Robert HARNEIS –TDO- (FRANCE) - The new US Navy’s top admiral has issued a message to the US navy admitting the scale of the challenge they now face. He said it was time to prepare for near-peer, high end warfare on the high seas.
"For decades, we took for granted that no other blue-water navy would dare take us on. That’s no longer true . . . there are other nations who would use their maritime forces to threaten the freedom of the seas to intimidate their neighbors or to coerce others in violation of international law. Those maritime forces are growing in numbers and in strength," he said. He went on to promise that "We will think differently about the competition we are now in. We will be the Navy the nation needs now, and we will build the Navy the nation needs to fight and win in the future."
This will take technological development and investment, he said, but he emphasized the importance of sailors, the Navy's "most important weapons system."
Gilday also noted that some potential opponents seek to exploit cyber weaknesses rather than taking the Navy on in open conflict. As the previous head of Fleet Cyber Command (10th Fleet), he has experience with the military's attempts to prevent intrusion - an important consideration in the wake of revelations about the pervasive, long-running Chinese hacking of Navy research contractors.
The admiral was referring to the growing strength of Chinese and Russian naval forces backed by potent missile technology that in particular makes the huge US air craft carrier force increasingly impotent except against weak unsupported enemies. Iran in particular is strongly supported by Russia with whom it has a direct link across the Caspian Sea and by China.
It is the first time a senior US Naval commander has admitted the increasing impotence of the US naval forces in the face of its geo-political rivals.