Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Real War - Welcome Aboard

ComNavOps is constantly preaching that we have forgotten what real war is.  The latest convert is the Heritage Foundation’s Dakota Wood (1).  Here’s what he just recently had to say,

“Ten years of no opponent, following the collapse of the USSR, then 17 years of COIN, CT, and stability ops has led to a force that has simply forgotten what ‘real war’ is really like and the demands it will place on the force.” (2) [emphasis added]

Welcome aboard, Mr. Wood!


(1)Dakota Wood is a retired Lt.Col., USMC, and is now a Senior Research Fellow for Defense Programs at the Heritage Foundation

(2)Breaking Defense, “Heritage To DoD: Do War Games, Experiments, Don’t Write Requirements”, Colin Clark, 24-Jul-2018,


  1. What real war was there during the Cold War after Vietnam? The only real naval war was that faced by the Brits in the Falklands. Yes the USN had skirmishes off Lebanon, Libya, Grenada etc and operation Praying Mantis 88( US v Iran). The only exception would be carrier based strikes from the sea , which are mostly the same in 'war' as of those occurring today.

  2. People don't immediately forget the harsh reality of war. It takes many years and a new generation of leaders for the lessons of war to be forgotten.

  3. "I think service officials get too caught up with the latest technological advancement and begin to believe ‘war’ will be fundamentally changed by it."

    This reminds me of the RMA concept a bit, though admittedly my knowledge of it comes almost exclusively from Proceedings articles published in the early 90s.

  4. Its extremely difficult to tell what the next war looks like. I think a large naval war can only be fought between China and USA. The USA appears to have planned for a future aerial war where air dominance is key. China appears to be planning a war in which the stealthy SSK predominate (type 39a Song class).

    I think the next war has already started in the South China SEA. Given that naval warfare is really about denying your opponent resources, I think that China is at a huge disadvantage. 11 million barrels of oil a day pass through the straits of Malacca and blocking it would cause a major problem for China. I think therefore the most likely target of Chinese aggression would be an attack on the Malaysian archipelago to secure this route. This is why the bases in the South China sea are being developed; ie woody island etc.

    Given what is happening in the South China Sea, I think it would be prudent for the nations lining the straits; Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia to prepare for this scenario. If i was running those nations i would put a levy of about $12 USD ($100 million a day) a barrel on oil passing through here so that they can fund their increased defence commitments. Such an impost with US backing may just bring China to the negotiating table.


    1. There's a few factors you might want to consider.

      China has overland oil sources in addition to waterborne. For example, there are two Chinese-Russian oil pipelines in the Siberian region that move 600,000 barrels per day. Thus, cutting off seaborne oil shipping would not be a complete solution.

      Imposition of a levy on oil passing through the straits is exactly the kind of action that the US fears China will do if China gains undisputed control of the South/East China Seas. The US is working to prevent China from gaining that kind of power so why would that exact same action be acceptable if performed by other nations?

      If a levy for defense were imposed, what would stop the imposing countries from adding a levy for roads and one for urban development and one for jobs creation and one for social programs and ... ? That kind of power is wrong in anyone's hands.

    2. Its about building leverage in negotiations. Currently there is no disincentive for China from continuing its militarisation the South China Sea. A tax on the oil supply to China is great way to raise $36 Billion per annum.

      It should be used as a negotiating tool to 'persuade' them to leave the south china sea and start behaving 'nicely' to its neighbours. China has essentially got away with multiple acts of war by there base building in the Paracels. They are already talking about the second island chain. Getting them to back down as it is no longer in their interest to militarise the SCS is far better than having a war.

      There is being a meeting hosted this week by the other claimants to the SCS in how to deal with China.

      What is your solution to the China problem?


    3. Your recommended course of action is to discourage illegal and unethical Chinese actions by applying (illegal?) and unethical actions. That's like discouraging bank robbers by robbing all the banks first before the robbers can get to them.

      If you've been following the blog, you have a pretty good idea what my solution is and if you haven't been following the blog closely then this is your chance to get caught up!

  5. hey, CNO just got an idea for a anti-LCS ranting post for you :)
    Say, USN fights Iran tomorrow how useful will the LCS be

  6. LCS role in the coming Iran War is Casus Belli,
    "Remember the Fort Worth"

    W.R. Hearst


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