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What is the Future of Naval Warfare?

A new study by the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments (CSBA) tries to sketch out the future of naval warfare and how it is impacted by the growing dissemination of precision-guided weapons.

Andrew Krepinevich, author of the study titled Maritime Competition In A Mature Precision-Strike Regime, concludes that the advent of long-range sensors and strike capabilities will impose severe restrictions on the freedom of maneuver of surface naval forces. He compares it to the restrictions imposed on surface naval forces operating in the Mediterranean during World War II.

Additionally, he points out that precision-guided warfare has slowly spread among U.S. competitors across the globe and, as a consequence, can no longer be counted on as providing U.S. forces with the decisive edge to achieve victory in combat (see: “The End of the American Way of War”).

However, given the many unknown variables (e.g., the future role of autonomous and directed energy weapons, advances in artificial intelligence, the impact of cyberwar et.), the author is cautious to predict the precise nature of future naval warfare and merely sees this publication as the “beginning of the conversation” on this subject – a “Mature Maritime Precision-Strike Regime 1.0” – according to Krepinevich.