Monday, November 9, 2020

Fight In Plain View

In future wars, the US military believes it will see everything, friendly and enemy, on the future battlefield thanks to vast regional/global command and control networks, UAVs, regional sensor networks, underwater unmanned vessels, unmanned surface vessels, satellites, etc.  ComNavOps has pointed out the fallacy in that belief but, for sake of discussion, let’s follow the logic of that belief and see where it takes us.  I must warn you, the destination may be surprising and upsetting.

 

If we believe our omnipotence to be true then we have to believe the flip side which is that the enemy will also see everything since they will have all the same assets, capabilities, and resources and, in the case of China, they’ll have the added advantage of ‘home field’ (we’re talking about a main war, now, not a proxy conflict in Africa or some such) which provides land based radar, air bases, harbors, etc. which will greatly increase the density of sensors that can be applied to the battlefield.

 

If we believe it to be true then we must believe that all forces, friendly and enemy, will be under constant threat of attack or, indeed, constant actual attack since their location will be continually known.

 

That being the case, the inevitable and inescapable conclusion, then, is that it is mandatory that our forces be able to fight exposed and fully out in the open, as far as detection is concerned, because the enemy will know exactly where we are at all times.

 

That’s right, there will be no hiding, no hidden bases, no skulking LCS distributed lethality ships waiting to pounce on unsuspecting prey, no undetected Marine anti-ship missile units hidden on islands, no undetected transports relocating small Marine units and providing them with resupply, no UAVs blithely flying undetected deep into enemy territory, no submarines cruising undetected through enemy waters, etc.

 

I repeat, the logic has to work both ways.  If we can see everything, so can the enemy.

 

So, if our forces will be constantly exposed and under constant attack, how can they survive?  There is one way and one way only and that is through the application of massive, overwhelming defensive firepower combined with extensive ‘armor’ (‘armor’ includes actual armor and also electronic warfare ‘armor’).  Instead of Burkes with a single CIWS, we’ll need ships with dozens of CIWS/SeaRAM and hundreds of ESSM.  Instead of remaining passive and hidden, our ships will need to radiate constantly (no point using passive sensors since the enemy will know exactly where we are!) and, given the inevitable combat damage, we’ll need ships with multiple redundant sensor systems and backup sensors on top of that.

 

Can this actually work?  Can a force survive under constant surveillance and attack?  Of course they can … if they have sufficient firepower.  This is analogous to telling the other team your play and daring them to stop you.  If you have big enough, fast enough, strong enough players you can successfully execute your play even if the other team knows it’s coming.  This is actually what we did in WWII.  Okinawa was not a surprise to Japan.  They knew it was coming.  They knew exactly where our forces were and they attacked almost constantly but it didn’t matter because we had sufficient firepower to survive and succeed – albeit it at great cost.

 

Of course, the astute among you have noticed that the solution to the problem – overwhelming firepower and armor – is the exact opposite of where the US military is going.  The military is almost ignoring firepower while they pursue networks, data, and command and control schemes. 

 

If our ground forces will be under constant attack, why haven’t we developed a robust, mobile, anti-air capability?

 

If our naval forces will be under constant attack, why are our ships so lightly armed (Burkes have only a single CIWS), unarmored, and without redundant or backup sensors and weapons?

 

If our carriers will be under constant attack, why aren’t we training for multi-carrier group operations?

 

Why does our front line F-35 aircraft carry so few weapons?

 

Why does the Marine Corps believe that platoon size units will be able to survive?

 

And so on …

 

 

Now, the extremely astute among you will have already concluded that the best defense is a good offense.  Rather than simply stand and see how long we can survive while the enemy pounds on us, relentlessly, we need to be conducting our own massive and constant attacks on their assets.  Again, this means firepower, not networks, and massive amounts of it.  Where are our massive offensive forces?  Where are our massively powerful and numerous weapons?  China will be flinging super/hyper-sonic ballistic missiles at us and we’ll be answering with subsonic, non-stealthy, obsolete Tomahawks.  I know which side of that exchange I’d rather be on!  China will be flinging supersonic (Mach 2-4) YJ-12 anti-ship cruise missiles at us and we’ll be answering with slow, obsolete, non-stealthy Harpoons or, possibly, subsonic Long Range Anti-Ship Missiles (LRASM).  Again, I know which side of that exchange I’d rather be on.  Chinese submarines will be flinging YJ-18 supersonic anti-ship cruise missiles at us and we’ll be answering with Harpoons or, possibly, an anti-ship Tomahawk missile.  And so on.

