Is the U.S. Navy Overrated (5.1)?
An Updated Knightsbridge Working Paper
Copyright 2004 By Roger Thompson
Professor of Military Studies, Knightsbridge University.
The opinions expressed herein are those of the author, and are not to be construed as the opinions of Knightsbridge University. This is a work in progress and supercedes all previous versions. It may be revised and updated as required.
Introduction: David versus Goliath at Sea
In 1981, The NATO exercise Ocean Venture ended with much embarrassment for the U.S. Navy, and more specifically, its enormously expensive aircraft carrier battle groups. During the exercise, a Canadian submarine slipped quietly through the aircraft carrier U.S.S. America’s destroyer screen, and conducted a devastating simulated torpedo attack on the ship. The submarine was never detected, and the exercise umpire, a U.S. Navy officer, pronounced the carrier “dead.” One analyst has stated that a second carrier, presumably the U.S.S. Forrestal, was also reportedly destroyed by another enemy submarine during this exercise. Later, the U.S.N. umpire tried to use material from his official report in a magazine article, but when his superiors read it, his work was promptly stamped “classified” to minimize the potential fallout. Unfortunately, an anonymous Canadian submariner leaked the story to a local newspaper, and indicated that this successful Canadian attack on an American supercarrier was by no means an isolated incident. It was a simple ambush in the North Atlantic, and it worked perfectly. Indeed, the article concluded that the Americans never knew what hit them, that they were embarrassed by this failure, and that they wanted to bury the matter then and there. The Canadian diesel submarine ambushed a surface ship in the same way that Germany’s U-boats had done it decades before. This news caused quite a stir in Congress, and the U.S. Navy had a lot of explaining to do. Why had not one but two U.S.N. carriers been sunk? Why indeed had a small, 1960s-vintage diesel submarine of the under-funded Canadian Navy been able to defeat one of America’s most powerful and expensive warships, and with such apparent ease?
As for the Canadian attack on the U.S.S. America, there are several possible
explanations. Firstly, Canadian submariners are extremely well trained and professional.
Secondly, at that time, the Oberon submarines used by the Canadian Navy were
probably the quietest in the world. A third possible reason, not so commonly
stated, and with all due respect, is that the mighty U.S. Navy is simply overrated.
It is my humble contention that the U.S. Navy is “not all it’s cracked
up to be,” and that is the focus of this paper.
Diesel Subs Feast on U.S. Carriers
“Remember, submarines are best at sinking surface ships; the lesson of the Thomas Jefferson ought not to be ignored. The Kilo that nailed her did not stalk the carrier. It was just lying in wait, hardly moving, virtually silent, an explosive hole in the water.”
– Admiral Sir John Woodward, R.N. (ret.) on the sinking of an American carrier by a diesel submarine in the novel Nimitz Class.
While Canadian submarines have routinely taken on U.S. Navy carriers, other small navies have enjoyed similar victories. The Royal Netherlands Navy, with its small force of extremely quiet diesel submarines, has made the U.S. Navy eat the proverbial slice of humble pie on more than one occasion. In 1989, naval analyst Norman Polmar wrote in Naval Forces that during NATO’s exercise Northern Star, “…the Dutch submarine “Zwaardvis” was the only orange (enemy) submarine to successfully stalk and sink a blue (allied) aircraft carrier…” The carrier in question might have been the U.S.S. America, as it was a participant in this exercise. Ten years later there were reports that the Dutch submarine Walrus had been even more successful in the exercise JTFEX/TMDI99. “During this exercise the Walrus penetrates the U.S. screen and ‘sinks’ many ships, including the U.S. aircraft carrier Theodore Roosevelt CVN-71. The submarine launches two attacks and manages to sneak away. To celebrate the sinking the crew designed a special T-shirt.” Fittingly, the T-shirt depicted the U.S.S. Theodore Roosevelt impaled on the tusks of a walrus. It was also reported that the Walrus sank many of the Roosevelt’s escorts, including the nuclear submarine U.S.S. Boise, a cruiser, several destroyers and frigates, plus the command ship U.S.S. Mount Whitney. The Walrus herself survived the exercise with no damage. Some U.S.N. apologists might counter by saying that the exercise was probably scripted, and the Dutch submarine probably knew exactly where the carrier was, had an unfair advantage, and that in a real war, the submarine would have been easily detected and destroyed. If so, then why would the Dutch submariners, a very professional and well-trained group, take such delight in simply completing a scripted “shoot the fish in a barrel” scenario? Talented and wily enemies, of course, usually don’t play by the rules.
Not to be outdone by the Canadians and Dutch, the Australian submarine force
has also scored many goals against U.S. Navy carriers and nuclear submarines.
