As the U.S. turns its attention westward with the pivot to Asia, there is growing concern about whether the U.S. Navy’s surface fleet possesses sufficient lethality to meet the range of threats posed by a rising China. Representative Randy Forbes (R-VA), chairman of the House Armed Services Committee’s Seapower and Projection Forces Subcommittee, has openly questioned whether the U.S. Navy is “out-sticked” by Chinese counterparts who field anti-ship missiles with ranges far in excess of those on U.S. ships. The purchase of littoral combat ships, truncated at 32 ships due in part to the Secretary of Defense’s concern about sufficient lethality, demonstrates the increasing attention to surface warfare capacity.
On Friday, July 25th, the Hudson Center for American Seapower hosted a panel on the state of U.S. Surface Force lethality across several warfighting domains and panelists reflected on the direction of Surface Force lethality as demonstrated in the Navy’s FY15 budget submission.
Seth Cropsey, former Deputy Undersecretary of the Navy, discussed land attack. Bryan Clark, former Special Assistant to the Chief of Naval Operations, spoke on anti-submarine warfare and anti-surface warfare. Bryan McGrath, a national security consultant and retired Naval Officer, commented on integrated air and missile defense.