 

We lack the firepower, lethality, and numbers of weapons to win a war of attrition.  That’s right, a war of attrition.  If both sides have complete knowledge about each other’s forces, the war defaults to a war of attrition.  All of our vaunted maneuver warfare theories are rendered invalid when the enemy sees everything, just as we can.

 

Now, some of you, quite rightly, may be saying, hey, it’s not possible for the enemy to see all of our forces.  In fact, most of our forces will, at any given moment, be undetected.  Well, if that’s true then it must also be true for the enemy.  Most of their forces will, at any given moment, be undetected and, if that’s the case, why are we basing our entire future military hope on the concept of perfect knowledge and awareness of the enemy’s forces?  Why are we focusing so much effort on networks, data, and sensors if we won’t be able to see the bulk of the enemy’s forces?  Do you see the logical disconnect inherent in what our military is doing?  Either way, perfect knowledge or not, we’re being inconsistent in our logic which means our information-centric approach to future warfare is fundamentally wrong.  The correct approach is firepower-centric with information being used to support firepower, not replace it.  The Russians demonstrated this to perfection in Ukraine and we’ve opted to ignore the evidence.

 

Useful or Pointless?

So, are our systems going to see everything and we’re going to fight in plain view as our military development  path logically dictates or will our systems be unable to see everything which makes our development path fundamentally flawed?  If we are going to fight in plain view, our forces are poorly designed and equipped to do so.

49 comments:

  1. Couldn't agree more. China's military is designed to fight agaisnt America. This is clear from even a cursory glance through their doctrine. If we believe that they haven't considered the vulnerabilities of our networks and already have exploits we're foolish.

    The easiest solution to that problem is the same it has always been, overwhelming unrelenting brutal offense aimed at your opponents soft points, and neither the US, Taiwan, Japan, Vietnam, SKorea, Australia, Indonesia or the Phillipines has the weapons, war stocks or will to engage in that kind of warfare.

    ReplyDelete
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    1. Iraq had very strong firing power in 1990.

      The Gulf War proved that these firing powers are useless as their reconnaissance (radar, etc.) capability was destroyed, tons of their firing power was useless.

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    2. "Gulf War proved that these firing powers are useless as their reconnaissance (radar, etc.) capability was destroyed,"

      Not quite. What the war proved was that rigid, top level control is a poor way to run a military, that fighting without air cover is a losing proposition, that Iraq's personnel had no desire to stand and fight, that despite living in the region the Iraqis never bothered to learn how to navigate featureless terrain, that the Iraqi army had absolutely no tactical proficiency, that the Iraqi air force had no desire to fight, and that training is vitally important, among other lessons.

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    3. Before air raid, US EA-6B flied to jam Iraqi radars and fired AGM-88 HARM anti-radiation missiles to attack Iraqi radars.

      After lose these radars thus reconnaissance, Iraqi could no longer defend herself against US air raids (include Tomahawk missiles). This is why, today, superpowers put control spectrum as first step in battles.

      My point is that without reconnaissance (depend on control of spectrum), even strong firing power becomes ineffective. Fire power works only while reconnaissance is intact.

      Of course, I respect your opinion on firing power although I don't fully agree.

      If reconnaissance is critical, I am very worry about future of US technical capabilities in this area as less and less bright students choose STEM.

      Delete
  2. "I repeat, the logic has to work both ways. If we can see everything, so can the enemy."

    This is not how exercises are done, though.
    "We have everything and it all works perfectly while the enemy has nothing and what he has doesn't work" is closer to how training (yeah, sure) goes.

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  3. Where did they go wrong, you think? Where did the focus change from firepower to information? I am aware that these regional wars might have shifted the thinking but is this common in history? I couldn't think of another case in history where a nation change the way they fight in a peer war from a regional/colony war. If there is, it might be worthy of further considerations.

