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Future of the US Navy

Kudos to Joe Mazzafro for his superb trip report. We've also reposted our 450-ship Navy article, and a few comments.

Further to Joe's "must read" report, here are a few thoughts:

1)  The most positive aspect of current naval thinking is that there are indeed some folks that understand that we need four Navies, not one, just like we need four Armied and Air Forces, each tailored to Big War, GWOT/Small War, Homeland Defense, and Peace War (pro-active prevention and stabilization).

2)  The most negative thing about the recurring themes is one of a Navy, and its leadership and its supporting vendors, being in disarray, without a firm grip on strategy.  The absence of a plan for integrating Navy and Coast Guard hulls and systems to get to the 450-ship Navy that we envision, and the general lack of any reference in this conference to how the Marine Corps, Coast Guard, and foreign coalition navies "fit" together, suggest that USN has no idea and is simply avoiding the challenge.

3)  Navy does not seem to appreciate the many, small, fast approach to global naval operations.  Navy is still too wrapped up in big systems, expensive systems, unilateral systems.

4)  The most troubling statement made, in my view, was from the CNO when he focused on how navies take a long time to build.  True, if you insist on doing it the old way.  Not true if you really understand how to rapidly modify and refit existing platforms, if you commit to stopping the premature retirement of perfectly good frigates, and is you read and understand the book about Andrew Jackson Higgins.  Don't tell us you can't build a many, small, fast navy overnight--Andrew Jackson Higgins was designing, building, and testing landing craft in single 24-hour cycles.  He was completing one new Liberty Ship every single day.

5)  The next big revolution is going to be the commercialization of intelligence.  Open spectrum is going to join open source information and open source software, and the US Navy will have no alternative, in the next ten years, but to get with the program and become compatible with commercial standards and multinational operations.

The navy of the future should a globally integrated coalition navy that mixes and matches blue and brown water craft, military and law enforcement and civil engineering/hospital and stabilization craft, with a global strategy for protecting the environment, stopping terrorism and piracy at the small fast boat level, and enabling massive increases in commercial sea lift.

With all respect, as much as we admire and value the US Navy, there seems to be a tad too much emphasis on business as usual, and insufficient strategic vision with transformative effect.  St.

» Andrew Jackson Higgins and the Boats That Won World War II

USN Future Joe Mazz Conference Report.DOC

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