The Navy’s New Grand Strategy Pt 2
A post Iraq and Afghanistan-US Navy would be geared for a Southern Strategy. It would consist of the ocean areas mostly below the Equator or near, including South American, African, and Indian Ocean waters up to Indonesia. This in opposed to a Northern Strategy where probably the Navy prefers to be, as we see with ongoing plans to fortify the island of Guam against future threats from China. Rather than strengthening our position here, this faulty plan to base ships in range of Chinese missile and naval forces would place our high end assets in such a vulnerable position closer to enemy air and naval arms, susceptible to surprise attack.
Instead we will be on the defensive in the Northwest Pacific and Northeast Atlantic areas. Here we find plentiful friendly allies with their own personal fears and grievances against potential peer rivals like China and Russia. Powerful Westernized nations like Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan are highly advanced technically and strong enough militarily to withstand initial attacks from the mainland, until help could arrive from the US West Coast and Hawaii. Likewise is our position in Europe, with traditional NATO allies and newer ones in former Warsaw pact countries eager to keep watch on any Russian resurgence.
We have little holding us back now to adopt this Southern Strategy. Here we would ring the long ignored and rustic Third World with Influence Squadrons. Small warships such as corvettes, patrol craft, cutters, coastal submarines, high speed catamarans, and fast attack craft would be forward based or supplied by motherships, directly in range of poverty stricken and risk nations. Rogue powers such as Iran or stateless insurgent groups like Hezbollah in Lebanon or Somali Pirates would get special attention from a much tighter network of many ships.
Note also the Influence Squadrons would be less at risk to surprise strikes than a few large ships in these lawless waters, as we remember the USS Cole incident in Yemen. Increased numbers would enhance survivability, as one vessel attacked would mean many others on hand for a counter-strike. Some have likened small craft as “speed bumps” or “disposable warships” as some forlorn hope for the crew. Instead we see these as the yeomen and lifeguards of the Navy, with greater numbers enhancing the survivability of each ship and its precious personnel. A few larger vessels so forward based in threat areas are more vulnerable, since they present such a tempting target.
Missile armed corvettes up to 1500 tons would be available in fair numbers, armed with Evolved Sea Sparrow Missiles, a point defense weapon like SeaRam, and Harpoon missiles. The most numerous should be offshore patrol vessels (OPVs) of 1000 tons, able to carry a small helo of UAV, armed with a 76 mm cannon. She would load small RHIB craft and landing crews.
Marines would be the sword of this new strategy, out of the giant base ships, and into small craft, high speed catamarans, and traditional landing craft. As true naval infantry they would perform boarding duties, act as landing parties in crisis, and fight alongside the sailors in small craft close to shore. Their enhanced training and special amphibious skills would ensure the success of this new strategy geared more closely to Brown and Green Water Ops than the Navy has been in decades.
Summing up, here is a look at the Navy’s New Global Strategy:
- On the defensive in the North Atlantic and North Pacific, where we have plentiful allies.
- A much reduced Cadre of expeditionary/power projection forces including carriers, amphibs, missile destroyers, and nuclear submarines would be based here, but not forward deployed.
- The bulk of a greatly enlarged US Navy consisting of light warships centered in Influence Squadrons would be based South of the Equator. They would be forward deployed in full view of potential aggressor navies.
The Southern Strategy would not be much different than the containment of the Soviet Navy during the Cold War, save for one major point. Given the spartan type warships of most navies in the region: aging frigates in South America, missile corvettes off Arabia, or second-hand conventional submarines in Indonesia, such would make a corvette more desirable over battleship type vessels. Corvettes, less powerful than an Aegis missile destroyer, would still have good range and adequate armament to defend merchant commerce from enemy small warships that populate the Third World.