Sustaining American Maritime Influence
Hughes, Wayne P. Jr.
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Along with several others, the authors believe the nation needs to emphasize a maritime strategy at a time when budgetary limitations threaten to severely curtail the national-defense posture. Former Chief of Naval Operations Admiral Gary Roughead has argued that naval-force numbers must be sustained even if groundforce numbers are reduced. A similar appraisal of the advantages of small combatants applies in other regions of the world. Inexpensive missile ships are suitable for joint operations with South Korea in the Yellow Sea where the large, multipurpose warships have not ventured. In the Persian Gulf's very constrained battle space amidst a proliferation of precision weapons a squadron or two of missile corvettes would be as advantageous tactically as a CVN, or SSNs, or DDGs. The Navy and the nation should accept that the short-term budget challenge and its effects on the Fleet are likely to be a long-term constraint. The expanding littoral battle space and shrinking budget together demand the realignment of US Navy forces.