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Naval Strategy and National Security

Naval Strategy and National Security: An "International Security" Reader

Steven E. Miller
Stephen Van Evera
Copyright Date: 1988
Pages: 408
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  • Book Info
    Naval Strategy and National Security
    Book Description:

    These essays from the journalInternational Securitycover aspects of past and present naval technologies and explore current disputes over American naval doctrine. Four of the contributions--those by Linton Brooks, John Mearsheimer, Barry Posen, and Joshua Epstein--describe the case for and against the Reagan administration's controversial Maritime Strategy, which has formed the basis for the administration's buildup to a six-hundred-ship navy. Other articles describe Soviet naval doctrine, assess the risk of nuclear war at sea, and outline the evolution of major naval technologies and doctrines.

    Part I: Naval Strategy Planning a Navy: The Risks of Conventional Wisdom R. James Woolsey Naval Power and National Security: The Case for the Maritime Strategy Linton F. Brooks A Strategic Misstep: The Maritime Strategy and Deterrence in Europe John J. Mearsheimer Horizontal Escalation: Sour Notes of a Recurrent Theme Joshua M. Epstein Naval Power and Soviet Global Strategy Michael MccGwire Part II: Naval Technology Technology and the Evolution of Naval Warfare Karl Lautenschlager Will Strategic Submarines Be Vulnerable? Richard L. Garwin The Submarine in Naval Warfare, 1901=2001 Karl Lautenschlager Stopping the Sea-Based Counterforce Threat Harold A. Feiveson and John Duffield Part III: Naval Operations--Controlling the Risks Nuclear War at Sea Desmond Ball Inadvertent Nuclear War? Escalation and NATO's Northern Flank Barry R. Posen A Quiet Success for Arms Control: Preventing Incidents at Sea Sean M. Lynn-Jones

    Originally published in 1988.

    ThePrinceton Legacy Libraryuses the latest print-on-demand technology to again make available previously out-of-print books from the distinguished backlist of Princeton University Press. These paperback editions preserve the original texts of these important books while presenting them in durable paperback editions. The goal of the Princeton Legacy Library is to vastly increase access to the rich scholarly heritage found in the thousands of books published by Princeton University Press since its founding in 1905.

    eISBN: 978-1-4008-5952-8
    Subjects: Technology

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. The Contributors
    (pp. vii-viii)
  4. Preface
    (pp. ix-xi)
    Stephen Van Evera

    • Planning a Navy: The Risks of Conventional Wisdom
      (pp. 3-15)
      R. James Woolsey

      The Spring 1978 issue ofInternationalSecurity presented two essays addressing the contentious political and technical problems central to shaping the U.S. Navy in the 21st century. Senator Gary Hart and ship designer Reuven Leopold examined respectively Congressional sentiment and state of the art weapons acquisitions as they each confronted the certainty of a numerically constrained fleet.

      This debate over force structure—and the national defense policies reflected by the structure—inherently embraces a number of assumptions, as well as a variety of analytical approaches. We have asked Under Secretary of the Navy R. James Woolsey to assess the competing...

    • Naval Power and National Security: The Case for the Maritime Strategy
      (pp. 16-46)
      Linton F. Brooks

      For the past five years, U.S. Navy officers and their civilian colleagues have been taking to heart the centuries-old dictum of the first great theorist of conflict, Sun Tzu: they have been studying war. While military reformers have focused on the need for improved military strategy in a land campaign, a renaissance of strategic thinking has been taking place within the U.S. Navy. This renaissance has been marked by a series of internal and external discussions and debates in which naval strategy has received more attention than in any peacetime period since the days of Alfred Thayer Mahan.¹ One important...

    • A Strategic Misstep: The Maritime Strategy and Deterrence in Europe
      (pp. 47-101)
      John J. Mearsheimer

      A core element of the Reagan Administration’s defense buildup lies in its plan to increase the size of the U.S. Navy to 600 ships.¹ This 600-ship force is purportedly required to implement “The Maritime Strategy,” which is the Navy’s blueprint for fighting a global conventional war against the Soviet Union. It is being built at the expense of American air and ground forces in Central Europe, which have not been significantly strengthened during the Reagan Administration’s tenure, even though the Administration has expressed the view that the NATO-Warsaw Pact conventional balance in Europe clearly favors the Pact.²

      Serious controversy has...

    • Horizontal Escalation: Sour Notes of a Recurrent Theme
      (pp. 102-114)
      Joshua M. Epstein

      The deterrence of Soviet military aggression has been the basis of American national security policy since the Truman Administration. The means proferred to secure containment, however, have changed with each administration since. But they have all partaken of two archetypal approaches: the symmetrical and the asymmetrical. John Lewis Gaddis has characterized them succinctly:

      Symmetrical response simply means reacting to threats to the balance of power at the same location, time, and level of the original provocation. Asymmetrical response involves shifting the location or nature of one’s reaction onto terrain better suited to the application of one’s strength against adversary weakness.¹...

