Implications of the National Security Council Study 'U.S. Maritime Strategy and Naval Force Requirements' on the Future Naval Ship Force (Unclassified Digest of a Classified Report)

PSAD-78-6: Published: Dec 19, 1977. Publicly Released: Dec 19, 1977.

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Recognizing that the Navy's fiscal year 1977 shipbuilding budget did not fully answer continuing questions about the future size and composition of the naval ship force, the Secretary of Defense requested an indepth study of U.S. maritime strategy and long-term naval requirements. The resultant National Security Council study, completed in January 1977, formed the basis for the 1978 fiscal year 5-Year Shipbuilding Program leading to a 600-ship Navy and centering around 12 large-deck carriers to be operated through the 1990s.

Before any decisions are made on the future naval force size and composition, the following issues should be examined: Should the Navy continue to rely on the carrier for offensive capability? Could and should forward deployment of high-value forces be accomplished with less valuable assets? Why does the study assign a large number of ships to protect naval shipping? Why are general-purpose forces being sized and structured for conventional warfare even though the Soviet Union can, and possibly intends to, conduct a tactical nuclear war? Were the analyses the study used in determining future naval force levels too pessimistic? and Why did the study propose future force levels on the basis of currently programmed forces and not address such issues as whether surface ships may provide direct support mor cost effectively than nuclear attack submarines?

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