Monday, March 20, 2017

The Day To Day Navy

Hand in hand with the previous post on promoting warriors (see, "Promoting Warriors"), the Navy needs to shift from its current “presence” deployment mindset to a readiness mindset.  “Presence” is a very questionable concept and long deployments that accomplish nothing but sailing in circles and hosting dignitaries from small countries are nearly pointless and produce far more wear and tear on equipment and personnel than can be justified.  Yes, there is a degree of training but it’s a repetitive, routine type of training that does little to foster operational and tactical expertise.

The Navy needs to be mainly “at home” training and maintaining – ensuring readiness.

Let’s briefly look at the concept of presence.  The theory is that because we have ships in a region, the local bad actors will behave.  The problem is that there is very little evidence to support this and a lot of evidence to the contrary.  Our presence in the South China Sea certainly hasn’t deterred China’s behavior.  They’ve built illegal islands, made illegal territorial claims, used their “Coast Guard” to bully other nations, trespassed into Philippine waters, flagrantly harassed the US Navy, and made ridiculous claims about ownership of other nation’s land.  Our presence in Europe hasn’t stopped Russia from annexing Crimea and invading Urkraine.  Our presence in the Middle East hasn’t stopped terrorism, Iranian nuclear ambitions, Iranian seizures of RN and USN naval craft and personnel, or general Iranian harassment of commercial and military ships.  And so on.

So, if presence isn’t gaining us anything, why do it?  Why send ships, aircraft, and sailors on endless deployments that accomplish next to nothing?  Why accumulate wear and tear on equipment for no gain?  Why separate sailors from their families for months on end to no good purpose?  Why prematurely age our ships if they can’t accomplish anything?  Does conducting naval exercises with some tiny country whose biggest “warship” is a patrol boat really enhance our national security?

Okay, if our current deployments aren’t accomplishing much, what should the Navy be doing?  The answer is obvious.  The Navy should be maintaining and training … full time.  The fleet needs to be “home based” – more on that in a bit.  Instead of deploying for months at a time, ships need to conduct relatively short combat training exercises and then return to port for maintenance.  While in port, crews need to be conducting simulator training, classroom training, attending the various schools, and conducting tactical wargame exercises.

Having the bulk of the fleet in concentrated locations will also allow us to conduct larger, more realistic exercises.  It’s way past time to conduct actual multi-carrier exercises.  We need to conduct realistic exercises and learn how to execute the Navy’s vaunted “distributed lethality” concept (or find out that it’s a garbage concept and drop it).  We need to see what a surface action group can do.  And so on.

If you’re not training, you’re maintaining.  Those are the only two options for a peacetime Navy.

Now, let’s discuss that “home basing” concept.  There’s no problem with having several “home bases” with concentrations of ships and aircraft.  In addition to the obvious east and west coasts, places like Pearl Harbor, Guam, and the like offer possibilities for home basing as well as enhanced realism training.  For example, ships based in Guam can take advantage of the South China Sea to conduct realistic training in the actual geography that they would fight in.  If Guam’s facilities are inadequate for the maintenance needs then ships can rotate through Guam for exercises and return to a maintenance facility when exercises are finished.  As an added bonus, some of the locations offer the side benefit of a degree of “presence” though those types of missions should never be done for their own sake.

Caveat:  Here’s the exception to what I’ve just said.  If we’re willing to conduct presence missions that include a willingness to use force, then presence can have an effect.  For example, if we had sunk the Iranian boats that seized our craft and sailors, that would have sent an actual message.  If we had shot down the Russian aircraft that buzzed our ships at a distance of 30 ft, that would have sent a message.  If we prevented the Chinese from building illegal artificial islands, that would be a worthwhile use of presence.  If we would have shot down the Iranian ballistic missiles that were recently tested, that would have sent a message.  If we used our ship-based BMD (ballistic missile defense) capability to shoot down NKorea’s ballistic test missiles when they enter international airspace and become, thereby, a general threat, that would send a message.  Lacking the willingness to exercise a forceful presence, we’re just wasting time and need to adopt the training and maintenance regimen I’ve just described.


