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Andrew Marshal & War with Iran

May 16, 2019

The U.S. military services–Navy, Army and Air Force–are as good as the current war. After hostilities end, the skills learned tend to lead to planning to fight the last war. The recent death of Andrew Marshall, director of the Defense Department’s Office of Net Assessment from 1973 until he retired in 2015, informs us about why strategic thinking about national defense cannot be left to the Generals and Admirals.

After all, if you’re a career officer in the U.S. Navy, you want as many naval weapons as the President and Congress will give you. President Trump wants to add a 12th aircraft carrier to the fleet.

If you’re in the U.S. Army you want tanks, infantry and whatever else it takes to win land battles. And, of course, Generals in the Air Force want ballistic missiles and welcome President Trump’s call for a “Space Command.”

Once all those toys are accumulated, they require a national strategy designed to deter our enemies from gaining advantage.

For that type of thinking, for forty-two years, we had Andy Marshall.

One of the strategic tools for fighting wars developed effectively in WW II was the aircraft  carrier. That is no longer the case.

Today, all Naval warships, including aircraft carriers, are vulnerable to attacks from missiles. Here is a link to the People’s Republic of China’s anti-ship missile capabilities.

Russia has them, too, and Iran, in response  to the repositioning of the USS Abraham Lincoln has deployed small boats armed with missiles in advance of that aircraft carrier’s arrival.

The Mullahs in Iran are aware that during the Falkland war in 1982, Argentina used French “Exocet” missiles to destroy Britain’s HMS Sheffield, a 4,100 ton destroyer.

As far back as 1982, Andy Marshall understood that carriers potentially are “floating coffins.”

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