    Another thing I would like to see more exploration is the field of confusion. Does a commander know when to stop trusting his sensor in case of malfunction or intended obfuscation from enemy decoys and report the contradictory/confusing information? I imagine with greater reliance on information, the margin of error is also larger. Has there been an event when a commander is absolutely convinced that his sensor is wrong but the information was right? Has there ever been a case of a commander relying on his instincts getting the battle right and prevail over another commander who was relying on massive information, being tactical timid?

    I have always enjoyed the hybrid type of writing. Fascinating post as always!

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    1. "Has there been an event when a commander is absolutely convinced that his sensor is wrong but the information was right?"

      Honda Point disaster. An entire Destroyer flotilla ran aground because a commander ignored new-fangled radio direction finding equipment. His tried and true dead reckoning navigation methods were thrown off by an underwater earthquake on the other side of the planet that fubared the ocean currents.

      Peace time conditions, seven destroyers lost/damaged, 23 sailors perished

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    2. It makes for a fascinating read, thank you!

      "Captain Watson, who had been defended by Admiral Thomas Tingey Craven,[10] was commended by his peers and the government for assuming full responsibility for the disaster at Honda Point."

      I am actually impressed with the captain for standing up and willing to take the blame. It's not something you see often (or at all) today.

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  4. Don't worry our navy is well equipped for the roll over and show belly foreign policy we'll have for the next four years.

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    1. Let's leave the politics out.

      Delete
    2. '“We have to focus more on unmanned capacity, cyber and IT, in a very modern world that is changing rapidly,” Biden said.'

      "Progressives in Congress have ramped up a campaign to reprioritize spending away from the military and in favor of healthcare, education and jobs, arguing that massive spending on national security didn’t keep the country safe from COVID-19."

      Yeah, we're screwed.

      https://www.defensenews.com/congress/2020/09/11/biden-not-planning-defense-cuts-but-they-may-come-anyway/

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    3. Hey, maybe a guy born around the time of the Battle of Stalingrad remembers actual war, who knows?

      Delete
    4. "Let's leave the politics out."

      Sorry, CNO. I was copying and pasting while you were adding this and didn't see it until it updated. Please understand that it is difficult to discuss defense matters while leaving the Commander in Chief out, since as Carl von Clausewitz put it:

      "War is merely the continuation of politics by other means."

      Delete
    5. Politics do apply to war, of course. Discussions that reference politics generically and that link directly to specific naval matters are fine. Discussions that address political parties and agendas are not. It's a fine line between what's okay and what isn't and I'll guide it away from blatant politics with gentle reminders and words to the wise.

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    6. @ComNavOps Regretted it the moment I hit publish.

      Was just but despondent after reading the Army was picking up SM-6 & GCLM then realizing we might end up with some aspects of INF again. But I digress.

      Is the problem discussed in the article as simple as concepts like armor and firepower are not sexy to the right people? In my highly unrelated line of work everyone wants to talk AI & Machine Learning but not the unsexy grunt work required to make it work.


      On a unrelated why the western preference for subsonic anti-ship missiles. I have little doubt we could develop a supersonic anti-ship missile (at least technically).

      Delete
    7. Apparently I cannot write...

      * Was just a bit despondent
      * On an unrelated question

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    8. "I have little doubt we could develop a supersonic anti-ship missile (at least technically)."

      I saw that (or a similar) story about the Army SM-6. In that story it is stated:

      "The supersonic SM-6... is also capable of striking surface targets on land and sea."
      "...the SM-6 Block 1B will reportedly reach hypersonic speeds, i.e. above Mach 5."

      I know that the warhead is small but it would technically be a hypersonic (or high supersonic) anti-ship missile.

      https://breakingdefense.com/2020/11/army-picks-tomahawk-sm-6-for-mid-range-missiles/

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    9. "Is the problem discussed in the article as simple as concepts like armor and firepower are not sexy to the right people?"

