The U.S. Navy Is Re-Arming for Surface Warfare
In 2016 the U.S. Navy possessed just one surface-launched anti-ship missile type — Boeing’s Harpoon, a munition that first entered the fleet in the 1970s. Two years later, the Navy had added no fewer than five additional ASM types to the fleet and also updated the Harpoon. The fast... Read more
The U.S. Navy Is Struggling to Grow
In late 2016, the U.S. defense establishment arrived at a consensus: with just 275 frontline ships, the U.S. Navy was too small to maintain a forward presence across the world’s oceans, deter Russia and China and support combat operations in the Persian Gulf and Central Asia. Both the Obama... Read more
There’s Nothing the U.S. Navy Can Do to Avoid a Submarine Gap
In 2018, the U.S. Navy has finally begun to come to terms with a long-term problem that has been decades in the making. The fleet has too few attack submarines. And arresting the growing shortfall — never mind reversing it — could prove too expensive. The Navy needs 66... Read more
Jim Mattis Is Pushing the U.S. Navy to Act Unpredictably
Well, there is a reason he cops to the nickname “Chaos.” Last month Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis set the naval community aflutter by musing, Hamlet-like, about jettisoning the U.S. Navy’s effort to rotate carrier, amphibious and surface forces from home port to foreign stations on a foreseeable cycle. To be predictable,... Read more
In 1982, Four U.S. Navy Aircraft Carriers Gathered Near Lebanon
As tensions escalated in the Middle East over the civil war in Syria, in April 2018 the United States deployed one of the largest naval forces to the region since the 2003 invasion of Iraq. The carrier strike group, centered on Nimitz-class nuclear-powered supercarrier USS Harry S. Truman, seven... Read more
American Warplanes Are Falling From the Sky
Five U.S. military aircraft crashed over a period of less than a month beginning in mid-March 2018, killing 16 crew members and alarming military officials. Two of the crashes involved U.S. Navy and Marine Corps aircraft, underscoring concerns that the naval aviation fleet is overworked, undertrained and poorly-maintained. “We’re... Read more
It’s Time to Radically Remake the U.S. Navy Surface Fleet
So Adm. Phil Davidson, the commander of U.S. Fleet Forces Command, has come out in favor of longer, more rigorous training before aspiring surface warfare officers step aboard their first ships. Good, and not a moment too soon. But let’s ask why it took a series of shipboard disasters to jolt... Read more
21st-Century Gunboat Diplomacy
Amid the intense coverage of Russian cyber-maneuvering and North Korean missile threats, another kind of great-power rivalry has been playing out quietly in the Indian and Pacific oceans. The U.S. and Chinese navies have been repositioning warships and establishing naval bases as if they were so many pawns on... Read more
The U.S. Navy Wants to Spend Billions on Aircraft Carriers That Aren’t Ready
The U.S. Navy wants to go all in on the USS Ford-class aircraft carrier program. Less than a year after the first-in-class ship’s commissioning — before it ever launched or recovered an aircraft, a first in history — the sea service is exploring options to buy similar vessels in... Read more
The Dynamite Cruiser Was Nearly as Dangerous to Her Crew as She Was to the Enemy
On June 13, 1898, the cruiser USS Vesuvius crept within one mile of the Cuban coastline and began launching explosives from her monstrous compressed-air cannons — quietly, as far as the Spanish soldiers ashore in their fort knew until the shells landed. The nighttime shore bombardment targeting Santiago was... Read more

Robert Beckhusen

Managing Editor

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