The on-again/off-again debate regarding the future of the aircraft carrier has been reanimated. The approximate causal factor is the proliferation of long-range precision-guided ballistic and cruise missiles. The U.S. military is struggling to develop operational concepts and appropriate capabilities to deal with the threat posed by competitors’ anti-access and area denial (A2/AD) capabilities (in which ballistic and cruise missiles play a major role) and the reality that potential adversaries have the advantage of proximity to likely regions of conflict.
In response to the threat, the Department of Defense (DoD) has sought to develop new operating concepts and capabilities to improve both the lethality and survivability of its forces. Two key elements of the new approach are distributed …