      Well, this is the key question and, unfortunately, I have no definitive answer. I see the trend, I can demonstrate it, I can predict it, but I can't explain the rationale for it. Having said that, I'll now give you my wild theory about why our naval leaders constantly choose flashy new technology over basic, functional assets. I believe it's societal. By that I mean that our naval leaders grew up in an era where technology was society's answer to every problem. Instead of learning multiplication tables and teaching kids to do math, we developed calculators. Now, a cashier in a store can't make change without the computer register telling them what the amount is. Instead of insisting that students learn history by memorizing dates and events we now show them movies about the 'feelings' and prejudices of the various parties. Instead of insisting that kids learn penmanship, grammar, and spelling, we now give them word processors with spell checkers. Instead of teaching vocational arts we now label every kid that doesn't want to go to college a failure. And so on. With that background, is it any wonder why our naval leaders turn to technology as the solution to every challenge?

      Remember the IED roadside bombs that plagued us in Iraq? Instead of doing the obvious and driving off road (which is what our vehicles were designed for!) we kept driving on the roads and developed billion dollar technologies for detecting IEDs - of course, none worked.

      Our leaders never learned the value of basic, hard labor as kids so why would they seek out basic, hard solutions now?

      Like I say, that's my theory. Maybe right, maybe wrong. Who am I kidding, of course I'm right!

      Delete
    10. You're right. Also, firepower can hurt people. Armor can serve to keep people apart, where they cannot discuss their feelings. Soon enough, our hearts will then also be made of cold, hard steel.

      Delete
    11. " I believe it's societal."

      I think this unintentionally also prove another point relating to our tolerance of deaths and destruction. We have grown used to wars with few deaths in weeks and months that we can't comprehend thousands and tens of thousands that might happened in a peer war. I am afraid that even my estimation seems underestimated but I couldn't fathom what the real number really is.

      Unless we are looking to understand the real death toll and destruction, we will not be able to adequately prepare for it.

      "Our leaders never learned the value of basic, hard labor as kids so why would they seek out basic, hard solutions now?"

      They do, in the name of volunteer, but never as their job so they couldn't understand the difficulty of the real work. Remind me the plot of Undercover Boss where a boss works as an employee and see how bad some of the workers has to go through and gain valuable insights. We should do something like this with the military, don't you think? Give them a wake up call!

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    12. "Unless we are looking to understand the real death toll and destruction, we will not be able to adequately prepare for it."

      Too true.

      Delete
    13. "We have grown used to wars with few deaths in weeks and months that we can't comprehend thousands and tens of thousands that might happened in a peer war. I am afraid that even my estimation seems underestimated but I couldn't fathom what the real number really is."

      If there's a full-fledged shooting war with China (I do not believe that will happen anytime soon), we might well be looking at millions of casualties.

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    14. "we might well be looking at millions of casualties."

      Let's be a little bit realistic. Neither side is going to invade the other's country so that limits deaths somewhat. The opposing forces will suffer heavy losses but that's in the tens of thousands, not millions, especially since there is no large land mass for armies to fight on. It will be an air/navy war so, again, losses will be limited to those forces, by and large.

      The only way a war could generate millions of casualties is if China initiated an overland war against, say India or Russia and both seem unlikely.

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    15. Taiwan's population is around twenty-four million people and they're a prime invasion target if China actually decides to start a war.
      Just few percentage points of that easily gets you a million dead.

      Another issue is missiles: if there's a real war, what happens to the cities on both sides?
      China won't invade the West Coast and the USA won't land in the Chinese mainland (unless everyone involved is drunk), but large coastal cities are perfect missile targets and have millions of people in them.

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    16. China is not going to eradicate the Taiwan population. Their goal is to reunite.

      Cities have no significant military targets beyond the occasional nearby air base or odd HQ and those are dealt with by targeted attacks not by wiping out an entire city. Besides, neither side possesses enough weapons to do so and it would be a waste of vital weapons to attack militarily irrelevant cities. Both the US and China are far too large to even attempt the WWII tactic of bombing cities to destroy production.

      People died in WWII because they were in the way of the various armies. That simply isn't the case in a China war. There is no land mass to fight over.

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    17. "China is not going to eradicate the Taiwan population. Their goal is to reunite."