  1. Where did the 'Presence' theory come from? What historical backing does it have?

    You mention Europe; and during the cold war, that made sense. But that was less 'presence' and more a recognition of the fact that REFORGER would take some time, so we had to 'run what we brung' as it were if bad things happened.

    As for 'presence' missions I don't see a whole lot different about an LCS doing a FONOPS and an intelligence trawler like Pueblo sailing close to the enemy. And if the enemy wants either ship out of the way its really not hard for them to pull the trigger and make them go away, or seize the crew.

    Does anyone really think that if an LCS doing a FONOPS was 'accidently' rammed and damaged by a Chinese Coast guard vessel, then boarded for 'safety' or whatever, we'd do anything?

    Instead of a FONOPS would a stronger message be sent if we had a multi carrier group do a training assault on a small island with an airstrip close to US land based air, and simulate a way in which we might have to fight? Heck, we might even learn something.

    I think your idea has alot of advantages. Chief among them to me, A) It's a recognition that we've spread ourselves very thin. B) Bring folks home, and have a downtime for maintenance, and we might get a higher percentage of our Hornets in the air. and C) it gives us a chance to really war game as a fleet.

    I do have two questions. First, You mention Guam. Isn't Guam a bit too close to Chinese MRBM's?

    Second, What about anti-piracy missions? I don't mind the idea of an anti-piracy mission; but the ships should be relatively light and cheap.

    1. Regarding Guam, I refer you back to the recent post on Guam. We need to either abandon it as a serious base or get serious about protecting it as a base.

      Regarding anti-piracy, I refer you back to my various posts and comments about a two tier (peace and war) Navy. The peace tier, cheap commercial patrol vessels, would handle anti-piracy and all the other "peace" activities.

    2. "Where did the 'Presence' theory come from? What historical backing does it have?"

      It dates back at least to the age of sail. Countries would dispatch ships to patrol and establish/maintain their country's presence. The difference is that in those days a ship's Captain actually was free to act as an agent of his country. They could negotiate treaties (under certain circumstances) and enforce their country's wishes with the judicious use of force. In short, they were a viable and effective presence that represented their country's geopolitical aims. The history of what some individual Captains accomplished during peacetime presence patrols makes for fascinating reading. The British Royal Navy's commanders, in particular, were quite effective in their presence missions. The US handling of the Barbary pirates (eventually) was another example of effective presence once we decided to stop paying ransoms and take action.

      Today, our "presence" has no teeth. We take no action even under the most severe and warlike provocations. Presence is a valid concept but only if you're willing to back it with force. Sadly, in this day of appeasement, presence serves no useful purpose. This was the caveat at the end of the post.

    3. Keep in mind that back then, communications were much slower. The Internet did not exist.

      The other problem is that it might invite retaliation. What if the other side fights back?

      You've called for shooting down Russian and Chinese aircraft near American ships (presumably American ships and aircraft in the South China Sea or near the Russian borders).

      What happens if they retaliate?

      An example.

      What if the Russians send a bomber close to US territory (kind of like what the US is doing in China) and manage to shoot down an American aircraft that is intervening?

      It works both ways. I'd be very careful about teeth.

      The other problem is that it's not as easy as you think to shoot down a ballistic missile. They go very, very fast. That's why Reagan's Star Wars could not happen. Probably the only way is before they launch, but that has other problems. It would mean bombing the enemy nation.

    4. I don't advocate going out, hunting for a Russian aircraft or ship, and destroying it. That would be insane. I don't advocate shooting down a Russian aircraft that is peacefully and safely going about its business in international airspace. Give me some credit!

      I advocate responding with force (not necessarily fatal or explosive) and resolve when confronted with Russian ships or aircraft acting in reckless and dangerous fashion near our ships or aircraft. I'm pretty sure you're smart enough to grasp the distinction.

    5. "it's not as easy as you think to shoot down a ballistic missile."

      We're spending HUGE amounts of money to do exactly that and we're banking on being able to do it to protect our bases and ships. If we can't do it, NOW is the time to find out and there is no better way to find out than with a live fire exercise against a rogue nation's missiles that present a threat to safety in international air and water.

