Evaluating the Sea Basing Concept: Is This Future Capability a Critical Strength, Weakness, or Vulnerability for the Theater Commander? [open pdf - 72KB]
The end of the Cold War produced new threats to national security as new enemies chose not to field large armed forces, like those of the Soviet Union, but decided in favor of smaller, asymmetric groups, as demonstrated by Al Qaeda and their attack on the United States on September 11, 2001. Simultaneously, America also has been forced to reassess its historical practice of basing forward- deployed forces in friendly countries during peacetime and conflict, as evidenced by Turkey's refusal to permit American forces to use their country as a staging area for Operation Iraqi Freedom. Consequently, American forces must transform into lighter, more agile expeditionary forces that will be primarily based at sea to defeat future threats quickly and decisively abroad. However, will basing Joint Force Commanders (JFC), JFC headquarters, Component Commanders, and the preponderance of Joint Forces at sea during conflict create critical vulnerabilities for Theater Combatant Commanders? Conceptually, Sea Basing will provide Theater Commanders with the advantages of sovereign security, immediate employability, and operational independence. However, operational protection of a sea-based JFC's headquarters, Component Commanders, and Joint Forces will be the most crucial element of future mission success. What are the weaknesses and vulnerabilities of Sea Basing Joint Forces? Are they significant? This study evaluates the overall effectiveness and utility of Sea Basing to the Combatant Commander by critically analyzing the strengths, weaknesses, and vulnerabilities of Sea Basing Joint Theater Forces.
Defense Technical Information Center (DTIC): http://www.dtic.mil/dtic/