      Well, yes and no.
      Their goal is to conquer Taiwan, "reunification" is just the PC term for that.
      Practically speaking, their goal there is to take over the island as fast as possible, to present it as fait accompli to the world.

      Likewise, Taiwan wants to delay things as much as possible because every passing day increases the odds of Japanese/American intervention.

      And one of the best ways to do this is by getting the Chinese invasion force entangled in that unholy mess called urban warfare.

      At which point China will definitely go the "indiscriminate firepower" route, which translates to lots of casualties.

      The PRC doesn't need to destroy Taiwan's population, but it doesn't care about preserving it either.


      "Both the US and China are far too large to even attempt the WWII tactic of bombing cities to destroy production."

      For general production, yes.
      But missile factories aren't that numerous, for example.

      Delete
    18. "I have little doubt we could develop a supersonic anti-ship missile (at least technically)."

      As you well know, the Navy has trained against supersonic missile targets for decades. The problem is that those missiles are, in general, quite larger than the Tomahawks and wouldn’t fit in the confines a Mk 41 launch cell and probably even the larger Mk 57 as well.

      Air launch is an option, but that limits the launch platforms to the Air Force. SSGNs seem to be the only available option by replacing the 7 Tomahawks per tube with 3 to 4 supersonic ASMs.

      Happy Veteran's Day!

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    19. "the Navy has trained against supersonic missile targets for decades."

      I'm guessing you're referring to the AQM-37 and/or GQM-163?

      "The problem is that those missiles are, in general, quite larger than the Tomahawks and wouldn’t fit in the confines a Mk 41 launch cell and probably even the larger Mk 57 as well."

      Neither of the supersonic drones mentioned above would be even remotely suited for combat use. The AQM-37 has a range of 113 miles and an endurance of 5 minutes. The QM-163 Coyote has a range of 45 miles. They were purpose-built for short range target practice.

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    20. I think one place we got spoiled on technology is watching the smart bombs work during Desert Storm. Want to make it go through that window? Watch. And whichever window it went through, the building was destroyed. We got spoiled on the idea that technology could do anything in war, just as we were seeing it at home.

      The other thing it did was that it was kind of antiseptic. We didn't have to watch bodies being obliterated up close and personal. It's kind of like naval shore bombardment. You push a button and boom, 20 miles away people die, but you never see them.

      I think it also instilled a false sense of precision and accuracy in employment of weapons. Every time someone kills a friendly or a civilian now, it's like the most terrible act imaginable. You kill friendly forces and civilians in war, no matter how hard you try not to. Stuff happens.

      Delete
  5. Fortunately, we won't need to invest in armor, since we'll have energy shields soon! Capt. Kirk will show those Chinese.

    Here is info on a Dept. of the Navy patent case.

    https://patents.google.com/patent/US10135366B2/

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    1. "Salvatore Pais"

      Wasn't that guy a conman?

      Delete
    2. "Wasn't that guy a conman?"

      Oh great, the next thing you're gonna tell me is that we won't be able to see everything, friendly and enemy, on the future battlefield.

      Delete
    3. I'm not saying it's impossible, in fact for a mere fifty million dollars I will conduct a study demonstrating that it could be done¹.

      ¹ By the year 2999².
      ² Maybe³.
      ³ I mean, just wait until then and don't ask for the money back.

      Delete
  6. For years our Navy ships have been under-gunned and under-protected. The RN in the Falklands learned the value of CIWS the hard way. Any unit as valuable as a Burke should have at least two SeaRAM (1 fwd, 1 aft) and 4 Phalanxes or equivalent (2 port, 2 stbd). And we need much heavier armor. I'm no expert on naval architecture, but it seems that a lot of our ship designs struggle with high weight issues. Adding low weight in the form of armor and armored internal bulkheading should help with stability. One thing that gets overlooked is that armored bulkheads can be a huge part of the armor. We had ships in WWII that got their bows blown off but were still able to sail because their internal bulkheads held up. I doubt we could do that today.

