Battleship Admirals love the CNA “Tipping Point” Report

by Craig Hooper on October 15, 2010

The much ballyhooed Center For Naval Analysis (CNA) report, “The Navy at a Tipping Point: Maritime Dominance at Stake” is not a document that should guide high-level naval decision-makers. As I have written before, the policy suggestions are based on some really questionable assumptions and the report is inattentive to detail. OPNAV NOOX could have gotten more value elsewhere–unless it actually wanted a sloppy, mirror-imaging argument for “Big Ship” status quo. You know, something for the Battleship Admirals among us…

Every time I open the thing I find some shortcoming….For goodness sakes, download the report, and look at the slides entitled “Global Influences on USN Options” (on pages 20 and 21). They list, on the map, “regional” and “cruising” Navies. I won’t get into their choices as to what Navies should fit where…but these guys couldn’t even identify the South Korean Navy–one of the bigger Navies on the planet–as a regional Navy. They just…ignored South Korea? Why?

I am still trying to wrap my arms around why I don’t like this report. It is, in a superficial sense, a fine means to start the discussion of managing a shrinking, cost-constrained Navy in a globe full of peers. But beyond that, I fear that those treating this CNA report like it is some kind of intellectual gold are simply modern-day Battleship Admirals, desperate to cling to some sort of status quo in these confusing seas.

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Chuck Hill November 7, 2010 at 2:02 pm

My observations were that some missions were not explicitly addressed:

* ASW protection for merchant shipping (and the attendant need for frigates), once a core mission of the Navy, wasn’t considered at all.
* ASW operations against SSBNs wasn’t explicitly addressed
* Nor were changes to our nuclear deterrents (SSBNs)
* Possible future requirements to impose a blockade, if considered at all, were only addressed in nebulous terms of establishing “Sea Control” and the large number of low end units required was not addressed.

Also “Combat credibility” is as much a function of what the other guy has got as what you have. If our forces stayed the same as they are, if our adversaries gain sufficient strength, the forward deployed forces would be no longer credible.

That we can expect to remain “combat credible” with less than one sixth of our total force (one forward deployed CSG–both the 2 hub option and the 1+ option) within striking distance of the armed forces of the second largest economy in the world is a short term illusion.

We’re discussing the coast Guard implications here:


Blacktail October 18, 2010 at 8:31 pm

Sounds more like the Carrier Admirals and the Carrier Lobby are clinging to what they believe to be a validation for their jobs, which makes one wonder — Where did the $$$funding$$$ for this CNA study come from?

Case in point; remember in the early 2000s when spokesmen and reports from the Lexington Institute and RAND extolled the Stryker, and the press ate it up?

Some detail-savvy bloggers found out that the US Army was paying the Lexington Institute’s bills.

RAND was even more interesting, considering who it was associated with. It was quietly omitted that RAND was *part* of the US Army itself, and that Army CSA Ge. Eric Shinseki (cheerleader No.1 for the IBCTs and the Stryker) actually *worked* for RAND in 1996, along with Gen. Peter Schoomaker (whom Shinseki later made a Stryker Project Manager), and Gen. David K. Heebner (who was Shinseki’s right-hand man while CSA, and the pivotal decision-maker on which IAV to select for the IBCTs — the one chosen was the Stryker). The trio worked as a team, and they even co-authored at least one report.

(The rest of this is a HUGE tangent, but it’s relevant, and I guarantee you’ll find it interesting)

Heebner’s financial shenanigans — and hiring into a CEO position by GDLS, who builds the Stryker — also seem to have escaped the attention of the mainstream media;
Heebner later became the FULL President of GDLS.

It also seems to have gotten under the radar that Shinseki steered his old RAND buddy Schoomaker into replacing him as CSA, and that Honeywell hired Shinseki straight into their board of directors;
Honeywell happens to be a financial dependent of GDLS (again, the builder of the Stryker), because Honeywell’s AGT1500 Gas Turbine engine is only used in GDLS’ M1 Abrams tank.


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