Operational Employment of the Littoral Combat Ship in a new Great Power Competition
NAVAL WAR COLLEGE NEWPORT RI Newport United States
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The emergence of a peer competitor and the return to great power competition marks a significant shift in the global security environment. In this environment, the LCS is potentially positioned as the US Navys most useful and economical warship. In order to leverage the capabilities offered by the LCS and create operational and tactical advantages, the US Navy should reconsider the operational employment of the LCS in the anti-access, area-denial A2AD environment. This paper examines LCS operational capabilities and ship characteristics that directly support distributed lethality operations against a peer competitor. It analyzes naval warfare theory to demonstrate the effectiveness and combat power of a small surface combatant in the A2AD environment. Finally, by applying naval warfare theory to LCS capabilities, this paper highlights and offers recommendations to the operational commander for future employment of the LCS against a peer competitor.