On September 24 2003, the Australian newspaper The Age disclosed that Australia’s
Collins class diesel submarines had taught the U.S. Navy a few lessons during
multinational exercises. By the end of the exercises, Australian submarines
had destroyed two U.S. Navy nuclear attack submarines and an aircraft carrier.
According to the article: “‘The Americans were wide-eyed,’
Commodore Deeks (Commander of the R.A.N. Submarine Group) said. ‘They
realized that another navy knows how to operate submarines… They went
away very impressed.’”
However, officially, the U.S. Navy soon went into damage control mode and denied that the Australians could beat a U.S. nuclear boat in a fair fight. Said The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists: “The United States is justly proud of its military prowess, but apparently a little defensive when anyone else shows a bit of talent. Defense Week's ‘Daily Update’ on October 1, 2003, reported that the commander of the U.S. Pacific Fleet was trying to downplay the fact that an Australian diesel-electric submarine had ‘sunk’ an American submarine during recent training exercises, and said the Australians were making too much of the simulated hit. Adm. Walter Doran said that the outcome ‘certainly does not mean that the Collins-class submarine in a one-on-one situation is going to defeat our Los Angeles-class or our nuclear submarines.’" But even if the entire exercise had been completely scripted and the American submarine was “supposed” to be sunk, for training purposes (like damage control), then why did an experienced Australian submariner like Commodore Deeks, an officer in one of the finest, best trained, and most professional navies in the world, make such unsubstantiated statements to the media? Because, like the Japanese at Pearl Harbor, the Australians had actually caught the Americans off guard and unawares. As we will see later, Captain Richard Marcinko, U.S.N., strayed from the rules during exercises in the 1980s, and he achieved incredible results. War, as they say, is not fair, and pre-emptive or surprise attacks have often proven devastatingly effective, as the Israelis demonstrated in 1967.
In October 2002, the Australians also reported that their diesel submarine H.M.A.S. Sheehan had successfully “hunted down and killed” the nuclear submarine U.S.S. Olympia during exercises near Hawaii. The C.O. of the Sheehan observed that the larger U.S.N. nuclear boat’s greater speed was no advantage because “It just means you make more noise when you go faster.” In the previous year, during Operation Tandem Thrust, analyst Derek Woolner set forth that H.M.A.S. Waller sank “two American amphibious assault ships in waters of between 70-80 metres depth, barely more than the length of the submarine itself. The Collins class was described by Vice-Admiral James Metzger, Commander, U.S. Seventh Fleet as 'a very capable and quiet submarine…” Although the Waller was herself sunk during the exercise, the loss of a single diesel submarine, in exchange for two massive amphibious assault ships, is quite a good bargain, and very cost effective.
Finally, during RIMPAC 2000 it was reported that H.M.A.S. Waller had sunk two American nuclear submarines and gotten dangerously close to the carrier U.S.S. Abraham Lincoln. Even more ominous, asserted researcher Maryanne Kelton, is that: “Even though the exercises were planned and the US group knew that Waller was in the designated target area, they were still unable to locate it. New Minister for Defence, Robert Hill, recorded later that the ‘Americans are finding them exceptional boats…in exercises with the Americans they astound the Americans in terms of their capability, their speed, their agility, their loitering capacity, they can do all sorts of things that the American submarines can’t do as well.’”
The Chileans too, have used their diesel submarines to successfully attack U.S. Navy ships during exercises. In 2001, the unusually candid skipper of the nuclear submarine U.S.S. Montpelier (Commander Ron LaSilva, U.S.N.) recounted that a Chilean diesel submarine "Shot him twice during successive exercise runs.” As a result, LaSilva learned that “bigger and nuclear is not always better.” Commander LaSilva should be commended for his courage, for as we shall later in this paper, this kind of honesty is usually not the best policy for U.S.N. officers.
And lastly, in 1998, U.S. News and World Report noted “In two recent exercises with Latin American navies, a Chilean sub managed to evade its U.S. counterparts and ‘sink’ a U.S. ship.” To be more specific, during RIMPAC 1996, the Chilean submarine Simpson was responsible for sinking the carrier U.S.S. Independence (this event was mentioned in the 1997 Discovery Channel TV documentary “Fleet Command.”) U.S. News and World Report also quoted retired U.S. Navy Rear Admiral W. J. Holland, who maintained if the U.S. Navy had to deal with a hostile diesel submarine today, “It would take a month to handle that problem, including two weeks of learning.” In any event, the moral of this naval story is that the U.S. Navy really needs “a healthy dose of humility and caution in future operations.”
Today, the U.S. Navy has no diesel submarine combatants, and this means that although the diesel submarine is a very dangerous threat, the Americans must rely on smaller allies like Canada, Chile, Peru, Columbia, Australia, and others to provide this vital training. This, it can be argued, is a very serious handicap for any blue water navy, much less the world’s largest. Likewise, the U.S. Navy is also very weak in mine countermeasures, and must rely on allies for those capabilities as well.