    • Naval Power and Soviet Global Strategy
      (pp. 115-170)
      Michael MccGwire

      The Soviet Navy has become a significant factor in the debate about intentions, detente, and arms limitations, because its submarines carry a large part of the Soviet missile inventory, and because of the navy’s involvement in trouble spots around the world. The West has encouraged this Soviet emphasis on seabased strategic strike systems but is deeply suspicious of the naval activism, claiming that there is no legitimate requirement for the Soviet Union, a land power, to deploy such forces.

      The Soviets have always admitted this asymmetry of interest by stressing that a major change in the international situation after World...


    • Technology and the Evolution of Naval Warfare
      (pp. 173-221)
      Karl Lautenschläger

      The perennial concern of military planners is that technological surprise will give an opponent a decisive advantage in event of war. Technological developments combined with tactical innovation can bring about fundamental change in fighting capabilities. The concern is over how to anticipate such change, particularly if it comes suddenly.

      This paper suggests revising some current assessments of naval developments on the basis of recent historical trends. It reconsiders the evolution of warfare at sea since 1851, when technology produced fundamental changes in capabilities and tactics every ten to fifteen years. In an age of systems analysis it may seem a...

    • Will Strategic Submarines Be Vulnerable?
      (pp. 222-237)
      Richard L. Garwin

      In view of the increasing emphasis placed upon strategic submarines under the Reagan strategic program announced October 2, 1981, it is of interest to review the prospects for survivability of such submarines in the foreseeable future. This is particularly timely because the Scowcroft Commission has confirmed the U.S. inability to identify a survivable land-basing posture for the MX missile and because the Soviet Union will presumably soon be faced with the vulnerability of its own silo-based ICBM force, whether by reentry vehicles on U.S. ICBMs or from U.S. SLBMs.

      Antisubmarine warfare (ASW) techniques and capabilities important forstrategicpurposes are...

    • The Submarine in Naval Warfare, 1901–2001
      (pp. 238-284)
      Karl Lautenschläger

      This article surveys the evolution of submarine technology, submarine capability, and strategy for the use of submarines. It traces change in the operational capabilities of submarines since their introduction, evaluates the past effectiveness of submarine forces in war, and suggests how their roles and capabilities are likely to develop in the future. It also addresses the current debate over the proper roles of submarines in naval strategy and discusses prevalent misconceptions about their past and present capabilities.

      Submarines are fundamentally different from other warships. Because they function in the underwater medium, submarines tend, unlike surface ships and aircraft, to operate...

    • Stopping the Sea-Based Counterforce Threat
      (pp. 285-300)
      Harold A. Feiveson and John Duffield

      The ballistic missile submarine has long been thought to have an important counterforce role in the execution of nuclear war. This is especially true of potential Soviet first strikes against the United States. Soviet submarine-launched ballistic missiles (SLBMs) fired close to U.S. shores and using trajectories that minimize the time of flight have appeared well suited to attacks on U.S. strategic bomber bases and on many critical components of the command, control, and communication network.¹

      The importance to U.S. strategic thinking of this potential counterforce role for SLBMs was highlighted most recently by the President’s Commission on Strategic Forces (The...


    • Nuclear War at Sea
      (pp. 303-331)
      Desmond Ball

      The subject of nuclear warfare at sea, and the difficulties of controlling escalation of conflict at sea, has so far drawn very little attention from the strategic community.¹ This is despite the fact that more than a third of the nuclear weapons of the U.S. and the Soviet Union are deployed on sea-based platforms; the control of these weapons by central national authorities is physically loosest; and the doctrines and operational procedures associated with sea-based nuclear weapons are subject to less well-defined thresholds and, in some cases, are quite provocative. Moreover, there are good reasons for believing that the first...

    • Inadvertent Nuclear War? Escalation and NATO’s Northern Flank
      (pp. 332-358)
      Barry R. Posen

      Could a major East-West conventional war be kept conventional? American policymakers increasingly seem to think so. Recent discussions of such a clash reflect the belief that protracted conventional conflict is possible, if only the West fields sufficient conventional forces and acquires an adequate industrial mobilization base. Indeed, the Reagan Administration has embraced the idea of preparing for a long conventional war, as evidenced by its concern with the mobilization potential of the American defense industry.¹ Underlying this policy is the belief that the United States should be prepared to fight a war that, in duration and character, resembles World War...

    • A Quiet Success for Arms Control: Preventing Incidents at Sea
      (pp. 359-389)
      Sean M. Lynn-Jones

      The 1972 Agreement on the Prevention of Incidents at Sea between the United States and the Soviet Union¹ is a virtually forgotten remnant of an era that produced dozens of U.S.–Soviet accords. Although it was almost ignored in both the American and Soviet announcements of the various agreements that emerged from the May 1972 Moscow summit, the agreement has helped to avert potentially dangerous incidents between the U.S. and Soviet navies. Most of the achievements of détente have lost their luster with the passage of time, but the agreement’s effectiveness appears to have survived the deterioration of U.S. Soviet relations....