Navy: Sequestration won’t slow Pacific Pivot

Navy: Sequestration won’t slow Pacific Pivot

The U.S. Navy plans to base 60-percent of its fleet near or in the Pacific theater regardless of what happens with sequestration and ongoing budget uncertainties, service Secretary Ray Mabus told reporters last week.


“We are absolutely committed to the rebalance to the Pacific. We’re sending assets there regardless of what happens with the budget.We will have 60-percent of our fleet in Asia regardless of what happens elsewhere,” Mabus said.


In particular, Mabus said four of the services’ now-in-development Littoral Combat Ships will be slated for rotational deployments in Singapore and that additional Marine Corps units will be rotating through Australia.


In fact, over the next several years, the number of Marines rotating through Darwin, Australia, will go up to as many as 2,500 – forming a Marine Corps Air Ground Task Force, Corps officials indicated.

Mabus emphasized the importance of sustaining an impactful global presence and training with key allies – all as part of the Pentagon’s national defense strategy which, among other things, calls for a Pacific pivot and an agile, deployable, technologically superior force.

“This is what the Navy and Marine Corps do, with a small footprint or no footprint. We train and have exercises all over the globe. The fact that this is now a formal part of our defense strategy, raises its importance,” Mabus said. “We are committed to the Pacific focus, the Arabian Gulf and building partnerships to make sure that together, we can meet challenges.”

While by no means restricted to the Pacific theater, the much talked about AirSea Battle operating concept has great relevance to the kinds of challenges posed by the Pacific region.

Based upon the need to overcome the challenges posed by what Pentagon officials call Anti-Access/Area-Denial, or A2/AD, AirSea Battle is an operating concept designed to help the U.S. military project and sustain power in a more challenging and complicated future global technological environment, its advocates say.

Mabus mentioned A2/AD when asked about AirSea Battle and whether it is properly housed or configured as primarily an Air Force-Navy collaborative effort or should instead be run by Pentagon’s Office of the Joint Chiefs of Staff; Mabus indicated that the AirSea Battle concept is entirely “joint” in nature and intended for all services, but added there were some areas of the operating concept which benefitted from particular or more specific Air Force and Navy coordination.

A2/AD is current Pentagon-speak for how the U.S. military must be prepared to face potential adversaries which are much more technologically advanced than those faced in Iraq and Afghanistan.  As more potential adversaries are now equipped with longer range ballistic missiles, some with various kinds of precision guidance capabilities, it becomes more challenging for the U.S. to operate freely and project power in an uncontested fashion, AirSea Battle advocates maintain.

Essentially, AirSea Battle is based upon the premise that the U.S. military no longer has the global technological superiority or overmatch capability compared to potential adversaries it may have had merely a decade ago. The rapid development and proliferation of technologies has engendered a global environment wherein more sensors, jamming equipment, unmanned aircraft and precision-guided munitions are being developed and produced by more countries.

In particular, potential adversaries may have longer-range anti-ship ballistic missiles, making it more difficult for vessels to operate closer to shore. Therefore, while proponents of AirSea Battle are quick to point out that the operating concept is not intended to pick a certain adversary persay, they are clear that maritime security and ensuring access to key ports and waterways in places like the Pacific theater, or Arabian Gulf, is of great consequence.

The vast distances known to characterize the Pacific region speak unequivocally to the need for long-range strike, communications and ISR capabilities, proponents of AirSea Battle profess.  In fact, the Navy is currently developing several maritime ISR systems designed, in part, for these kinds of scenarios, service officials explained.

“We’re fielding new capability to focus on the challenges there; it is a maritime environment characterized by vast distances,” a Navy official said.

The official was referring to the Triton UAS, a maritime version of the Air Force’s Global Hawk surveillance plane being developed by the Navy as well as the service’s plans to deploy P-8A Poseidon surveillance planes to the region.

Congressman Forbes – AirSea Battle, Sequestration

The Pentagon’s Pacific pivot was also a focal point of recent comments from Congressman Randy Forbes,  ®-Va., Chairman of the House Armed Service Seapower and Projection Forces Subcommittee and vocal advocate of the AirSea Battle operating concept.

Considering these issues, Forbes recently told Military​.com in an interview that he is keen on wanting to ensure that strategic questions and potential future threat scenarios drive budget decisions.  Conversely, he does not want budget constraints and issues such as sequestration to disproportionately guide decisions of significant strategic import such as military readiness.

“Where are we going to be ten years from now? What is our effective reach? If they back our carriers off, how much combat space do we have?” he asked in a recent interview with Military​.com.

In the context of a broader discussion about force posture, AirSea Battle and force structure and strategy, Forbes brought up the now-in-development Unmanned Carrier Launched Surveillance and Strike System (UCLASS) as evidence of the kind of next-generation technology needed by the U.S. military to address potential future threats.

