Bryan Clark, The National Interest, Jan 26
"The last 25 years of unrivaled U.S. undersea dominance may be coming to an end unless U.S. forces adapt to the changing undersea operating environment."
U.S. defense strategy depends in large part on America’s advantage in undersea warfare. Multiple Quadrennial Defense Reviews, National Military Strategies, and Congressional hearing statements highlight how quiet submarines, in particular, are one of the American military’s most viable means of gathering intelligence and projecting power in the face of mounting anti-access and area denial (A2/AD) threats being fielded by a growing number of countries.
America’s superiority in undersea warfare results from decades of research and development (R&D), operations, and training. It is, however, far from assured. U.S. submarines are the world’s quietest, but new detection techniques are emerging that don’t rely on the noise a submarine makes, and may make traditional manned submarine operations far more risky in the future. America’s competitors are likely pursuing these technologies even while expanding their own undersea forces. To affordably sustain its undersea advantage well into this century, the U.S. Navy must accelerate innovation in undersea warfare by reconsidering the role of manned submarines and exploiting emerging technologies to field a new “family of undersea systems.”