Are America’s Latest Military Developments Misguided?

July 31, 2012 in Daily Bulletin

America’s chief of naval operations has written a piece arguing that America’s military strategy is misguided reports The Economist:

  • Admiral Greenert argues that modern weapon systems are too specialized, and are designed to handle and execute specific tasks.
  • Yet these weapons systems were never designed for the counter-terrorism, anti-piracy, and maritime patrolling operations that the navy engages in today.
  • Older technologies such as the 50 year old USS Enterprise Aircraft Carrier or the 60 year old B-52 (which is now scheduled to operate through 2045) have been much more useful than modern systems because they’re so adaptable and can be used for a wide variety of missions.
  • Future weapons systems should build on the concept of adaptability. They should be more like trucks that can be loaded with various payloads or even have their configuration changed, rather than be like specialized and limited luxury cars.
  • It takes at least 15 years to bring a new vehicle from design to completion and in that time the technology that it is built upon becomes outdated. Even the latest equipment normally has less processing power than cheap consumer devices.
  • The focus on stealth technology is also a mistake. As computing power increases it’ll be easier to use algorithms to detect even the stealthiest planes.
  • Instead the military should focus on building weapons that have a longer range than the enemy’s weapons, so that the enemy can be destroyed before they can take any action. Jamming sensors and developing unmanned systems would also be wise.

The Economist has a much fuller outline of the argument over here. It includes information about how it relates to the F-35 project, why older weapon systems have been doing better, a Navy ship project that exemplifies the kind of platforms that Greenert believes that the American military needs, why stealth is misguided, what this might mean for the future of the navy, and what experts have to say about it.

Source: The Economist