Maritime Competition in a Mature Precision-Strike Regime

For over two decades, the U.S. military has enjoyed a near-monopoly in precision-guided weaponry and their associated battle networks. Recently, however, the proliferation of these capabilities to other militaries and non-state entities is gathering momentum. Through case studies of Mediterranean operations and kamikazes in World War II, the Mediterranean no-go zone in the Cold War, the Falklands War, and the First Gulf War, Dr. Andrew Krepinevich assesses the trajectory of maritime warfare. He finds that the advent of long-range sensors and strike capabilities may ultimately shrink oceans to "Mediterranean size," imposing severe restrictions on the freedom of maneuver of surface naval forces, similar to those faced by navies operating in the Mediterranean in World War II. Krepinevich proposes four operational concepts in light of these challenges, centered on winning the "scouting campaign," depleting adversary long-range strike systems, and engaging in peripheral campaigns. The assessment and these concepts can inform the debate within the professional military and strategic studies characteristics of future maritime warfare and allow the United States to shape the competitive regime to its liking.

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