mean that naval surface combatants, and especially the large-deck aircraft carriers that are the Navy’s capital ships, may not survive in the high-technology wars of the coming decades. Finally, the nature and pattern of Navy presence missions may be out of synch with emerging strategic realities. In sum, though it stands without peer today, the Navy faces major challenges to its traditional and, in the past, highly successful methods of operation”.
“Thus, while naval presence, including carrier presence, in the western Pacific should be increased, the Navy should begin to conduct many of its presence missions with other kinds of battle groups based around cruisers, destroyers and other surface combatants as well as submarines. Indeed, the Navy needs to better understand the requirement to have substantial numbers of cruise-missile platforms at sea and in close proximity to regional hot spots, using carriers and naval aviation as reinforcing elements”.
“The Navy’s force of attack submarines also should be expanded. It is unclear that the current and planned generations of attack submarines (to say nothing of new ballistic missile submarines) will be flexible enough to meet future demands. The Navy should reassess its submarine requirements not merely in light of current missions but with an expansive view of possible future missions as well”.
“The Navy must begin to transition away from its heavy dependence on carrier operations….. Design and research on a future CVX carrier should continue, but should aim at a radical design change to accommodate an air wing based primarily on unmanned aerial vehicles” .
“To offset the reduced role of carriers, the Navy should slightly increase its fleets of current-generation surface combatants and submarines for improved strike capabilities in littoral waters and to conduct an increasing proportion of naval presence missions with surface action groups. Additional investments in counter-mine warfare are needed, as well” .
“In particular, the Marine Corps, like the Navy, must turn its focus on the requirements for operations in East Asia, including Southeast Asia. In many ways, this will be a ‘back to the future’ mission for the Corps, recalling the innovative thinking done during the period between the two world wars and which established the Marines’ expertise in amphibious landings and operations” .
“As a supplement to forces stationed abroad under long-term basing arrangements, the United States should seek to establish a network of ‘deployment bases’ or ‘forward operating bases’ to increase the reach of current and future forces. Not only will such an approach improve the ability to project force to outlying regions, it will help circumvent the political, practical and financial constraints on expanding the network of American bases overseas”.
“There should be a strong strategic synergy between U.S. forces overseas and in a reinforcing posture: units operating abroad are an indication of American geopolitical interests and leadership, provide significant military power to shape events and, in wartime, create the conditions for victory when reinforced. Conversely, maintaining the ability to deliver an unquestioned ‘knockout punch’ through the rapid introduction of stateside units will increase the shaping power of forces operating overseas and the vitality of our alliances. In sum, we see an enduring need for large-scale American forces” .
“Further, improvements should be made to existing air bases in new and potential NATO countries to allow for rapid deployments, contingency exercises, and extended initial operations in times of crisis. These preparations should include modernized air traffic control, fuel, and weapons storage facilities, and perhaps small stocks of prepositioned munitions, as well as sufficient ramp space to accommodate surges in operations. Improvements also should be made to existing facilities in England to allow forward operation of B-2 bombers in times of crisis, to increase sortie rates if needed”.
“The Air Force should be redeployed to reflect the shifts in international politics. Independent, expeditionary air wings containing a broad mix of aircraft, including electronic warfare, airborne command and control, and other support aircraft, should be based in Italy, Southeastern Europe, central and perhaps eastern Turkey, the Persian Gulf, and Southeast Asia”.
Significant reductions in U.S. nuclear forces might well have unforeseen consequences that lessen rather than enhance the security of the United States and its allies” .
“Over the past decade, efforts to design and build effective missile defenses have been ill-conceived and underfunded, and the Clinton Administration has proposed deep reductions in U.S. nuclear forces without sufficient analysis of the changing global nuclear balance of forces” .
“Rather than maintain and improve America’s nuclear deterrent, the Clinton Administration has put its faith in new arms control measures, most notably by signing the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT). The treaty proposed a new multilateral regime, consisting of some 150 states, whose principal effect would be to constrain America’s unique role in providing the global nuclear umbrella that helps to keep states like Japan and South Korea from developing the weapons that are well within their scientific capability, while doing little to stem nuclear weapons proliferation. Although the Senate refused to ratify the treaty, the administration continues to abide by its basic strictures. And while it may make sense to continue the current moratorium on nuclear testing for the moment – since it would take a number of years to refurbish the neglected testing infrastructure in any case – ultimately this is an untenable situation. If the United States is to have a nuclear deterrent that is both effective and safe, it will need to test.” .
“But what should finally drive the size and character of our nuclear forces is not numerical parity with Russian capabilities but maintaining American strategic superiority – and, with that superiority, a capability to deter possible hostile coalitions of nuclear powers. U.S. nuclear superiority is nothing to be ashamed of; rather, it will be an essential element in preserving American leadership in a more complex and chaotic world”.
“Until the process of transformation is treated as an enduring military mission – worthy of a constant allocation of dollars and forces – it will remain stillborn”.
“RAD” envisions a future in which the United States is in complete control of land, sea, air, space and cyberspace of planet Earth. It finds objectionable the limitations imposed by the ABM treaty and urges a newer rendition of Reagan’s ‘Star Wars’ defense shield program. Three missions are seen as crucial.
“The first element in any missile defense network should be a galaxy of surveillance satellites with sensors capable of acquiring enemy ballistic missiles immediately upon launch”.
“At the same time, the administration’s devotion to the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) Treaty with the Soviet Union has frustrated development of useful ballistic missile defenses. This is reflected in deep budget cuts – planned spending on missile defenses for the late 1990s has been more than halved, halting work on space-based interceptors, cutting funds for a national missile defense system by 80 percent and theater defenses by 30 percent. Further, the administration has cut funding just at the crucial moments when individual programs begin to show promise. Only upgrades of currently existing systems like the Patriot missile – originally designed primarily for air defense against jet fighters, not missile defense – have proceeded generally on course.
