Admiral: Navy shifting from carrier-based strategy to a fleet of ‘distributed lethality’
WASHINGTON – The Navy must adapt to stay ahead of rapidly improving anti-ship weapons that could one day keep an American fleet from sailing to the aid of an ally, the top commander of U.S. surface warships said Tuesday.
That means “if it floats, it fights,” according to the Navy’s new “Surface Force Strategy,” which was released Tuesday.
The new strategy relies on “distributed lethality,” in which the fleet will network each ship in a way that any one of them could engage a threat by detecting or directing responses, or having the needed weapons for a fight. It’s a strategy designed to move away from battle plans with aircraft carriers and big-deck amphibious ships as the hubs of sea-based military responses.
The strategy seeks to make the Navy less reliant on carriers, as potential rivals’ anti-ship technologies improve. It’s structured to force another navy to monitor more American ships, taking some attention away from U.S. carriers.
“The world has changed and so must we,” said Vice Adm. Thomas Rowden, the top commander of the Navy’s surface fleet. “As time passes, it appears that China’s maritime ambitions are more than just regional. They have continued to upgrade both their Navy and their sea denial capability.”
Russia also has made similar strides in modernizing its fleet, said Rowden, who spoke Tuesday at the Navy Surface Association annual conference in Washington, D.C.
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