Not surprisingly, NATO and allied diesel submariners are extremely confident
in their ability to sink American carriers. In his 1984 book The Threat: Inside
the Soviet Military Machine, Andrew Cockburn wryly noted that European submariners
on NATO exercises were far more concerned about colliding with noisy American
nuclear submarines (running fast and therefore, blind) than about being attacked
by American ships. Despite the vast amount of propaganda put out by the U.S.
Navy, well-run diesel submarines are still intrinsically quieter than any nuclear
submarine because they have fewer moving parts. As former Royal Navy submarine
officer Ashley Bennington said in his 1999 response to an article on the Virginia
class submarines: “…You mention that the new Virginia class of nuclear
submarines will easily detect diesel submarines, implying that diesels are noisy.
As a general rule, however, diesel submarines, which use an electric motor that
runs on batteries, are quieter than nuclear-powered subs, which constantly run
Bennington’s sentiments were echoed in late 2004 by Captain Viktor Tokya of the German Navy. Toyka said that conventional submarines, especially those with Air Independent Propulsion, are more difficult to detect than nuclear boats. It seems that Bennington and Tokya rather doubt the farfetched claim from the Office of Naval Intelligence (O.N.I.) that modern U.S.N. nuclear boats have become “just as quiet” as conventional boats in the past ten years. Any startling revelations coming from O.N.I. should be treated with the greatest skepticism because, after all, one of their main jobs during World War II was to broadcast disinformation and propaganda to frighten and demoralize the enemy. In doing so, they greatly exaggerated U.S.N. capabilities, and they do the same today. Former Navy Secretary John Lehman also mentioned that senior U.S. Navy admirals have a tradition of omitting information about the U.S. Navy’s weaknesses and deficiencies during public testimony and, during the 1970s at least, of promoting an “illusion of overall superiority” to Congress. “Admiral Elmo Zumwalt was the first naval leader to break ranks after he left office, and he wrote in his memoirs that ‘none of us thought we had such a capability and all of us were under heavy pressure not to let on’; his public testimony was purged by the Pentagon of references to ‘adequate, marginal or inadequate capability…”
Captain Li Chao-peng of the Taiwanese Navy also concurred that diesel submarines are more cost-effective and are still quieter than any nuclear submarines. His navy has Dutch Zwaardvis diesel submarines and in 2002 he told the Taipei Times: “The only advantage that a nuclear submarine has over a conventionally-powered one is its endurance under the sea…But a diesel-powered sub like ours is much quieter than a nuclear one." He added that the Taiwanese diesel subs can definitely “compete” with nuclear boats. New advances in Air Independent Propulsion, such as fuel cells, will give conventional submarines more endurance, and even greater stealth. The future for nuclear submarines does not look promising.
Since the end of the Cold War, and the demise of the Soviet submarine fleet, the U.S. Navy has admitted that it has not made Anti-Submarine Warfare (A.S.W.) a high priority, especially in shallow water, and it shows. The U.S.N. has announced a new initiative to improve and coordinate A.S.W. tactics, units, training, and equipment, but one should take note that even during the Cold War, the U.S.N. was not the most proficient navy in this specialty, even in deep water. Other forces, such as the Canadian Navy and Air Force, were and are more skilled in most aspects of A.S.W. (in deep or shallow water), despite having old equipment like the Sea King helicopter. In the early 1980s, Canada’s Navy was on the verge of rusting out, yet due to its intensive training and emphasis on A.S.W. excellence, it was still better at hunting submarines than the U.S.N. At the time, a retired British naval officer and Dalhousie University defense analyst told a Halifax newspaper that, “ship-for-ship,” the Canadian Navy’s elderly frigates and destroyers were still “better equipped, better maintained, and better trained” for A.S.W. than U.S.N. surface ships. Today, Canada’s incoming Victoria class diesel submarines, Halifax class frigates (equipped with the Canadian-designed AN/SQR-501 CANTASS towed sonar array system, which is said to be “superior to other similar systems in western navies,” ) the Iroquois class destroyers, and updated CP-140 Aurora patrol aircraft are in many ways better equipped, better designed, more suitable, and better trained for A.S.W. than their American equivalents.
Fortunately, these failures and shortcomings are finally and slowly becoming
public knowledge in the United States, for as the Congressional Budget Office
revealed in 2001: “Some analysts argue that the Navy is not very good
at locating diesel-electric submarines, especially in noisy, shallower waters
near coastal areas. Exercises with allied navies that use diesel-electric submarines
confirm that problem. U.S. antisubmarine units reportedly have had trouble detecting
and countering diesel-electric submarines of South American countries. Israeli
diesel-electric submarines, which until recently were relatively old, are said
to always ‘sink’ some of the large and powerful warships of the
U.S. Sixth Fleet in exercises. And most recently, an Australian Collins class
submarine penetrated a U.S. carrier battle group and was in a position to sink
an aircraft carrier during exercises off Hawaii in May 2000. Thus, if a real
opponent had even one such submarine with a competent commanding officer and
crew, it could dramatically limit the freedom of action of U.S. naval forces
in future conflicts.”