“Yet to truly transform itself for the coming century, the Air Force must accelerate its efforts to create the new systems – and, to repeat, the space-based systems – that are necessary to shift the scope of air operations from the theater level to the global level”.
“…control of space – defined by Space Command as ‘the ability to assure access to space, freedom of operations within the space medium, and an ability to deny others the use of space’ – must be an essential element of our military strategy”.
“Much as control of the high seas – and the protection of international commerce – defined global powers in the past, so will control of the new ‘international commons’ be a key to world power in the future. An America incapable of protecting its interests or that of its allies in space or the ‘infosphere’ will find it difficult to exert global political leadership”.
“The proliferation of technologies for delivering highly accurate fires over increasingly great distances poses a great challenge for both the Army and the Marine Corps, but rather than attempting to compete in the game of applying long-range fires, both services would be better off attempting to complement the vastly improved strike capabilities of the Navy and Air Force, and indeed in linking decisive maneuvers to future space capabilities as well”.
“Target significant new investments toward creating capabilities for operating in space, including inexpensive launch vehicles, new satellites and transatmospheric vehicles, in preparation for a decision as to whether space warfare is sufficiently different from combat within earth’s atmosphere so as to require a separate ‘space service’. Such a transformation would in fact better realize the Air Force’s stated goal of becoming a service with true global reach and global strike capabilities”.
“The complexity of space control will only grow as commercial activity increases. American and other allied investments in space systems will create a requirement to secure and protect these space assets; they are already an important measure of American power. Yet it will not merely be enough to protect friendly commercial uses of space.
“As Space Command also recognizes, the United States must also have the capability to deny America’s adversaries the use of commercial space platforms for military purposes in times of crises and conflicts. Indeed, space is likely to become the new ‘international commons’, where commercial and security interests are intertwined and related. Just as Alfred Thayer Mahan wrote about ‘sea-power’ at the beginning of the 20th century in this sense, American strategists will be forced to regard ‘space-power’ in the 21st”.
“In short, the unequivocal supremacy in space enjoyed by the United States today will be increasingly at risk”.
“As Colin Gray and John Sheldon have written, ‘Space control is not an avoidable issue. It is not an optional extra.’ For U.S. armed forces to continue to assert military preeminence, control of space – defined by Space Command as ‘the ability to assure access to space, freedom of operations within the space medium, and an ability to deny others the use of space’ – must be an essential element of our military strategy. If America cannot maintain that control, its ability to conduct global military operations will be severely complicated, far more costly, and potentially fatally compromised”.
“But, over the longer term, maintaining control of space will inevitably require the application of force both in space and from space, including but not limited to anti-missile defenses and defensive systems capable of protecting U.S. and allied satellites; space control cannot be sustained in any other fashion, with conventional land, sea, or airforce, or by electronic warfare. This eventuality is already recognized by official U.S. national space policy, which states that the ‘Department of Defense shall maintain a capability to execute the mission areas of space support, force enhancement, space control and force application”.
“Conversely, an offensive capability could offer America’s military and political leaders an invaluable tool in disabling an adversary in a decisive manner. Taken together, the prospects for space war or ‘cyberspace war’ represent the truly revolutionary potential inherent in the notion of military transformation. These future forms of warfare are technologically immature, to be sure. But, it is also clear that for the U.S. armed forces to remain preeminent and avoid an Achilles Heel in the exercise of its power they must be sure that these potential future forms of warfare favor America just as today’s air, land and sea warfare reflect United States military dominance”.
Strategy for Transforming Conventional Forces
Read below notions of how conventional warfare will be conducted in the future, including the use of microbes and “advanced forms of biological warfare that can ‘target’ specific genotypes.”
“In exploiting the ‘revolution in military affairs,’ the Pentagon must be driven by the enduring missions for U.S. forces. This process will have two stages: transition, featuring a mix of current and new systems; and true transformation, featuring new systems, organizations and operational concepts. This process must take a competitive approach, with services and joint-service operations competing for new roles and missions. Any successful process of transformation must be linked to the services, which are the institutions within the Defense Department with the ability and the responsibility for linking budgets and resources to specific missions”.
Changes in Naval Warfare: “Beyond immediate opportunities such as conversion of Trident submarines, consideration should be given to employing a deactivated carrier to better understand the possibilities of operating large fleets of UAVs at sea. Likewise, submerged ‘missile pods,’ either permanently deployed or laid covertly by submarines in times of crisis, could increase strike capabilities without risking surface vessels in littoral waters. In general, if the Navy is moving toward ‘network-centric’ warfare, it should explore ways of increasing the number of ‘nodes on the net'”.
Army of the Future: “Consider just the potential changes that might effect the infantryman. Future soldiers may operate in encapsulated, climate-controlled, powered fighting suits, laced with sensors, and boasting chameleon-like ‘active’ camouflage. ‘Skin-patch’ pharmaceuticals help regulate fears, focus concentration and enhance endurance and strength. A display mounted on a soldier’s helmet permits a comprehensive view of the battlefield – in effect to look around corners and over hills – and allows the soldier to access the entire combat information and intelligence system while filtering incoming data to prevent overload. Individual weapons are more lethal, and a soldier’s ability to call for highly precise and reliable indirect fires – not only from Army systems but those of other services – allows each individual to have great influence over huge spaces. Under the ‘Land Warrior’ program, some Army experts envision a ‘squad’ of seven soldiers able to dominate an area the size of the Gettysburg battlefield – where, in 1863, some 165,000 men fought”.