Congress wants the Navy to prove it can fight off a swarm attack in new proposed bill
In the wake of a tense and ongoing maritime situation in the Persian Gulf, Congress is now asking how the U.S. Navy plans on dealing with potential swarms of small gunboats and drones- a favorite tactic of the Iranian Navy.
Massachusetts Democrat and Marine veteran Rep. Seth Moulton has introduced language into the 2020 national defense bill that would mandate a USN study on the topic of fighting swarms, expressing his concern that the Navy might not be as prepared as it believes it is.
“The [House Armed Services] committee is concerned that the Navy may be assuming too much risk with respect to the development of swarm technologies by adversaries,” the amendment states.
According to Military.com, the measure will require passage in both the House and Senate. It may also require the Navy to approve the plan by 2021.
Defense Consultant Bryan McGrath, a former destroyer skipper, said that while the Navy can handle swarms, the enemy is just as good at developing technology to overwhelm systems.
“It won’t take … a million Chinese engineers working 23-hour days to do this stuff,” McGrath said. “… They’re low-tech threats that can be fielded by an earnest terrorist group and there are much higher-end threats that could and are being fielded by great-power competitors like China and Russia.”
In the meantime, the Navy must be alert and deal with the ever-changing naval threat.
“I’m happy Mr. Moulton is doing this,” McGrath said. “The Navy is going to be able to go through their current program and their current [research and development] and point to a multiplicity of programs that are aimed directly at surface and air swarming vehicles. Whether Representative Moulton believes those investments are sufficient or properly channeled or are dealing with the right threats remains to be seen.”
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