US Leaders Assume Maritime Supremacy at their Peril?
The skipper of the destroyer USS Rupertus (DD-851), in what Rear Adm. Harvey P. Lanham, ComCarDiv Two, called an act of magnificent seamanship, maneuvers his ship to within 20 feet of USS Forrestal (CVA-59) so fire hoses could be effectively used on the worst fire aboard a U.S. carrier.  (Photo: USN)




Professor John Patch
Center for Strategic Leadership, USN retired

The views expressed in the document are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the U.S. Army War College, the Department of the Army, the Department of the Navy, the Department of Defense, or the U.S. Government.



The author argues that strategists and military Flag officers assessing force structure and maritime strategy sometimes overlook or understate aircraft carriers' inherent vulnerabilities. He believes carriers remain a potential key target for unconventional and conventional adversaries -- an intelligent adversary could exploit carrier weaknesses. He concludes that simply because U.S. global and regional operational plans and concepts rely heavily on the operational and strategic contribution of carrier strike groups, the Pentagon should not necessarily assume the U.S. will have maritime supremacy in the next major conflict.

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This page last updated on 29 April 2010.

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