The U.S. Navy’s aircraft carriers have plenty of supporters as well as detractors, and one of their most common defenses is to argue, as former Navy Secretary John Lehman did, “We never lost an aircraft carrier of over thirty thousand tons in World War II.” Quite right, but this argument loses considerable strength when we consider how easily the U.S. Navy might have lost the Battle of Midway in 1942. In his brilliant work “Our Midway Disaster: Japan Springs a Trap, June 4, 1942 ” Professor Theodore F. Cook postulated that had the Japanese been just a little bit more diligent and skeptical about the phony radio reports about Midway’s water problems, there would have been a very high probability that they would have won the ensuing battle. “Given the deadly suddenness of carrier warfare,” he noted, “How easily might it have been the U.S. Navy mourning the loss of three carriers… in exchange for, perhaps, one or two Japanese flattops on June 4, 1942?” Furthermore, he recommended that his readers ponder a rather unpleasant theoretical possibility: “What would have happened if the Japanese had won at Midway? With only one carrier left in the Pacific, how could we have resisted their advance?” One should never forget that the American victory at Midway was far from certain, and has been often been called a “miracle.” Heavily outnumbered, the Americans prevailed, but this was largely due to the gullibility of a few Japanese naval personnel. Had the Americans lost at Midway, the modern day “big carrier” U.S. Navy might have evolved quite differently, to say the least.
One final comment on the diesel submarine versus carrier scenario. In the preceding paragraphs, it was apparent that foreign navies openly and unashamedly boast when one of their submarines “sinks” an American carrier on exercises. They have no problem letting the news media know about their triumphs. With a few courageous and candid exceptions, such as the people quoted in this paper, American nuclear submariners generally do not publicly reveal their own accomplishments against U.S.N. aircraft carriers. If they do, they do it anonymously, usually after they leave the service, or they provide only the sketchiest of details. Why is this so? Former U.S.N. F-14 Radar Intercept Officer Jerry Burns gave a pretty straightforward answer in 2000: because “Anyone who says something is wrong gets thrown out of the Navy.” Also, as Professor Thomas Etzhold pointed out, there is an “unwritten rule” in U.S. Navy exercises: No carrier is ever to be sunk (or even seriously damaged). Obviously, these gag orders only apply to U.S.N. personnel, not to foreign crews. The author of the 1987 book War Games, Thomas B. Allen, described this naval censorship during an interview with the American NPR network in 2003. “The Navy had a kind of unwritten rule: You can't sink an aircraft carrier in a war game. And if you talked to any submariner who had been in either an exercise or a war game, you get a whole story about how many times they really sank aircraft carriers.” In other words, the truth is suppressed for “the good of the service.” We can therefore deduce that the good of the service is the paramount concern in the U.S.N; not the good of the country, and not the good of the taxpayers who bankroll these extravagant, anachronistic leviathans of the sea.
The Russians Mug the Kitty Hawk and the Constellation
These examples provide ample evidence of the vulnerability of U.S. Navy carrier battle groups to attacks from diesel submarines, but of course there are other ways to sink a carrier, as the Russian Air Force knows well. In October 2000, the aircraft carrier U.S.S. Kitty Hawk was “mugged” by Russian SU-24 and Su-27 aircraft, which were not detected until they were virtually on top of the carrier. The Russian aircraft buzzed the carrier’s flight deck and caught the ship completely unprepared. To add insult to injury, the Russians took very detailed photos of the Kitty Hawk’s flight deck, and very courteously, provided the pictures to the American C.O. via e-mail. In a story in the December 7, 2000 edition of WorldNetDaily, one U.S. sailor exclaimed, “The entire crew watched overhead as the Russians made a mockery of our feeble attempt of intercepting them.” Russia’s air force is now only a faint shadow of what it once was, but even now, they can demonstrate that they can, if necessary, do significant damage to the U.S. Navy. It’s little wonder then that a Russian newspaper gloated that “If these had been planes on a war mission, the aircraft carrier would definitely have been sunk.”