    6. "Keep in mind that back then, communications were much slower. The Internet did not exist."

      The Internet did not exist in the age of sail???? It's new and stunning historical data like that that aids me in formulating my theories and concepts.

      I know it's still early in the year but I'm going to go ahead and give you the Least Necessary Statement Award for 2017!

    7. Point is that the level of autonomy you are trying to say, have captains negotiate isn't going to happen in today's world.

      "We're spending HUGE amounts of money to do exactly that and we're banking on being able to do it to protect our bases and ships. If we can't do it, NOW is the time to find out and there is no better way to find out than with a live fire exercise against a rogue nation's missiles that present a threat to safety in international air and water."

      The physics make this a near impossible task.

      This program needs to come clean. Either it has some chance of working someday or needs to be scrapped. Period.

    8. This is why they will never try a realistic test of systems like the SM-3 to shoot down an IRBM or ICBM. It simply lacks the range! And once that becomes evident, billions of dollars in annual profits will disappear. Add this link to AltandMain's list of proof that it is impossible.

    9. The other one worth looking at is the DOTG&E's reports:

      They've got a BMDS section.

    10. "Point is that the level of autonomy you are trying to say, have captains negotiate isn't going to happen in today's world."

      Who called for today's naval captains to negotiate treaties????? Give me the quote. Hint: there isn't one because no one called for that. You need to start reading much more carefully. Read what's there, not what you think is there!

    11. "The physics make this a near impossible task."

      This is an utterly specious argument. The physics made every technological advance in human history near impossible until we learned how to do it. Now, we can fly, go to the moon, etc. There is absolutely technological reason why we can't perform BMD. My point was that now, during peace, is the time to find out whether we've advanced far enough for this technology to be relied on in war or not. I think we're in agreement that we need to find out and there's no better way than a live fire exercise against Iranian or NKorean ballistic missiles.

    12. "Add this link to AltandMain's list of proof that it is impossible."

      You do know that there have been successful ballistic missile intercept tests, right? So, it's not impossible. The question is whether it's consistently achievable under realistic conditions.

  2. 'RTFM Jim...' ;-)

    Fair enough. Sorry.

    FWIW I'm a big fan of the 2 tier Navy. It solves many problems and gives young officers coming up a chance to learn. Especially if we give them room to learn.

    1. "RTFM" - Hey, no problem. I've written so many articles that it's easy to forget what's been posted. I even forget what I've written from time to time!

      Regarding Guam, it's easy to get caught up in the one-sided nature of these discussions. Yes, Guam is potentially in range of Chinese weapons so we tend to criticize/discuss its use. What we too often ignore is that China's weapons, aircraft, ships, bases, are in range of our weapons, subs, Tomahawks, bombers, etc. While they'll be firing at Guam, we'll, presumably, be pounding their bases so it's not as if they'll have free and unlimited, leisurely strikes at Guam for the duration of a conflict. China will be frantically defending their bases and launch sites/platforms. It works both ways but it's easy to lose sight of that fact. Guam is not just a helpless target for the Chinese to practice shooting at.

      That said, we do need to recognize the vulnerabilities of Guam and make sure that we've protected it as best we can if we intend to use it as a base.

      As you read this blog, be sure to keep the balanced overview firmly in mind! I probably need to make more of an effort to present the balanced picture, as well. Unfortunately, the realities of blog space prevent long, detailed overviews of that nature. I generally have room enough to make the main point and that's about all.

      Hope this restores a bit of perspective for you!

    2. "gives young officers coming up a chance to learn."

      That's actually an excellent point that I hadn't really given any thought to. Young officers could start in the peace tier and learn shiphandling, command skills, shipboard life, etc. and then "graduate" to the war tier where they would learn tactics, combat, and all the warfighting skills.

      Excellent comment.

  3. The problem with Guam is that in any war, Guam will be in range of more Chinese weapons than anything Guam can do back.

    Compounding the problem, relations with the locals is mixed:

    The decision to build up would also be mixed:

    What kind of strike abilities are you thinking about? There's an airbase and a naval base. Are you thinking about lots of conventional ballistic missiles?

