Irregular Warfare at Sea: A Case Study on National Defense Choices
National defense choices can leave a country vulnerable. Military organizations routinely deal with risk and trade-offs. But longer-term strategic defense choices—shaped by multiple factors including uncertainty about the future, the pressure of dominant current constituencies, and fiscal constraints that are difficult to “get right.” Once a conflict begins a new set of options and trades emerge but the uncertainties, the pressure of constituencies and resource constraints remain (even in a national level mobilization). In the United States, we are currently dealing with strategic choices that will propel the direction of the military and national readiness for the next 10-15 years. The story of the Battle of the Atlantic in the Second World War and the positioning with respect to submarine warfare in the inter-war years richly illustrates the types of challenges our nation must grapple with currently and offers some guideposts for approaching the toughest problems.
* Photo credit: National Park Service