Perhaps they are right. As Howard Bloom and Dianne Star Petryk-Bloom advised in 2003, both the Russians and Chinese now have the deadly SS-N-22 Sunburn missile at their disposal. This massive long-range missile, equipped with nuclear or conventional warheads, is extremely difficult to detect or destroy. According to Jane’s Information Group, it is more than capable of destroying any U.S. Navy aircraft carrier. Some would say that this example is not valid because in a real war, the carrier and her escorts would have been more careful, and at a higher level of readiness. Indeed yes, but what if this mock attack had been the opening shot in an unexpected war? In that case, the U.S. Navy probably would have lost one multi-billion dollar carrier and probably some of its escorts on the very first day. Multiple coordinated surprise attacks by aircraft, cruise missiles and diesel submarines could quickly emasculate many of the U.S. Navy’s carrier battle groups.
A Navy spokesman said that the Kitty Hawk had not been surprised, that they
knew the Russian planes were not going to attack, and that the Russian aircraft
were tracked almost from the moment they took off. In other words, “We
were on top of things, no need to intercept, and certainly no reason for alarm.”
When the Russians over flew the Kitty Hawk, the carrier was “in the process
of refueling and therefore was not going fast enough at the moment of the refueling
to launch planes.” It took 40 minutes for the first American aircraft
to be launched, and the Russian Air Force was delighted with the results: “’For
the Americans, our planes were a complete surprise,' said Gen. Anatoly M. Kornukov,
the Russian air force's commander in chief. ‘In the pictures, you can
clearly see the panic on deck.’'' This episode sounds somewhat like what
happened to the Japanese Navy at the Battle of Midway, where its aircraft carriers
were caught off guard and attacked while their planes were being rearmed.
Those who say this happened only because the carrier was not in a high state of readiness at the time, and because the Russians were expected and tracked anyway, are clearly missing the entire point. Firstly, enemies often attack during periods of low readiness. Secondly, if the crew of the Kitty Hawk really knew of the impending Russian visit, why did the Russian photos apparently depict a mass panic on the flight deck, and why did the U.S. Navy decline to release the photos? If the crew had truly not been surprised, the photos of the flight deck should surely reveal this, and clear the U.S. Navy. If there had been some classified equipment or activity depicted in the Russian photos, surely the Pentagon could have censored the photos as required, then released them to show the world a crew at sea going about routine business.
Why also did the Kitty Hawk, 40 minutes later, finally launch aircraft to intercept the Russian planes that had already flown over, but did no physical harm to the ship? Why was it necessary to belatedly intercept the Russians if the U.S. Navy was so confident that the Russians were no threat? And why did the Washington Times impart that the “Kitty Hawk commanders were so unnerved by the aerial penetration they rotated squadrons on 24-hour alert and had planes routinely meet or intercept various aircraft?” Because in asymmetrical warfare, the very concept is to strike when the larger, more powerful enemy is least prepared. This is what the Japanese did when they attacked Pearl Harbor in the early morning hours on a Sunday. This is why the 1968 Tet holiday offensive was launched when the Army of the Republic of Vietnam was in a low state of readiness. But then, perhaps it would have been more sporting of the Russians to have called in first before launching their mock attack.
It goes without saying that Soviet/Russian submarines have a long tradition of tracking and stalking U.S. Navy carriers, especially during the Cold War. The Soviets maintained a huge force of both nuclear and diesel submarines, and it seems that both types were able to close with U.S. Navy carrier battle groups. In 1997, to name just one example, a Russian nuclear submarine got uncomfortably close to the carrier U.S.S. Constellation during a Pacific cruise. So close, in fact, that an anonymous U.S. Navy source “concluded later than the submarine would have sunk the Constellation near Seattle if there had been a conflict.” No doubt the official wanted to remain anonymous to protect his career, as it is well known that the U.S. Navy goes to great lengths to officially deny that anyone or anything can even damage one of their aircraft carriers (as mentioned earlier). Nonetheless, one might expect that the Russians too have many high quality periscope photos of American ships taken by surprise from very close range.
The Chinese Know Thy Potential Enemy
The Chinese too have a strong interest in neutralizing American aircraft carriers, and in his 2000 book China Debates the Future Security Environment, Michael Pillsbury demonstrated that the Chinese have completed detailed studies of the vulnerabilities of U.S. Navy carriers. He documented that the Chinese have noted the following possible weaknesses: lack of stealth due to the large number of radar reflections plus infrared and electromagnetic signatures, all of which make the carrier “very difficult to effectively conceal,” flight restrictions during bad weather, the inability to safely operate in shallow waters, decreased readiness during regular at-sea replenishments, poor A.S.W. and mine countermeasures capabilities, and the structural vulnerabilities of catapults, elevators, and arresting gear. Sun Tzu put it best when he said “Know thy enemy and know thy self and you will win a hundred battles.” It seems the Chinese have taken Sun Tzu’s advice to heart when it comes to their potential rivals.
One would think that the U.S. Navy would spare no expense to protect its bases, especially those in which their nuclear submarines, both attack and missile boats, are stationed. One would think that effective, vigilant, round-the-clock, air-tight, multi-tiered security would shroud an installation in which Trident missile submarines are based. One would think that the security around these nuclear missile-launching platforms would be almost impregnable. But if one also thinks that strong security measures were the norm in the U.S. Navy during (and after) the Cold War, one should think again.