A carrier based drone able to conduct what’s called long-dwell ISR (intelligence, reconnaissance and surveillance) missions over vast, geographically dispersed areas – is precisely the kind of “reach” or force projection envisioned or called for by proponents of AirSea Battle.

“The goal is to have this operate off a carrier and compliment an existing air wing. When you have these complimentary aircraft, you can go longer distances for longer periods of time,” a Navy official said.

The Navy is currently developing a similar “demonstrator” aircraft, called the X-47B Unmanned Combat Air System; the X-47B, a demonstrator aircraft intended to inform the larger UCLASS program of record, successfully launched from an aircraft carrier this past May, marking a historic, first-of-its-kind carrier launch for a large unmanned system.

A Preliminary Design Review Request for Proposal (RFP) for the UCLASS was released to the four main vendors June 10, providing them with an opportunity to submit some of the technical and design details planned for their respective proposals; the RFP release was first reported by the U.S. Naval Institute.

The four industry teams are Northrop Grumman, Lockheed Martin, General Atomics and Boeing, Navy officials indicated.

“Industry will submit data and the government will assess the technical maturity of the designs. The Preliminary Design Reviews allow the government to be better informed of technical risk, cost and design maturity,” said Navy spokeswoman Jamie Cosgrove.

The PDRs also allow the industry teams to better understand the program’s requirements, Cosgrove added. A Technology Development RFP is slated for release in August of this year, she said.

Forbes wants to amend the calculus regarding discussions of sequestration such that lawmakers, thinkers, decision makers and strategic planners frame their questions not so much in terms of what risks can be “afforded” or absorbed in a constrained fiscal environment — but rather what is the near and long-term risk of NOT fully and properly equipping the U.S. military.

“Nobody is asking — What is the risk if we don’t supply the necessary resources?” Forbes said.

Forbes is also outspoken regarding the current and potential future impacts of sequestration; he has consistently opposed sequestration and is a supporter of several proposed legislative options to stop sequestration.  In particular, Forbes sponsored legislative proposals to end the defense portions or impact from sequestration; he told Military​.com he is very concerned about sequestration’s potential impact upon force posture and force projection.

“Sequestration’s negative impact on our military readiness is significant and grows steadily more damaging with each passing day. The United States faces real national security challenges around the world and, because of Washington budget politics, we are seeing our ability to respond to these challenges significantly degraded. I refuse to accept that these arbitrary and damaging cuts are the best our Government can do to secure the national defense of the United States,” Forbes said.









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I’m not sure what “Air-Sea Battle” (ASB) really means, but what it should mean is Air Force flying some CATOBAR capable fighter bombers, using CVNs as forward rearming and refueling points. Aerial tankers can refuel, allowing long range uper sorties, but they cannot rearm. By landing on carriers to rearm, and maybe recrew, more sorties could be accomplished in less time.

Using carriers to rearm and perhaps recrew (C.O.D. the Air Force crews to the carrier for the strike missions) and service those land based fighters, more aircraft would be operating off of that CVN than the CVN could carry by itself, leveraging the precious CVN resource to increase sortie rates, a force multiplier.

Navy needs a fighter bomber, very stealthy, twin engined, fast, long ranged, and well suited to CATOBAR operation in all weather, maybe an FBK-23 based on a stretched YF-23. Design it for the Navy, and let the Air Force buy some too, same version with the arresting hook.

…“We are absolutely committed’… This is a common platitude that shows up in many a testimony and never really has much meaning.

To project power from a CSG against a peer level adversary, Navy needs a new large air and missile defense cruiser, with large aperture AMDR and a large load of missiles, to defend the CSG and especially the CVN from surface, air, and missile threats that are expected to develop over coming decades.

The trend is toward stealthier and/or faster moving threats. Better radar is needed to “see” those at longer range to provide more time to react and defend against them.

With radar size matters. Performance scales roughly with the cube of the aperture diameter, 3x the diameter delivering roughly 27x the performance. AMDR can scale beyond 36 foot equivalent diameter aperture, but the Arleigh Burke platform can only support 12–14 foot equivalent diameter aperture, depending on how much other capability they want to trade away for that.

A larger ship is needed to carry larger radar. It also needs a large load of missiles in VLS to defend against swarmed combined attacks from surface, air, and missile threats, needs to match the speed of a CVN, and C2 capacity to serve as flagship in the CSG.

We cannot wait until we need them to begin developing and building them.

In particular, potential adversaries may have longer-range anti-ship ballistic missiles, making it more difficult for vessels to operate closer to shore.
Years ago there was a desire to create a non-nuclear, global strike weapon based on ICBM’s. When the idea was floated to the Russians, they unambiguously informed the USA that since they couldn’t be certain what sort of weapon was launched (nuclear or otherwise), and can’t tell the destination until it was too late to retaliate, that they would launch a retaliation strike should they detect the launch of a ballistic missile.