  4. Agree with most of this, training especially.

    No point in forward deployments unless they actually deter an opponent. I think that local bases should be expanded.

    Actually the best option economically would be closer to isolationism. Given that China is not going to open up its markets and the US remains in deep trade deficit, to the detriment of US manufacturing, technological leadership, and finances.

    That would also allow for more military expenditures in war if need be. Also, manufacturing ability is crucial in war. It's not a secret that Detroit played a vital role in building American vehicles during WW2. Today it is largely in ruins.

    Also, the exercises need to be completely free form. There cannot be what happened in the Millennium Challenge, where the blue team was refloated.

  5. "There cannot be what happened in the Millennium Challenge, where the blue team was refloated."

    I don't mind the blue team being refloated, actually. What I mind is that the Red team was defanged after that. Heck, run it 5 times and see if Blue team can figure out how to handle Red's tactics while accomplishing its mission.

    1. Correct. Restarting a scenario is simply using your time and resources wisely, as long as the original results and lessons are acknowledged and learned. It's when you ignore the original result that you have a problem.

    2. The problem is that they didn't learn about this one.

      They scripted the exercise to get the outcomes they wanted to. My problem is that they refloating and rigged the whole exercise.

  6. While I don't know if this is an issue in the navy, thou I suspect it, is manning requirements.

    In the Army for the past decade post related details were handled by contractors, such as area beautification and security, among others similar tasks. Currently, for the army at least, with the contractor lay-offs, must of this tasks have gone back to be the responsibility of the rank and file. This in itself is not the issue, the issue is that manpower levels haven't been adjusted to compensate, leaving units always short to conduct training and to maintain equipment.

    So while your home basing and shorter training/operation rotations is worthy of investigation, the home based training such as simulations and on-shore requalification will probably not be conducted with all personnel unless these secondary priorities are dealt with an increase of manpower to meet them.

    A simple fix to these is to increase manpower then rotate them thru operational, training & maintenance, and then secondary post-based requirements or stand up units just for these issues (security related issues can be handle by increasing MP units allotted personal).

    Again, that is assuming the navy suffers the same issues that the army dose.

  7. CNO,

    A rare disagreement with you. The Navy should operate forward: on, above, and below the waters it intends to conduct combat operations in.

    Where we likely agree, is that using CVNs and F-18's to precision bomb Toyota pickups in insane. Conducting 11 month deployments so as to maintain that ability for a COCOM is compound insanity and without historical precedent.

    Operate forward, navigate forward, conduct maintenance forward on a historically sustainable deployment and maintenance schedule. (say 6 months on - 18 months off).

    In the long run, its cheaper than the clusterf*ck when it becomes apparent that no one is proficient in getting anything accomplished outside the VACAPES or SOCAL op areas.

    I think we also agree that "Presence" is nonsense. That's not a reason to operate forward (see para 1, supra)

    1. Feel free to disagree. I love a well reasoned disagreement. Now, you state that you think the Navy should operate forward. Fine, but why? What missions should the Navy be pursuing in their forward deployment especially since you acknowledge that presence is not effective?

  8. I think there is a simple solution to countries buzzing each other's warships....turn on CIWS and set it to auto. Make it known that CIWS is armed and anyone entering the engagement envelope will be automatically fired on, then let them come.

    Honestly nobody has any business playing those games in international waters. Time to splash a few planes.

    1. It used to happen often during the Cold War. My ship got "buzzed" by an IL-18 May and a Tu-16 Badger making low passes in international waters. A Tu-95 Bear made a low pass right through between us and the carrier transiting the N. Atlantic, flying a few hundred feet above the water, and a couple hundred feet off to starboard. That was cool.

      This was during the Reagan Administration.

      I am surprised that CNO and the readership of this blog do not recognize the propagandistic nature of the scary Russian stories, which are in service to the movement to replace the current president.

      Ditto with the "Spy ship" stories. Soviet/Russian AGIs have been loitering off Groton and Norfolk for a long time.

      One US Navy ship did shoot down one plane which it thought was coming to to "buzz" it. It did not work out too well.