In June, 2001, Lieutenant Commander Jack Daly, U.S.N., told the audience of a radio broadcast called Judicial Watch that U.S.N. nuclear submarine and aircraft carrier bases were becoming increasingly vulnerable to attack due to lax security measures. He cited an incident in April, 1997, in which a Russian spy ship reportedly used a laser to attack a helicopter in the Strait of Juan de Fuca, near two U.S.N. bases. Daly and his Canadian Air Force pilot suffered permanent eye damage because of the attack, and Daly said it was now routine for Russian spy ships to go snooping around the U.S.N. bases at Bremerton and Everett, Washington. He also propounded that the spy ship that attacked his helicopter had “come to within 1,000 yards of the nuclear-missile-armed U.S.S. Ohio.” The reason why the Russians had gotten so bold, he argued, was that the U.S. Navy had grown complacent and unconcerned about espionage and security. With the end of the Cold War, he said, the U.S.N. had basically let its guard down.
However, it must be pointed out that even during the Cold War, security at U.S.N. bases was often very poor. Probably the most qualified man to speak on this issue is a former U.S.N. senior officer, Captain Richard Marcinko. In the 1980s, during the watch of C.N.O. Admiral James Watkins, U.S.N., Marcinko and his SEAL Team Six were assigned to test security at major U.S.N. bases, and the results of his simulated terrorist raids were very disturbing. His team infiltrated the New London Naval Base, where nuclear submarines, including missile boats, are based. Marcinko’s team had little difficulty infiltrating the base, and it made a mockery of the base security forces. In his own words: “I rented a small plane, and Horseface flew us under the I-95 bridge, wetting our wheels in the Thames as we swooped low. We buzzed the sub pens. No one waved us off. We rented a boat and flew the Soviet flag on its stern, then chugged past the base while we openly taped video of the subs in their dry docks, capturing classified details of their construction elements. The dry docks were exposed and unprotected – if we’d decided to ram one of the subs, nothing stood in our way.”
Marcinko’s team did far worse during his visit to New London. His men infiltrated the sub pens, and thereby proceeded to wreak havoc on the submarines therein. “First, they found the sentries – who were secure in their shacks drinking coffee – and silenced them. Then, they concealed explosives behind the diving planes of one nuclear sub. They boarded another Boomer sub and placed demolition charges in the control room, in the nuclear-reactor compartment, and in the torpedo room.” They were challenged by base personnel, but explained that they were just doing maintenance, and amazingly, they were never asked to identify themselves. Marcinko later briefed a very unhappy admiral and boasted “I blew up two of your nuclear subs, and if I’d wanted to, I could have blown ‘em all up.” To be fair, the U.S. Navy is now taking security much more seriously, but only as a result of the attack on the U.S.S. Cole and the September 11th attacks. Despite the lessons taught by Captain Marcinko and his SEALS in the 1980s, little was done to improve security in the interim. Apparently the U.S. Navy prefers to learn its lessons, when it does actually learn, the hard way.
A Few Realistic Men
“My own experience (in war games) is that I never have any problem getting a carrier…those fleets are going to get ground into peanut butter in a war.”
– Anonymous U.S.N submarine commander on how easy it is to find and sink a U.S.N. aircraft carrier.
“One enemy diesel submarine lucky enough to get one torpedo hit on a
CVN (nuclear powered aircraft carrier) or an AEGIS cruiser could easily turn
US resolve and have a huge impact on a conflict… the challenge of finding
and destroying a diesel submarine in littoral waters can be nearly impossible…
In general…a diesel submarine operating on battery power is quieter, slower,
and operating more shallow than a nuclear submarine.”
- Lieutenant Commander Christopher J. Kelly, U.S.N.
Earlier, I discussed how easy it is for foreign diesel submarines and air forces to attack U.S.N. carriers. But it’s not just the Russians, Chinese, Canadians, Chileans, Dutch and Australians who think the U.S. Navy’s carrier battle groups are overrated, expensive and extremely vulnerable. Admiral Hyman Rickover himself didn’t think much of his own carrier-centered Navy, either. When asked in 1982 about how long the American carriers would survive in an actual war, he curtly replied that they would be finished in approximately 48 hours. The well-known and atypically out-spoken American retired submarine commander, Captain John L. Byron, also intimated in the early 1980s that even noisy American nuclear submarines had little difficulty operating against U.S. Navy carriers. “Operating against a carrier is too easy,” he quipped. “The carrier’s ASW protection often resembles Swiss cheese.” Another former U.S. Navy officer and columnist, the late Scott Shuger, said pretty much the same thing in 1989: “I’ve seen enough photos of American carriers through periscope crosshairs – most sub crew offices feature one – to become a believer. Despite all the antisubmarine warfare (A.S.W.) equipment that carrier groups take with them to sea, in my own experience most exercises against subs ended up with my carrier getting a green flare at close quarters, the standard simulation for a successful torpedo or cruise missile attack.” Former C.I.A. director Admiral Stansfield Turner, U.S.N. (ret.) has also complained that the U.S. Navy’s continuing policy of building and deploying “big, over-powered aircraft carriers” is “ill-advised.”
