Distributed What? – The New Surface Warfare Buzz


Am I living in a surreal world where buzzwords and acronyms are taking the place of basic strategic naval practices.

More lethal, I assume more heavily armed surface warship seems to be the new Mahanian thinking coming out of our Navy’s leaders. For the past six months more and more articles have appeared with distributed this and distributed that.

Better weapons mix, more powerful weapons, combining different types of warship, changing the mix of warships (trying to justify the LCS/FF numbers and underarm ment), over the horizon targeting( I thought we could do this now), and mine warfare (in which the USN is far behind in ship numbers and capabilities).

Basic thoughts in question format.

1 – Should not our warships be the most heavily armed and powerful class for class of any ships in the world?

2 – Should the weapon systems on our ships be the most advanced of any adversary?

3 – Should we be able to deploy and support the fleet no matter where deployed by the National Command Authority

4 – Should we have sufficient ships of each class available to remain on station 24/7/365?

A frigate use to be a heavily armed, fast sailer, that was the eyes and ears of the fleet. Example USS Constitution and her sister ships. What happened? Maybe we should call the new Zumwalt class destroyers (the size of the game changing HMS Dreadnought launched in 1905) “our new” cruiser frigates.

Who are our real and not perceived enemies? The one carrier PLAN or the half rusting Russian Navy. Of course both of the aforementioned are in the process of expanding and rebuilding their rspective navies and have developed some interesting offensive weapons. But they are far from being able challenge the United States Navy and it’s Allies.

The boogeyman scare of the perceived missile gap of the 60’s has been revised to the PLAN is coming, the PLAN is coming.

What is needed inside the beltway are strong Navy leaders who advocate for the large robust fleet that can fight anywhere, at anytime, and defeat anyone who dares to challenge the United States. Technology and tactics have evolved but it is still as Admiral Mahan stated “the need for a fleet in being”.

Thank heavens for our submarine fleet – boats delivered on time, or earlier, and on or under budget, and with excellent  weapons suites. That is distributed lethality – but even here we need the numbers.
Comments and discussion most welcomed.