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Pirates of the Nuclear Age: The Role of U.S. Submarines in Modern Trade Warfare

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Technical Report

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Naval War College Newport, United States

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Pirates of the Nuclear Age The Role of U.S. Submarines in Modern Trade Warfare. Many contemporary naval theorists contend that submarines will never again be used to attack an adversarys maritime trade. This paper analyzes applicability of offensive trade warfare using submarines to determine if this remains an important mission for the U.S. Navy. The paper investigates The Peoples Republic of China as a potential adversary and discusses critical requirements and vulnerabilities present in Chinese imports that could be exploited by the U.S. in the event of a conflict. The paper discusses the roles that U.S. submarines could play in exploiting these vulnerabilities with a focus on the asymmetric nature of the submarine. Finally, the paper draws conclusions about trade warfare as an enduring nature of war at sea and identifies factors that could potentially upset a U.S. advantage in maritime trade warfare.

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