning the pumps (i.e., the active duty Navy) are working furiously away.

  • Bill

    I believe Virgil is close to the target . The essential Mahanian concept of “National Will” is at the heart of the matter. During my lifetime I have seen a large erosion of National Pride of ownership of such things as a worldclass and clearly dominent Navy.

    Today’s Congress as a whole does not enjoy spending money for large chunks of most any type of military hardware. I have no doubt that the Anglo-Saxons of the world have been too successful in manipulating their way in important world matters. The Public has grown used to important successes earned by some strong leadership and the considerable dedication of many military persons to hard duty over long years.

    Today’s LONDON TIMES has a piece showing the poor financial support being provided for the Afgan War. The RN may fade away soon. Needed helos may not make it to the Afgan terrain. Unless the Public understands and is indoctrinated to support a sensible Grand Strategy the US military may easily face the same situation within a few years. The US is hung far and wide with a small number of professionals fighting a good fight with uncertain hardcore suport of John Q Public.

    The Blue Angeles can’t do it all. But who can and who will ?
    That’s a line of discussion that might be fruitful. In my opinion, Sirs, we need to focus on the development and strethening of National Will. Anything less is games.

    I can only see some few new pieces on the chessboard, here’s a quick salvo:

    6 –“new” modified Shoot and do good battleGroups. Each to have at least two a/c decks for the a/c of the moment. Amphib capability with a battalion of Marines aboard with gear and means to get ashore and get settled into varied terrain. Hospital and Public Health units part of the capability. Deploy to South and Central America, Africa and SE Asian Island areas.

    All the usual other stuff as funds permit. I see the CVs shrinking to 8 in the not too distant future. Cost will Rule.

  • UltimaRatioReg

    “I see the CVs shrinking to 8 in the not too distant future. Cost will Rule.”

    Please, God, let’s be smart enough to mothball the others instead of cutting them up. Heaven knows, sometimes we’ve had to build them in a hurry.

  • Grampa Bluewater

    Virgil X.

    No question Mother Navy has been far too coy the last couple of decades. I’m for anything strictly non-partisan to get the word out about the need for and value of the sea services.

    I just don’t want any right/left, rep/dem, them/us foolishness.
    Defense of the Republic, the Constitutional requirement to maintain a Navy, why sea power matters, overarching stategy, the Mahanian enduring geopolitical facts of life among nations, that word has to be gotten out.

  • UltimaRatioReg


    Solid advice. And besides, the kinder, gentler nonsense didn’t begin on 20 Jan 2009. It goes back a long way before that, and has been pushed by both parties along the way.

    Time to reorient on what we want to do on the seas, and just who would want to stop us, and how.

  • capospin

    Well our country has been down this way before just not on the scale and scope. The National Will erosion is hand and glove with the attach on the family and the individual. This is not rep/dem or them vs. us “foolishness”. I restate the point about socialism and collectivism Vs. American liberal conservatism or the ideas of the French Revolution vs. the ideas of the American Revolution. This has been going on in our country for over 100 years now. One must understand the political forces at work in the history of own own country. Well all that comes down to the fact the political elite’s and the political class do not always see a need for the military (any size). The current state of affairs is just such a moment. No one seems to understand air power/air-space power as well as sea power. The need for a Navy is an after thought at best. Bill estimates the 8 CVs is about all we get. I say we will be lucky if we have that many. So this is what we most likely will see as a Navy over the next 12 to 20 years:

    CV 6 (four CV in PACFLEET) also not the CAG may or may not have F35, Navair is broken as well
    CG 0
    DDG/DD 35
    FFG 0
    LCS 12
    SSN 24
    SSBN 8 (could be at of the fleet do to SALT/START with Russia)
    SSNG 12
    LHA/LHD 8
    LSD/LPD 8

    That is the right size fleet we are building too. I may have it to big is size. This size force is based on the idea that founds will be set up to do all the upkeep and yard work.

    What can we do on the seas with a fleet this size? The PRC (China) and a new bad boy Russia will come looking to stop us or fight us. Iran and North Korea will take a pice of that action as well. India might “stop” us from time to time. Will will need to concentrate the fleet in one ocean at a time to have mass so not to be “stopped” by a regional navy. The USN will, do to it small size be organized into a battle force. The battle force will be concentrated or focused in one ocean with a limited number of task forces averrable for action. The Panama Canal will be vital for the swing fleet concept to work. Intel and space based intel will be more vital for orienting the battle force. We can be stopped by lose of space intel and communication platforms. In any sea fight we will have no depth of force. The enemy need only to bleed us (sink or badly damage ships and kill men) to curtail our actions. The USN will be limited in what it can do in any action or operation. The United States be loose sea power or sea control at times. This will jeopardize our national strategy. And so it goes.

  • Bill

    Please try to keep in mind that the future I see will be much different than the past 60 years. Forget about the USA being the world’s policeman. We can’t afford it, the need is no longer quite so urgent and the natives will no longer tolerate our effort.

    We will see China emerge as a naval power. It has a need for assured freedom of the sea because of its vast need for imported raw material. It is reasonable for China to protect its sea routes through the Indian Ocean and Southeast Asia. China and the USA should be close friends if only because of the similarity of our needs as established major trading partners. I hope the present effort at establishing mutual relationships between the senior naval officers will bear fruit. It makes good sense. Ditto India . (Could we really sell them a surplus aircraft carrier ?)

    Think of a sustained effort to be the friends of a large number of governments/people who populate the developed/rising world. Even more than China the USA is likely to continue to be a trading nation, dependent on freedon of the seas and peaceful trade routes. We must never place that at risk. We must have the ability to deploy ships to great distances and operate for extended periods. Just like the early days of our Navy.

    I know of no American naval officers who have raised the issue of the stability and success of South America. Geography shows this to be part of the US natural sphere of influence. We should no longer encourage other powers to work their way in this area. I believe that this is a good place to make friends through continued naval efforts on the soft side of diplomacy. Show me some more hOSPITAL sHIPS! Inexpensive and productive. No need for Carrier Battle Groups to have substanial positive results. Even if the USN suffers the loss of some CBG there will remain much good work to accomplish close to home.