May 7, 2004
The Navy is trying to transform itself, to remain true to basic principles while exploiting new technology and, hopefully, the new kind of warfare often characterized as network-centric. It is doing so against the background of a new low-intensity war against terror. The sheer cost of the war, and of maintaining large forward-deployed forces, is obviously causing considerable pain and is forcing the Navy to make harder decisions than it might want to make. And, of course, there is the question of whether other kinds of wars, such as, say, a conventional war in Korea, ought to be taken into account. What is likely to happen? What does Seapower XXI mean? What kind of technology is likely to be vital? What is the impact of Moore's Law and other aspects of COTS? Behind such questions are a host of others. Just what are the enduring principles of naval power, and to what extent are they more or less important than in the past? Is the Navy's role in insuring access to foreign countries more important, or is its role in denying access to others (maritime interdiction), or will it find that, as in two World Wars, the real problem is in maintaining secure oceanic lines of communication? For that matter, what is the likely impact of emerging technology, including access to space sensing? These questions might well deserve a year or two of intense study, but some of them can be raised and discussed, at least provocatively, in an afternoon colloquium. This discussion has a dual (schizophrenic?) background: strategy on the one hand and technology on the other. The dichotomy is perhaps more apparent than real, because the strategy is based on the facts of physics, such as buoyancy, and the technology is more obviously based on more detailed facts of physics -- but also of economics. For example, a key issue is the future of Moore's Law.
Dr. Norman Friedman is a defense analyst concerned primarily with the interaction between technology and tactical, strategic, and policy issues. He was a staff member and then Deputy Director of National Security Studies of the Hudson Institute from 1973 through 1984. Since that time he has served as a consultant to the Secretary of the Navy (in the Office of Program Appraisal, 1984-94) and to various defense contractors. He has lectured at the Naval War College, the Naval Postgraduate School, the Industrial College of the Armed Forces, the Air War College, the Australian and Canadian junior and senior national staff colleges, the Royal United Services Institute, the British Ministry of Defense, and at a series of seminars for the Naval Air Systems Command managed by the University of Virginia. Dr Friedman received his Ph.D. in solid-state physics from Columbia University in 1974, following research at the IBM Watson Research Center.