    All Navy ships should have stronger armor and internal bulkheading, and more weapons than their current equivalents. Habitability is nice, but warheads on foreheads win wars. I think a lot of sailors would take more comfort knowing that they are the meanest bad*** on the planet than in having a cappuccino machine.

    I don't think we will ever have perfect information about them, or they about us. But we will both have a lot of data, in many cases confusing or conflicting, and we need to develop the skills and intuition to cut through and determine what is the real and useful information. That has historically been a deciding characteristic in peer warfare and will probably be so in the future. But we don't train that way, and we are going to lose the advantage that experience conveys unless we regrow it. How much do you think the average OOD on a Burke knows about Chinese strategy and tactics? How much do they even know about ours?

    We need to do a couple of events annually like the old Fleet Problems, or the RN Springtrains. Maybe a Springtrain and a Falltrain, featuring unlimited ROEs for the Orange forces (with the proviso that they mimic known strategy and tactics of a possible enemy). We should have learned a lot from Millennium 2002; I don’t think we did.

    I watched the movie Greyhound yesterday. In one scene Tom Hanks fires a huge salvo of depth charges against a German dummy, and as a result is short of depth charges for the remainder of the trip. But he learned his lesson. Isn’t that a lesson better learned in a Springtrain or Falltrain than when there are enemy subs shooting real torpedoes at you? The more you sweat in peace, the less you bleed in war.

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    1. "salvo of depth charges against a German dummy, and as a result is short of depth charges for the remainder of the trip."

      One of the timeless realities of combat is that actual munitions expenditure rates dwarf pre-war estimates.

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    2. "I think a lot of sailors would take more comfort knowing that they are the meanest bad*** on the planet than in having a cappuccino machine."

      While I agree with most of your comment, this phrase reminded me of a story that floated around in the USN for quite some time back in the day:

      In the design stages of the Iowa-class, they had 'built' (very primitive) ASW features into the ship.
      But by the time the Iowas were fitting out, the war had progressed enough that AAW was becoming the most important feature, so AA Guns were being tacked on everywhere they would fit and berthing for the crew of those guns were being shoved into places where they didn't even fit.

      So, the designers had a tough choice to make.
      Submarine activity was high at the time, in both the Atlantic and Pacific, and many surface crews were concerned about them, but they really didn't have the space for all of the crew.

      Not being able to make an informed decision on this, they called in a panel of "battleship experts", which is to say a bunch of veteran sailors - many of whom had been on the receiving end of submarine affairs, and informed them that they needed their input on this issue.

      The new battleships would have either:
      A) ASW equipment and specialist crew, giving the ship a much higher survivability,
      or
      B) The Gedunk Bar and pastry equipment

      Unanimously, the Ice Cream won.

      Or, as one USN pilot put it:
      "In the war, I learned one thing. My life is only worth 5 gallons of Ice Cream."

      Delete
    3. Leave it to a bunch of veteran sailors to not see a Battleship as an effective ASW platform! On the other hand, 5 gallons of Ice Cream doesn't sound like much until you are being hit by an ice cream truck.

      Delete
    4. "We need to do a couple of events annually like the old Fleet Problems, or the RN Springtrains. Maybe a Springtrain and a Falltrain, featuring unlimited ROEs for the Orange forces (with the proviso that they mimic known strategy and tactics of a possible enemy). We should have learned a lot from Millennium 2002; I don’t think we did."

      Yes we need exercises that simulate what we would likely face against our enemies. But we also need to exercise our ability to adapt. Force on Force exercises where the only rules beyond those needed for safety are win. You find commanders and subordinates get rather competitive once bragging rights and beer on the line. Participants should be encouraged to bring everything to the fight.

      Delete
  7. Frequently, we hear how great a radar is. It can detect XX sized articles YY miles away and track N targets. This is NOT the picture in war time while confronting another superpower. At that time, anti-jamming, anti-interference capabilities become key parameters. Control the electro-magnetic wave spectrum becomes first priority of confrontations between superpowers.

    During the Cold War, Soviet Union's answer to US navy defence was "saturate attacks" - fire far more missiles to overwhelm US naval ships' defense. However, no actual war (fortunately) to test if this worked or not.

