An influential Washington think tank, the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments (CSBA), released a new report, Restoring American Seapower – A New Fleet Architecture for the United States Navy, outlining what it thinks the U.S. Navy’s future fleet should look like to defeat Great Powers – China and Russia – in a potential war. In the past, U.S. analysts and Defense officials often referred to China as a “pacing threat,” and towards the end of the Obama Administration even more diplomatically as a “pacing competitor.” This phrasing allowed the United States to talk abstractly about planning and procuring new weapons systems to defeat Chinese strategies and weapons systems without having to say whether it was planning how to actually fight a war with China—or even thought one would be likely. CSBA’s report dispenses with that diplomatic pretense and designed a recommended future fleet for the United States explicitly to deter China, and failing that, to be able to defeat it decisively.
Asian Security at A Strategic Turning Point: Dr. Babbage’s Perspective on The Impact of The Current North Korean Crisis
During my current visit to Australia, I had a chance to discuss with one of Australia’s leading strategists, current strategic dynamics in the region. Given the priority upon North Korean developments, we focused largely upon this aspect of regional dynamics. After all, it is the most near term game changing challenge. Dr. Ross Babbage is the Chief Executive Officer of the Strategic Forum, a Non-resident Senior Fellow at the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments and a former senior official in the Australian Department of Defence.
Three recent studies of the future of the U.S. Navy arrive at remarkably similar conclusions. The three, commissioned by Congress, were issued by the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Analysis (CSBA), MITRE Corporation, and the Navy itself.
In a strategy report released in December, Ross Babbage, senior fellow at U.S. think tank Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments, explained: “In effect, Beijing is pressuring regional countries into an arrangement that mirrors the contract struck with its own people: economic benefits in exchange for political compliance, with a big stick lurking in the background threatening retaliation for aberrant behavior. … Significant damage is being done to U.S. and allied credibility. In the absence of major changes in allied policy, much of Southeast Asia will likely shift into Beijing’s orbit.”
“Even U.S. Pacific forces contribute to NATO’s security by deterring conflict and ensuring free flow of trade,” said Katherine Blakely, a research fellow with the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments. “Even if other NATO member nations weren’t involved in a conflict, the economy of NATO states would take a huge hit if there was a major conflict in the Asia-Pacific [region].”
“You’re really concentrating your fires in the fleet the Navy wants to have, and we’re arguing for a much more distributed surface fleet by taking advantage of some of the technologies you can get on some of these smaller combatants,” Bryan Clark, lead author of a Center for Strategic and Budgetary Analysis (CSBA), fleet architecture study told USNI News in February. The CSBA study called for a guided-missile frigate that would include a MK-41 vertical launch system, anti-surface missiles and a significant air search radar. In its study, MITRE called for scrapping the LCS concept and starting with a clean sheet design for a next-generation frigate.