Thursday, August 13, 2009

"Wasting Assets" is No Way to Win Future Wars

Hat tip to Navy Captain Clayton Mitchell for recommending GovEnergy folks read this Andrew Krepinevich article in Foreign Affairs journal. Titled "The Pentagon's Wasting Assets," it describes a military leviathan in decline on a number of fronts, particularly citing marked erosion of the US's once invincible edge in technology. It's a very sobering read.

Here's a section that highlights mission-limiting energy dependencies without saying it in quite those words:
East Asian waters are slowly but surely becoming another potential no-go zone for U.S. ships, particularly for aircraft carriers, which carry short-range strike aircraft that require them to operate well within the reach of the PLA’s Anti-Access/Area Denial (A2/AD) systems if they want remain operationally relevant. The large air bases in the region that host the U.S. Air Force’s short-range strike aircraft and support aircraft are similarly under increased threat.
And a couple of energy efficiency fueled concepts in the "modest proposals" section:
Loitering “hunter-killer” reconnaissance and strike aircraft—both manned and unmanned—could be used to search for enemy [precision guided missile] equipped forces and, once identified, engage them quickly before the enemy can fire or disperse.
and ...
To avoid operational irrelevance, carriers should reduce their reliance on short-range manned aircraft in favor of much longer-range unmanned aircraft, some of which are now in development.
It's interesting to note that these factors map well against Amory Lovins' recent emphasis on adding two new vectors for developing requirements for systems: endurance and resilience (more on these later). I recall Captain Mitchell concluding by saying how he hoped DOD's emerging emphasis on energy strategy might help provide our forces new tactical advantages over adversaries not thinking along these lines. I too share his sentiment, but we'll have to see how quickly/seriously senior leadership moves on these issues.

BTW, if you want to read the full article (and you should), it'll set you back 99 cents for the PDF.

1 comment:

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