Modernize or Mothball; Ship to Shore Watercraft Must be Modernized to Remain Relevant
JOINT MILITARY OPERATIONS DEPARTMENT NAVAL WAR COLLEGE NEWPORT United States
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The recent pivot to Asia highlights a key capability of our Joint Force that has atrophied significantly power projection via ship to shore operations. The increased proliferation and improvement of anti-accessarea denial A2AD weapons challenges the foundational premise of US global power projection. The geography and infrastructure of the world dictates that ship to shore operations will be a critical component in non-permissive environment entry. Forced entry into a theater of operation is a capability the US military must modernize. Analysis of the historical usage of ship to shore operations, the difficulties for opponents to conduct a defense against these amphibious operations with anti-accessarea denial weapons, and the dangers of not maintaining this capability will provide the basis for this argument. Furthermore, simply maintaining our Army watercraft and Marine amphibious craft is not sufficient for the future operating environment. New operating concepts demand improvement in the survivability, speed and range of watercraft to challenge opponents denial efforts and provide the Joint Force Commander with more options in operational planning. The nature of the battlefield in the 21st century demands new emphasis and investment in this critical capability for power projection in the littorals of the world. In conclusion, the Armys family of Maneuver Support Vessels MSV, both Light and Heavy variants, must be prioritized and funded for rapid fielding via a commercially available off-the-shelf COTS platform adapted to the Joint Force. A Joint Force purchase via COTS for the MSV will produce fiscal savings, increase inter-Service interoperability and supply chain management, and quickly bridge the gap between concept and capability.
- Logistics, Military Facilities and Supplies