Transforming the Navy: Punching a Feather Bed?   [open pdf - 996KB]

"The Bush administration has made military transformation a central defense and national security objective. It came into office declaring its commitment to profound, potentially radical military change. Even while engaged in the global war on terror, preparing to go to war against and then fighting one rogue state, and deterring another, the U.S. military has been pressed to remake itself. Indeed, the threat of terrorism is said to demonstrate the need for transformation, and a possible war in Southwest Asia has been viewed by some as an opportunity to showcase the military's emerging transformational capabilities. While deployed across multiple theaters, the armed forces are to develop a coherent view of the future and to begin implementing the technological, doctrinal, and organizational changes necessary to meet future warfighting requirements. Moreover, this is to be done in a budget environment in which, despite dramatically increased defense spending, flexibility is limited by current operating expenses. By any standard, this is a tall order. […] The Navy claims that its challenges are particularly difficult. The fleet has shrunk. It is likely to shrink still further before it grows. Programmed recapitalization and modernization are thought to exceed the resources expected to be available. Operational requirements have dictated more frequent, and longer, deployments. Operating tempo has spiked. The fleet and resources are stretched thin. Is now the time to transform, to introduce new platforms and force the naval acquisition system and the naval industrial base to adopt new business practices and achieve greater economies? For transformation proponents, the answer is a resounding 'Yes.'"

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Naval War College Review (Summer 2003), v.56 no.3, p.107-131
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