10 July 2011

More Firepower for the Navy? Convert!

Michael G. Gallagher, More Firepower for the Navy? Convert! U.S. Naval Institute Proceedings, 137.7 (July 2011): 22-25.

To offset the vulnerability of its aircraft carrier force and prepare for a possible military conflict with China, the U.S. Navy should build a dedicated class of modified cruise-missile submarines based on the stealthy Virginia-class template.

The May 2010 report by the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments, AirSea Battle: A Point-of-Departure Operational Concept, outlines how the United States and its Pacific allies could win a potential war against China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA) in the western Pacific. In particular, AirSea Battle calls for major changes to the Department of Defense’s current plans for equipping American forces in preparation for potential conflicts—including combating China and how to cope with Beijing’s rapidly growing array of submarines, surface warships, antishipping cruise missiles, growing arsenal of land-based ballistic missiles, expanding antisatellite and cyber-warfare capabilities, and a future stable of robotic airborne and underwater vehicles. China’s impressive array of hardware is designed to create a “no-go zone” for U.S. military power, extending far into the western Pacific and South China Sea, where Beijing’s writ will be law. …