Another senior American officer who might agree with Rickover, Turner, Byron and Shuger is retired U.S. Marine Corps Lieutenant General Paul Van Riper. In Exercise Millennium Challenge (2002), Van Riper, playing the role of Saddam Hussein, used small boats to destroy 16 U.S. Navy ships, including an aircraft carrier and two helicopter carriers, in the Persian Gulf. As usual, the U.S. Navy was not pleased with this successful attack against its most powerful ships, and so it stopped the exercise, “reactivated” the dead ships and continued as though nothing had happened. “‘A phrase I heard over and over was, ‘That would never have happened,’ Van Riper recalls. And I said ‘Nobody would have thought that anyone would fly an airliner into the World Trade Centre’… but nobody seemed interested.’” Sadly, this kind of official denial is standard operating procedure in the U.S. Navy. Consider also the American submarine commander who once said that, during war games, he “put six torpedoes into a carrier, and I was commended – for reducing the carrier’s efficiency by 2 percent.” The battleship admirals did the same thing when they ran the U.S.N., and we all know what happened to the battleship.
Many of the criticisms of the carrier-centered navy come from U.S. Army officers who see the U.S.N. as a rival more than as a partner in national defense. One might dismiss army criticisms of the U.S.N. as merely parochial slander, but some army critics make good sense. Lieutenant Colonel Douglas Macgregor, U.S. Army, made a number of convincing arguments in his ground-breaking book, Breaking the Phalanx. Macgregor is a vocal critic of U.S. military strategy, and his criticisms are not restricted to the U.S. Army. He argued that with the U.S. Navy’s new focus on littoral warfare, the big carrier navy is in even more danger now than during its days as a high seas fleet designed to face the Soviet Union. The fact that U.S.N. aircraft carriers are so big, and so much firepower is concentrated on them, makes them attractive and worthy targets for weapons of mass destruction in littoral waters: “The concentration of several thousand sailors, airmen, and Marines in an amphibious or Nimitz-class aircraft carrier risks single point failure in future warfighting.” Also, as the quality and availability of cruise missiles increase, so do the chances of a successful attack on carrier battle groups: “The survivability of large carriers and amphibious ships depends on antiship missile defenses, which must perform perfectly within a few seconds of a missile alert. In both cases, very expensive platforms can be destroyed by relatively inexpensive weapons…” (emphasis added).
Former U.S.N. officer (and submariner) Dr. Robert Williscroft said in September 2004 that there are several possible nightmare scenarios that face the modern U.S. Navy, and they most certainly will involve quiet diesel submarines: “The bad guys can station one of the new ultra-quiet AIP subs at a choke point, and seriously damage or even sink a carrier. An AIP sub can sneak up on a Virginia class (nuclear submarine) deploying a Seal team with devastating results. A hunter-killer pack of several AIP subs can take out any nuke we have, once they find it.” Macgregor also noted that at a cost of approximately $4 billion for construction alone, the loss of even one Nimitz-class carrier would be morally and financially devastating. The loss of one or more of the $2 billion Virginia-class nuclear submarines would also be a tremendous burden on the United States Treasury.
This isn’t “Top Gun”
As we’ve seen, U.S. carriers are remarkably vulnerable to attacks by submarines and aircraft, but what about the much-vaunted American naval aviators? How would the U.S.N. pilots fare in a dogfight with a well-trained enemy? The evidence is not encouraging. Canadian pilots routinely outperform U.S.N. aircrews in exercises, and have done so for many years. During the days of Royal Canadian Navy carrier aviation it was well known that the pocket carrier H.M.C.S. Bonaventure, which had just one catapult, could put more planes in the air than much larger U.S.N. A.S.W. carriers of the Essex class. Furthermore, although the little Bonaventure (which displaced only about 16,000 tons) operated R.C.N. Banshee jet fighters for years, U.S.N. Banshee pilots did not wish to risk a landing on a smaller carrier. One author put it this way: “In joint RCN-USN exercises, aircraft from both fleets regularly landed on the other's carriers. However, the American Banshee pilots straight-out refused to attempt a landing on Bonaventure. The task was becoming so routine for the Canadian pilots that they were doing it before sunrise.”
