The just-released CNO Navigation Plan 2022, aside from being a buzzword-filled, worthless piece of garbage, contains a piece of information that dooms Commandant Berger’s entire missile-shooting concept. The document calls for 18 Light Amphibious Warships (LAW) to be built by 2045.[1, p.10]
Berger’s entire concept is predicated on the LAW which will transport his small units and their massive missiles, clandestinely, to hidden bases deep inside enemy waters. The LAW will then relocate the Marines in the unlikely event they’re spotted and will conduct resupply on a regular basis, again, undetected.
Setting aside any mocking of the LAW or the concept, it is clear that the LAW is the foundation of the concept. Without transport and logistics there is no concept, right? The Navy appears to be providing only very limited support to the Marines. Eighteen LAW is woefully insufficient to support the concept.
Even if a single LAW could fully transport, relocate, and indefinitely resupply a single unit, the maximum number of units deployed is, then, limited to eighteen. Now, factor in the need for the LAWs, like any ship, to return to base regularly to repair, replenish, rest, etc. and you see that multiple LAWs are needed to support a single missile-shooting unit.
Add in attrition – does anyone really think that 14 kt, non-stealthy, defenseless vessels trying to operate deep in enemy waters are not going to suffer significant attrition? – and 18 LAWs can only support a few Marine units for a short time; and even that’s wildly optimistic. With any realistic attrition factor, it is clear that the concept needs something north of forty LAWs for the concept to have even a small chance of working.
|Light Amphibious Warship - Artist's Concept|
Thus, it appears that the Navy is not on board with the Marine’s concept and is only paying token lip service to the concept.
At best, the Marines may get a couple of LAWs per year over the next couple decades. The Commandant will be retired in a year or so. Will his concept still be around by the time the Navy gets around to building LAWs? It seems unlikely.
If the Navy’s forecasted war with China occurs in the next several years, the Marines won’t have any transports and will be relegated to the sidelines.
Even if you think Commandant Berger is a genius whose concept will revolutionize warfare and bring China to its knees, it is clear that he has utterly failed to get buy-in from the Navy. He has failed to convey and communicate the merits, as he sees it, of his concept. Navy buy-in should have been one of the very first things he accomplished but it appears that was not the case.
Eighteen LAWs by 2045, Commandant? The Navy is telling you what you can do with your concept.