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Oceans Ventured: Winning the Cold War at Sea

When Ronald Reagan took office in January 1981, the United States and NATO were losing the Cold War. The USSR had superiority in conventional weapons and manpower in Europe and had embarked on a massive program to gain naval preeminence. But Reagan already had a plan to end the Cold War without armed conflict. Reagan led a bipartisan Congress to restore American command of the seas by building the navy back to six hundred major ships and fifteen aircraft carriers. He adopted a bold new strategy to deploy the growing fleet to northern waters around the periphery of the Soviet Union and demonstrate that the NATO fleet could sink Soviet submarines, defeat Soviet bomber and missile forces, and strike aggressively deep into the Soviet homeland if the USSR attacked NATO in Central Europe. New technology in radars, sensors, and electronic warfare made ghosts of American submarines and surface fleets. The United States proved that it could effectively operate carriers and aircraft in the ice and storms of Arctic waters, which no other navy had attempted. The Soviets, suffocated by this naval strategy, were forced to bankrupt their economy trying to keep pace. Shortly thereafter the Berlin Wall fell, and the USSR disbanded. In Oceans Ventured, John Lehman reveals for the untold story of the naval operations that played a major role in winning the Cold War.

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7/31/2020

Re-Designing the Marine Corps for Future War: Necessity or Madness?

General David H. Berger, Marine Corps Commandant, is aggressively pushing a dramatic redesign of the Corps for future war incorporating new missiles, advanced sensors, unmanned platforms, and hypervelocity weapons. HisForce Design 2030effort has drawn enthusiastic support from those who agree that the Corps must change to remain relevant on a more lethal battlefield. But it has generated an equally fervent amount of criticism from others who think the effort is overly focused on China—rendering the Corps irrelevant across a range of other potentially more likely scenarios. To achieve its vision, the Corps is doing away with tanks, reducing conventional artillery, shrinking units, and placing new demands on the Navy, already struggling to modernize its fleet. But it is adding anti-ship missiles, doubling-down on unmanned systems, and reenergizing a profound discussion about the importance of naval power.Will a redesigned Corps make it irrelevant for land operations against conventional militaries of larger state powers or irregular forces like terrorist groups? Or are General Berger’s designs essential to America’s future ability to conduct nearly any military operation in any theater against a host of potential enemies?Join us for an in-depth conversation about all of this with nationally recognized experts who hold informed opinions on both sides of this issue: Dr. Frank G. Hoffman, Lt. Col. USMCR (Ret.), Distinguished Research Fellow at the National Defense University, and Mark F. Cancian, Colonel, USMCR (Ret.), Senior Advisor, International Security Program, Center for Strategic and International Studies.