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Assessing the Deterrence Value of Carrier Presence Against Adversary Aggression in a Coalition Environment

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Naval Postgraduate School Monterey United States

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The aircraft carrier serves as the centerpiece of the U.S. Navys carrier strike group CSG, providing combatant commanders with immediate options for power projection and sea control. In times of crisis, the U.S. Navy must decide whether or not to send a CSG to an area to deter aggressive enemy action and maintain regional stability. This thesis seeks to quantify the deterrence value of a CSG using a game theoretic framework. Consider a region with several nations, where two major players stand out Blue and Red. The two players deploy limited forces and strengthen their positions by seeking alliances with the other nations in the region. We develop a Markov game to model the interactions between the two players and these other nations over a period of time. The game starts in Notional Operation Plan Phase 1 and continues until either player chooses to enter Phase 0 or Phase 2. From Blues standpoint, we define deterrence as the probability that Red will choose to enter Phase 0. In a case study based on a crisis in South China Sea, we find that quickly deploying forces and establishing diplomatic advantage are equally important in deterring aggression.

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Technical Report




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Approved For Public Release;

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