    2. You need to read my posts and comments carefully and see what I've actually written versus what you think I've written. I have no problem with overflights, flybys, and the like as long as they're done with professionalism and a sufficient safety margin. I draw the line at stunts like the Russian passes 30 ft from the ship, as happened. That's extremely dangerous and needs to be forcefully halted.

      I have stated repeatedly (you're reading carefully, right, so you know this?) that I have absolutely no problem with "spy" ships operating near US shores as long as they remain in international waters and sail safely.

    3. Ya, maybe they got a little too close once, but most looks routine from the old days.

      The media hysteria was not justified, just as it wasn't with the recent "OMG Iranian boats came within 600 yards!" BS.

      Not everything I comment on, like the spy ships, is directed at your writings, just generally commenting on the OMG RUSSIANS hysteria.

  9. I was busy and did not get a chance to comment on your "Promoting Warriors" post, but this post helps me make the point I wanted to.

    Any "warriors" are going to have to succeed at basic division officer, department head and XO stuff, which in peacetime is PMS, EOSS, XO's inspection, INSURVs, EERs.

    And what you say here, maintenance and training. If you can't do that stuff, you won't make command. Most of that stuff does not predict audaciousness in battle.

    The only point where I could see where "warriors" could be screened for is in TAO exercises and simulations, which should be much better now than in the 80s.

    Then there is the intangible of leadership, which takes many forms. The problem as I saw it was that some SWO leaders mistook an aggressive personality for aggressive leadership. This caused the phenomenon of the "screamer" or "flamer" so common in the SWO community then. Some of these aggressive guys took foolish risks and perpetrated big fuckups.

    There's a good, underrated novel by former SECNAV/Senator Jim Webb on the subject of over-aggressive senior leaders: Something to Die For (1991). I highly recommend it. One of the main characters is named Admiral "Mad Dog" Mulcahy, of course no reference to the current SECDEF.

    1. If you carefully read the warriors post and gave it some thought, you'll recall/realize that my stated criteria for promotion was proficiency in tactical, operational, and strategic planning and execution. All the other "stuff" are necessary but secondary factors. Absolutely nothing about my concept would reward "screamers" unless they can also demonstrate combat proficiency.

      Also, many of the administrative tasks would be executed by the administrative branch, in my concept, so some of the mundane tasks might not be the responsibility of the warrior. Of course, the usual on-board maintenance, discipline, inspections, etc. would still apply.

    2. Ya but an ensign, ltjg, lt or even lcdr is not going to get much chance to demonstrate proficiency in tactical or strategic planning. And they have to get promoted.

      Any commander is going to need some grounding in the realities of ship operation and maintenance. Which is why I agree with your focus on maintenance and training.

      I wish I had more time doing tactical stuff when I was a JO. I was pretty good at picking where subs were in coordinated ASW exercises. But 99.9% of my time was preparing for inspections, standing watch, and deflecting whatever hard-on my screamer boss had for one of my chiefs or POs.

      I'm not against emphasizing tactical and strategic competence in commanders. Just don't call them "warriors," because in practice the nitwits will translate that into "be a personally-aggressive flamer."

    3. Thomas, you've completely missing the point of this blog and this post. Well, you're missing half of it. This blog has two broad purposes:

      1. Describe existing conditions (you've kind of got that part)
      2. Describe ways to improve (you're missing that part)

      You're correct that keeping the exact same processes, procedures, tasks, promotion criteria, etc. that we have now and simply referring to the people as warriors will change nothing. All you're describing is the current state of a broken system.

      This post was about completely changing the system. If the system is completely different, you can't apply your current observations.

      Imagine a system where the entire focus of the system was on producing warriors. Starting in basic training, you'd begin tactical and operational exercises. JO's would be given intense tactical and operational instruction and ample opportunities to exercise those lessons and demonstrate competence. The Navy would no longer be focused on pointless deployments, hosting visitors, showing the flag, conducting sensitivity training, and all the other crap jobs. The Navy would be training nearly full time for warfighting so there would be LOTS of opportunities for all officers (and enlisted) to demonstrate warrior competence. We would have non-stop, large scale fleet exercises. And so on.

