Author Topic: Converting Merchant Ships to Missile Ships for the Win  (Read 163 times)

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Converting Merchant Ships to Missile Ships for the Win
« on: January 10, 2019, 08:02:42 AM »
Converting Merchant Ships to Missile Ships for the Win

Proceedings Magazine - January 2019 Vol.

By Captain R. Robinson Harris, U.S. Navy (Ret.); Andrew Kerr; Kenneth Adams; Christopher Abt; Michael Venn; and Colonel T. X. Hammes, U.S. Marine Corps

The Navy wants and needs more capability to ease the strain on its slowly growing fleet, a strain amplified by global great-power competition. The pace of the 30-year shipbuilding plan as envisioned falls short in fielding the offensive power or the number of ships necessary to challenge adversaries. Achieving “the Navy the nation needs” warrants an innovative approach. The Navy should acquire and arm merchant ships, outfitting them with modular weapons and systems to take advantage of improving technology and shipping market conditions while providing capability more rapidly and less expensively than traditional acquisition efforts.

Critics deride the Navy’s emphasis on ships numbers. They say it is not numbers but the capability carried by the ships that matters. But both are important.

Chief of Naval Operations (CNO) Admiral John Richardson has voiced concern about operational restrictions imposed on the fleet by the Navy’s ballistic-missile defense (BMD) ships. [1] The CNO explains that the BMD ships are restricted to confined operating areas—“little boxes,” as he puts it. His concern appears not to be with the BMD mission, but rather that with only 280-some ships, restricting the movements of the BMD assets means that there are other important missions elsewhere that the Navy cannot fulfill.
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