Force Protection of Sea Based Logistics, A Historical Perspective   [open pdf - 716KB]

"The United States is heavily reliant on sea based logistics shipping. Much of the United States military strategy involves using military supplies transported on CONUS based ships and prepositioned ships. This dependence on sea based logistics gives the U.S. great flexibility and mobility but is also a critical vulnerability. During World War II Japan was also a nation dependent on maritime shipping. Japan did not provide force protection for merchant shipping and the results were disastrous. Great Britain and the United States also experienced attacks on maritime shipping in both World War I and II. German submarines destroyed millions of tons of shipping before adequate resources were allocated and tactics developed to counter the threat. Today's operational commander should not forget the lessons of the past. Surprise, unity of effort/unity of command and coordinated air, surface and subsurface efforts are just as relevant today as they were in World War I and II. The United States has doctrine to protect maritime shipping but U.S. Naval force reductions and the lack of a credible threat make force protection a low priority issue. All maritime shipping is potentially at risk, but prepositioned ships loaded with critical military supplies are especially vulnerable. They are a high value, low risk target for a capable enemy. The results of such an attack could have severe consequences for United States forces and our ability to conduct military operations."

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