    Today, China is a uniquely special case because of her rising technical capabilities. Both US and China have and continue working on technologies to jam, interfere, anti-jam, .... Winner is the one having more advanced technologies.

    In war time, EA-18G cannot fly to front line to jam Chinese communications and radars as its signals are perfect guiding for anti-radiation missiles. UAV are good vehicles as they are consumables, as long as they can do certain jobs before gunned down.

    I don't advocate a war with China as it would be easily end up in a nuclear war to bring the nation to "THE END". Just discuss naval technologies.

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    1. "In war time, EA-18G cannot fly to front line to jam Chinese communications and radars as its signals are perfect guiding for anti-radiation missiles. UAV are good vehicles as they are consumables, as long as they can do certain jobs before gunned down."

      That's interesting, I never though about how easily you could fire a missile as long as you are out of the jamming range. This, of course, poses question about why we seemingly never enjoy developing EW warfare more than the limited dedicated aircraft. Why not dedicated EW ship and stuff?

      "I don't advocate a war with China as it would be easily end up in a nuclear war to bring the nation to "THE END". Just discuss naval technologies."

      I think that the intention here to deter wars by imagine the scenario of a real war. I highly doubt anyone here intentionally want war for the sake of budget and glory. We leave that to our military leaders.

      Delete
    2. For a long time, US had no counterpart in EW warfare until recent rising of China. Russia's electronic technologies lag far behind US. Since been sanction from 2013, Russian's aviation industry relies on Chinese electronic industry to supply many key components.

      Control EW has become the first target in modern wars. Without controlling of EW, all precision weapons lose their usefulness. How to jam and interfere enemy's radar and communications while your own intact is critical today.

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  8. "We lack the firepower, lethality, and numbers of weapons to win a war of attrition."

    We have had these ever against any enemy that was not the first nations in the west (post civil war) ever at the start of a war?

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  9. edit add or some third world minor state?

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  10. I wanted to bring up this point and back it up with substance, which is the reason for the delay. As NCO brought up, satellite surveillance is one of those items used to describe why “everything” will be in view. I actually agree with this (please put the pitchforks down!).

    I have studied the SpaceX Starlink program. A very rough way of describing how it works is with hundreds of small satellites circling constantly at Low Earth Orbit (LEO) and constantly sending and receiving and sending signal while communicating with each other using lasers, and through these systems back to control stations.

    I can picture such a system only with a military use. Finding an example of this is the hard part.

    It appears that the program set up to do this is the “Blackjack.” It will include small LOE Sats, made by different companies for different purposes. For example, Overhead Persistent Infrared (OPIR), Radio Frequency Systems, Position/Navigation and Timing, Optical Inter-Satellite Links/Electro-Optical/Infrared and Space and Missile Defense Command.

    At about $6 million per node, they are not cheap but are more survivable than drones and with extra nodes per positions in space, redundant in the case of breakdown or, conceivably, if an enemy does manage to hit one.

    Since they communicate with each other, surface jamming will only effect units on the actual battlefield – which I do not discount. However, this data will be communicated to those units when possible. Since home-on-jam missiles will make jamming very dangerous and potentially short-term, the ability to jam us is not a reason to discount satellite surveillance.

    A situation where the entire battlefield is being watched, even though someone may not be able to actually study every spot at once, should not be discounted. Of course, this only proves NCO’s argument for more armor and firepower.

    https://www.nextbigfuture.com/2020/05/darpa-and-us-space-force-aim-to-mass-produce.html

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  11. This describes the goals, although not the current achievements of the SBR mission (as far as I can tell). IF Space Based Radar satellites can track ships, and I *think* it can, then the Space Force will be the greatest supporting branch that the Navy could have hoped for.

    "The Space Based Radar (SBR) mission was to provide worldwide, on-demand, near continuous, surveillance, and reconnaissance for battlespace characterization. It was to provide theater and global users (e.g., strategic, Combatant Commanders) with responsive multi-theater capability to detect, geo-locate, identify, and track surface objects regardless of motion, location, or environmental conditions. The SBR program was focused on maturing technology and developing an Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance (ISR) system capable of providing Ground Moving Target Identification (GMTI), Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR), and Digital Terrain and Elevation Data (DTED) over a large portion of the Earth on a near-continuous basis. By combining SAR, GMTI, and digital terrain elevation data, Space-Based Radar was to be able to track and target stationary or moving combatants in near real time, almost anywhere on earth, at anytime."