That simple statement had the immediate effect of killing the conventional global strike weapon.

The USA, could learn from the fairly recent past, and also make it clear to any nation who might be considering use of such a weapon, that we would be inclined to make an identical response.

Hence — the many billions invested in such a weapon and technology would be likely rendered useless.

Wow! Four LCS’s forward deployed with Navy crews and contractor repair departments. No destroyer tenders to support the LCS’s of course we need the civilian contractors. All that fire power in one place.

Remember, if you can, in 1940–41 the part of the US fleet was forward deployed from the West coast and some units sent from the LANTFLT. History repeats it’s self.

Of course we could bring back a battleship or two and have Pearl Harbor Two. I bet a spare rib to a hot dog the
PRC’s navy is shaking in it’s chop suey over the under gunned, under manned, thin skinned, LCS targets.

Read an excellent book “The Fleet that the Gods Forgot”. It’s about the Asiaditic Fleet in the months following Pearl Harbour (Brit spelling for my RN friends). I guess God protects sailors and fools, except from politicians.


Shows the Pentagon lies. Last year it was all about sequestration stopping Pacific ops now everything fine go fig. Never doubted things stay normal even with sequestration in place.

Why not just ditch Air Sea Battle for an Off shore Control Plan? You starve the Chinese of trade and resources and their just as dead.

(1) If the Navy cut a third of their Atlantic Fleet, the balance in ships would change from the current 50/50 split Pacific/Atlantic ratio to 60/40. Pacific Pivot = mission accomplished with NO additional ships sent to Pacific! Sequestration can make this happen.

(2) Air Sea Battle? This is supposed to be what the Army and Navy should have been doing all along! Now they’re spending more money to do what was their job in the first place?

(3) LCS forward deployed? Where are the swap out mission modules going to be sited? Singapore? New overseas base? And they’ll have to return to port to swap out roles? Plus these are gas gusslers. How many tankers do they need to support operational deployments when they’re out by themselves? How inefficient and ineffective.

* If you starve the Chinese of trade and resources and they’re just as dead.

Hey JRT, air force planes are incapable on landing on Navy carriers

Yep, the LCS pivot to the Pacific is making the Chinese get a tingle up and down their legs ;-P

No worries Taxpayer, they made sure the LCS “shore leave” modules were installed and working perfectly before they left the states ;–P

This mischaracterization of AirSea Battle makes me want to tear my eyes out. If anything, AirSea Battle places higher technological demands on the force. it is one thing to claim that the A2/AD threat offers an unprecedented challenge. It is quite another to claim the AirSea Battle is a risk avoiding strategy that fails to meet that challenge. Get your story straight.

Big-Dean… Your comment highlights the underlying problem.

I’d adocate that the Navy should get a new stealthy CATOBAR capable fighter bomber, maybe an FBK-23 based on a stretched YF-23. Air Force should buy some of those in Navy configuration, enabling those Air Force aircraft to re-arm on a CVN (and maybe also re-crew, effect repairs, etc.) rather than completing a longer flight back to a land base to re-arm. That force multiplier gets more sorties from the Air Force fighter bomber. And because more aircraft would be using the CVN than the CVN can carry by itself, that also gets more sorties from the CVN. And buying the exact same aircraft reduces development costs, unit costs, logistics costs, etc.

Is it possible to combine inputs from multiple smaller SPY radars, like with radio telescopes?

The only time the Navy and Air force flew was same planes was when the Air force bought the Navy F-4 Phantom

Second problem, Air force pilots do not have the skill set to land on aircraft carriers, if they did they’d be called “Naval Aviators”

Do thoses modules look anything like the “constantly in depot repair” modules, Big-Dean?

The so called Pacific Pivot is meaningless.

Apart from the few LCS planned to be stationed in Singapore , I don’t see any plans of forward deploying additional large, capital ships to the Western Pacific. No additional forward deployed USAF wings either. The only other ”major thing ” apart from the LCS are new Ospreys in Okinawa.

Thats about it.

I would be convinced about this so called pivot plan if another CBG returns to , lets say Subic.

Under current plans, no.

But the LCS already has one module: The “contractor repair” module. No room for anything else.

The remaining Yellowstones are at James River; probably unusable at this point.

Rather than the notional FBK-23, Navy may someday effect something similar with N-UCAS, which is at at least a real development that is being funded.

Include a squadron of a dozen N-UCAS in the carrier air wing to get the crew acclimated to working with that unmanned aircraft. In a strike mission, additional squadrons of N-UCAS could deploy from distant land bases, super sortie into the fight, and use the CVN as a forward rearming point rather than returning to a land base after each sortie.

The alternative is to use Marine/Navy land-based aircraft and stage them from the CVN. However, combat aircraft procurement is almost entirely based on technology snazziness and dogfighting prowess, not range.


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