Implications of the National Security Council Study 'U.S. Maritime Strategy and Naval Force Requirements' on the Future Ship Force

PSAD-78-6A: Published: Mar 7, 1978. Publicly Released: Mar 7, 1978.

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The Secretary of Defense requested an indepth study of U.S. maritime strategy and long-term naval requirements. The National Security Council study examined future Navy ship requirements on the basis of U.S. defense policies, Navy missions and role, and Soviet military capabilities and strategies. It also discussed future requirements in light of increasing costs and anticipated technological breakthroughs. The study was reviewed to clarify issues that relate to the size of the naval force and to evaluate the recommendations.

The study left the following important issues unresolved: 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 nuclear war? Were the analyses the study used in determining future naval force levels too pessimistic? and Why did the study propose future naval force levels on the basis of currently programed forces? If these issues had been considered in the study, they would have materially affected its outcome. Accordingly, these issues should be examined before any decisions are made on the future naval force size and composition.

Matter for Congressional Consideration

  1. Status: Closed

    Comments: Please call 202/512-6100 for additional information.

    Matter: The appropriate congressional committees should hold extensive exploratory hearings to examine the impact of these issues on the future naval force size and composition.


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