      Remember, the administrative side of the Navy would handle all the non-combat stuff. Yes, the warriors would still be responsible for maintaining their weapons and conducting basic cleanliness of their ships because that's a key aspect of readiness but combat training would be the focus by a wide margin.

      "Screamers" would gain nothing by their behavior. On the other hand, such behavior would not necessarily be a career killer. A screamer who was a tactical genius would be forgiven. Remember the old days (or stories of the old days, depending on your age) when warriors were forgiven some minor indiscretions (a little too much to drink on occasion, a grounding of the ship, an inappropriate comment, etc.) because they were recognized as warriors? That's what we need to get back to. I'm not advocating drunks in command. I'm saying that we don't kick out warriors just because someone occasionally had a little too much to drink.

      So, your observations are valid only in today's Navy, not in the proposed Navy. This post is the half of the blog that deals with the way the Navy should be, not how it is.

    4. Fair enough. Actually sounds like more fun than the Navy I was in, except for the lack of foreign port calls from foward deployment, but I guess a lot of that is gone anyways now.

  10. I agree 100%! This would boost readiness, improve morale, and save money on fuel and maintenance. I read stories of our sub force worn out by deployments. But since they are unseen, what kind of "presence" is that?

    And every few years, or Navy is needed for a big op, but nothing is available! Admirals can't even get three carriers into action within six months!

  11. I don't agree. Forward presence is the keystone of the US Navy's role. Without those deployments "going in circles and hosting foreign leaders" as you paraphrase it the US Navy would atrophy to a 1920's size "San Pebbles Navy" training off the coast of Panama and the Caribbean.... Ugggh

    We have deployed since WW2 and all during the Cold War, to today to contain our adversaries and let them see our stuff. They would do it if they could but they can't... Have you noticed that? Plus it sure has come in handy since 9-11 in the PG and E. Med, eh?

    Sure, it's expensive but it is "so smart" to do so. It is what makes the USA a real superpower....Anything else including the surge BS plans and other such programs that that have been proposed over the past 40 years have fallen apart within 2 years of implementation due to world events... .

    I detest supporting the status quo on some occasions but this is one of them. Nope. You're not right on this one CNOPS.

    You stop going forward you stop thinking forward....


    1. Nothing wrong with disagreeing. I knew this would be a controversial post.

      Now, the problem I have with your disagreement is that your rationale for continued forward presence seems to be that we've always done it that way. That's about as poor a reason as there is. That reasoning would have us still living in caves. You also seem to be relying on vague generalities. So, why don't you reply with a valid reason(s) and tell me what benefit you see in forward presence. Be specific. Give me reasons. Give me data and logic. Give me proof. I did all that when I wrote the post. If you want to disagree, do the same.

      Also, before you reply, consider carefully what I actually wrote and what I did not write. For example, I did not write that we should utterly ignore a potential hot spot. What I said was that our appeasement forward presence was not accomplishing anything and I then offered proof. If you wish to disagree, you'll need to address my proof in some way.

      I look forward to your reply!

    2. IMO, given the "right sized Navy" (we aren't close) and the correct assembly of ships/aircraft, "Forward Presence"/rotational deployments are desirable because we can influence events regionally just about anywhere in the world in days, often not weeks /months. This basic use of power projection and deployment has been the case since WW2 as a consequence of our role as superpower. Before that war it was not the case, especially in the 1920's and 1930's. Then we were isolationist almost as the world simmered....

      Some of my opinion on this may be that by nature I am conservative and I am leery of experiments toying with rotational deployments/forward presence that affect deployment cycles, usually under the guise of saving money/resources (in my own experience post Vietnam which was rejected and then under the Clinton quest for the peace dividend). As you may have noticed many Naval leaders in their constant quest for fitrep bullets/promotion are the most dangerous when these experiments are "tested". Over and again I've seen this.