    If I had to guess (and I do!), then I think we are going through that period where a type of ship replaces another type of ship in importance. In this case, I think the Battleship will begin to overshadow the Aircraft Carrier.

    Missiles now outrange aircraft. Citizens now value the pilot's lives above success (at least the politicians think so). Ships are definitely more vulnerable than in previous decades, and this will get worse. A more survivable "mother ship" will be needed to control unmanned ships (or what I call "drones").

    I support keeping aircraft carriers but, I think, when the "going gets tough," they will be safely out of range.

    https://www.globalsecurity.org/space/systems/sbr.htm

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  12. Assuming that both sides will be aware of the opponent's forces location is a clear mistake that leads you to focus on firepower and armor (the points you want to focus prior to start the post, as you really love battleships). The most critical part of naval warfare is detecting the enemy and knowing his plan. Then manage the options.
    We can revise who will have the best means of detecting the enemy.
    Better space systems and better reconnaissance/naval aircraft.
    In both cases the superiority is on the USN side. Superiority in quality/performance and also numbers. EEUU have real experience in stealth aircraft, precision guided munitions, use of drones in combat, massive launches of cruise missiles, long range bombers operations…
    US already have more experience in uav /ucav operations, better submarines, or advanced projects in USV (advance means limited but still better than other countries).
    Is the global leader in space and one of the leaders in modern aircraft manufacturing (actually the leader), is the only country capable of producing 100.000 tons carriers and a couple of nuclear powered submarines per year. Your factories provide missiles to ½ of the entire world armies and remember that your country is periodically involved in wars (meaning that industry is already working and developing new weapons).
    The USN will find the enemy faster and more accurate thanks to the mentioned systems.
    And then, decide further movements, maybe strike with naval aircraft (superiority in number of carriers, in quality/size of the carriers itself, bigger air wings and better carrier based planes, with refueling and specific planes for EW and early warning), also with more experience than China, which is developing its own doctrine and has at most about 10 years of experience in carrier operations.
    The US forces know how to fight in a combined inter/service way, so maybe the attack came from USAF long range bombers (B1/B2 /B21 and fighters F-22).

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    1. "Assuming that both sides will be aware of the opponent's forces location is a clear mistake..."

      Assuming that both sides will NOT be aware of the opponent's forces location is also a clear mistake. The Japanese were defeated at Midway because we knew they were coming and guessed where they would appear, after they assumed that they were launching a surprise attack.

      "...that leads you to focus on firepower and armor (the points you want to focus prior to start the post, as you really love battleships)."

      A study of the history of war backs up the need for armor and firepower. Battleships are simply the example of a ship with both strengths.

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    2. The rest of your post, which I agree with, shows that we currently have the best Navy. Why then is there so much criticism from those like CNO? Because Americans are never satisfied with the best. Rather, we want the best possible.

      "Perfection is not attainable, but if we chase perfection we can catch excellence." Vince Lombardi

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    3. To Prometheus
      First, I do not intend to criticize the work of this blog, such criticisms and analysis should arise from the USN itself. I am a regular reader of this blog and is interesting because is different to common propaganda and “we are the best”.
      And there's a lot to criticize, like the lack of mine warfare ships, the LCS and the Zumwalts.
      In my opinion, CNO it's too focused on that battleship return. Or expendable small ships, or aggressive attitude related to command the operations.
      You have to be honest and recognize one's own advantages and, of course, weaknesses. If you can't afford human casualties, you can't focus on exchanging hits based on power and armor, and that's the battleship. You cannot go to expendable ships or exceptional aggressive actions.
      Moreover, the USN not only does not assume that its movements will not be detected, but will be detected and it will be its escorts who will have to stop the enemy's blows, hence the tremendous amount of defensive weapons on the destroyers, the huge number of them, and the cost they are willing to pay for a marginal upgrade of performance on ships (submarines).

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