Anticipating escalation in sealift planning

by Kevin N. Lewis

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Sealift will play a key role in any significant U.S. military contingency, regardless of the specifics of the scenario. U.S. sealift capabilities are now in a state of dangerous disrepair; it is clear that transport fleet modernization is a must. It is now unlikely that our strategic mobility policy will move very far beyond the current concepts that anticipate either a period of industrial mobilization for a long war or ad hoc emergency measures on the Falklands model. It would be worthwhile to spend a little extra to build into the mobility posture certain attributes that would enhance ocean survivability against what is bound to be an increasingly severe conventional threat over time. The threat of geographic escalation should be, within reasonable bounds, one determinant of the current and future sealift modernization plans.

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