      Even though some think the world is interconnected because everything important (info/text messages/video) moves at the speed of light, it can be mandated that military forces can be brought to bear in a more efficient manner than ever before...
      Methinks that is not always the case when even the fastest CSG moves at 25 kts or about 600 nm a day, and jets only around 6-8 miles a minute (we all know the circumference in NM of the earth). The Army's limitations are even more restricted... Nope COMNAV, repositioning, regional basing and Naval forward presence are what we have to bear as a superpower. $hit seems to happen when we have them "gaps in CSG coverage" like last winter with the Yemen raid or in 1990 when Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait. My gut feel.


    3. b2, I must confess, I'm disappointed. I prodded you to offer a logic and data based rationale for the need for forward presence and you did not provide any. Your rationale for forward presence is partly because we've always done that (in post-WWII times) and partly because you have a "gut feel". I addressed the forward presence in the post by citing the total lack of deterrent effect our forward presence has had on Russia, China, Iran, and NK and yet you still insist forward presence is needed despite being unable to offer any data or proof of its usefulness. You write well and I hoped for a rationale based on logic and data, just as I provided in the post.

      You're welcome to your "feel", of course, but I had hoped for better. Oh well.

    4. Sorry COMNAV I can't strategize that big, particularly on something that has basically kept the peace these past 70 years in order to save money or be more efficient. We have done this several times over the past 30 years and world events have driven us back into the Forward Presence model.

      BTW, my "gut feel" is based on facts from the outcomes of those two unrelated events when adequate forward presence wasn't available...

      Yes- I believe Saddam Hussein would NOT have invaded Kuwait in the summer of 1990 if a gap in CV BG coverage hadn't been risked that summer during the beginnings of the "new world order" as the USSR and their Communist satellites fell around the world. Is that a specific enough analytical fact?

      I ain't gonna go back before the 1920/30s, to regale you about the Great White Fleet at the turn of the century or our Naval presence in the Med after the Barbary pirates. That example of Saddam Hussein sticks out in my limited scope.
      You've hear the true but oft repeated anecdotal cliché question when presidents' ask: "Where's the Carrier?" The carrier is the Navy. I am sure James Madison asked: Where's the Frigates?", too. ;-)


    5. "Sorry COMNAV I can't strategize that big,"

      That's okay, that's why I'm here!

    6. It's your blog and platform for brainstorming, that's for sure!
      As devils advocate, I can see new approaches to a strategy that superficially appears inefficient and inadequate, is worthy... However, in every case one of those new approaches was attempted, each "experiment" was ejected due to the reality of world events intruding. IMO, implementation of anything much different would embolden our symmetric adversaries even more than they seem to be doing today.

      The factual outcome that Forward Presence has contributed to keeping the peace from another WW generally proves my point.

    7. "The factual outcome that Forward Presence has contributed to keeping the peace from another WW generally proves my point."

      Whoa, whoa, whoa! Back the truck up there, partner. Setting aside the highly dubious statement about preventing another WW (I'll circle back to that in a moment), there is no proof whatsoever that forward presence is what has prevented a WW. One could just as easily claim that an increase in the lizard population has prevented a WW or that the development of electronics has, or any other thing you care to name. You may theorize that forward presence is responsible for no WW and you may even believe it but there is absolutely no proof. This is your classic correlation versus causation issue. Just because there is a correlation between two things does not mean there is any causation.

      You can no more prove that forward presence has prevented a WW than I can prove that the lack of forward presence would not lead to a WW.

      To circle back to your dubious statement, while there has not been a WW, there have been a LOT of wars. I'm pretty sure I don't need to list them all. Forward presence didn't prevent any of those. In fact, I could make the claim that forward presence correlates with incidents of war. For example, we don't maintain forward presence around Canada and we've not had a war with them. However, we maintain forward presence in the Middle East and we've had nothing but wars. Ergo, forward presence causes wars! Again, this is the correlation vs. causation phenomenon.

      The influence of forward presence, whether it increases or decreases the likelihood of war, is unprovable short of parallel, alternate universes where we have forward presence in one and not in the other. Failing that, feel free to theorize and believe whatever you like but do not try to claim any degree of proof!

  12. WW2 Produced a generation which won that war. Their kids produced a generation that now thinks political correctness will win minds with nonsense trigger warnings and date spaces

    Bring related to aPOW doesn't make you a war expert only an expert in its costs and consequences


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