Navy Force Structure Changes Required if Assigned the Role of National Missile Defense   [open pdf - 156KB]

The end of the Cold War has significantly reduced the threat of a large-scale battle between great powers and redefined the primary threats facing the U.S. One of these primary threats is the threat posed by intercontinental ballistic missile armed with weapons of mass destruction. To deal with this evolving threat, the Congress has mandated that a land based National Missile Defense system capable of defending the U.S. homeland be developed. However, many military analysts believed that the surface Navy already had the framework for accomplishing this mission. These analysts believed that upgrading existing Aegis surface ships would produce a limited sea-based National Missile Defense system that could be deployed cheaper, faster, and more flexible than the land based proposal. Analysis of the sea-based proposal identifies several reasons that the use of existing ships in not feasible. Today's Navy is smaller yet continues to perform the same traditional missions and roles as it performed during the height of the Cold War. The smaller force coupled with the significant technical and organizational changes that are required to accomplish the National Missile Defense Mission will significantly reduce the capability of the current surface Navy. Additionally, the current fleet is getting older and more outdated. For the surface Navy to assume the mission of National Missile Defense, the Navy must develop newer and more capable ships specifically designed to perform this mission. The acquisition of 10 ships built and designed solely for National Missile Defense would provide the Congress mandated defense of the U.S. homeland.

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