U.S. Naval aviators pride themselves as being supposedly far better than any
air force pilots, but one merely has to look at the Canadian, Israeli and Chilean
air forces to cast doubt on that assumption. In the early 1980s it was revealed
that the average pilot in the Canadian Air Force flew about 300 hours a year,
whereas his U.S. Navy counterpart flew only about 160 hours annually. Although
the Canadian pilots fly fewer hours these days, they can still hold more than
their own with U.S.N. pilots. Since the late 1990s, Canada’s new military
pilot training center has established a new standard of excellence, and is recognized
internationally as having the most advanced pilot training regimen in the world.
The official Canadian Air Force Web site makes it clear that Canada’s
pilot training system is far ahead of the U.S. Navy: “To date, Canada
has sold more than $1-billion in training to pilots from Britain, Italy, Denmark,
Singapore and Hungary since the inception of NFTC training in 1999. Using the
most advanced and effective integrated pilot training system at the most modern
training facilities currently available in the world, Canada has become the
benchmark in military pilot training. ‘We have the leading edge, most
advanced technology for pilot training in the world. It is well ahead of everyone,
Britain, the United States, everyone. It is the model for other countries so
we are very proud of that,’” said Lieutenant-Colonel Brian Houlgate,
Director of the Canadian Aerospace Training Project.
Canadian fighter pilots, in particular, receive certain training benefits that are simply not readily available to many U.S. Navy aviators most of the year, simply because Canada has huge, under populated areas that are ideal for flight training. U.S. Naval aviators at bases such as Oceana Naval Air Station (the largest U.S.N. fighter base on the east coast) must deal with massive military and civilian air traffic congestion, plus the close proximity of civilian living areas, and thus, very limited air space. As a result, according to journalist Jack Dorsey, their training, particularly at low levels, suffers because of safety and noise concerns. Canadian pilots training at Cold Lake, Alberta, Canada’s largest fighter base, have far fewer restrictions due to the base’s relative isolation and huge 4,000 square mile air weapons range. That is one reason why many U.S.N. pilots covet the opportunity to fly at the Canadian base during the annual Maple Flag air combat exercises. But it is not just the vast air space that attracts the interest of U.S.N. pilots. The new Canadian air combat training system now in place at Cold Lake “is the first system of its kind” to integrate a “rangeless” Air Combat Maneuvering Instrumentation system (ACMI) “with an electronic warfare system - the Surface Threat Electronic Warfare (STEW) system, which simulates surface-to-air and other ground-to-air threats.” “Together, these systems make up the most modern training system in the world today,” said Keith Shein of Cubic Corporation in June, 2004. “The combination of these two training systems enables pilots to realistically view their performance and tactics on each mission.” Better training makes better pilots.
Like the Canadians, The Israeli Air Force, also one of the most professional in the world, has outshined the U.S. Navy, and they have done so even with less capable aircraft. A joint U.S.N.-I.A.F. air combat exercise in 1999 underlines and highlights the thesis that the U.S. Navy is overrated. On September 14, 1999, The Jerusalem Post announced that the Israelis soundly dispatched the air wing from the U.S.S. Theodore Roosevelt (which, incidentally, was the same carrier the Dutch destroyed in 1999). Israeli F-16s squared off against American F-14s and F-18s, both of which are said to be more capable than the F-16. The final results were astonishing. The Israelis shot down a whopping 220 U.S. aircraft while losing only 20 themselves. The 10:1 kill ratio was so embarrassing that the results were not “officially published ‘to save the reputations of the U.S. Navy pilots.’” The magazine article on which the article was based, however, reported the kill ratio to be about 20:1.
Some dispute these figures, and claim that the Israelis had an “unfair advantage,” and did not include American victories from “stand-off missile hits.” But, as The Washington Times reported on September 15, 2000, an official investigation by Vice Admiral Lee F. Gunn, U.S.N., confirmed “Navy pilots were thoroughly beaten in an exercise against Israeli fliers. ‘An air wing commander was proud the Israelis only achieved a 6-to-1 kill ratio during simulated air-to-air combat maneuvers against a carrier air wing during a recent exercise, instead of the 20-to-1 kill ratio initially claimed.’”
Other former navy officers agree that U.S. Naval aviation has been sub-par for a number of years. In the February 2000 edition of WorldNetDaily, former F-14 radar intercept officer Jerry Burns said “We are a much less effective force than we were seven or eight years ago.” “At the start of the Kosovo conflict, says Burns, who at the time was stationed at the Strike Weapons Tactics School in Virginia Beach, U.S. Navy pilots hadn't been trained in using laser-guided weapons. ‘That's why we had such high miss rates in the opening phases of the war. We had to dispatch someone [to tutor pilots] in laser-guided bomb delivery techniques.’ Burns, who retired in 1999, says that when he last served on the Eisenhower in the Mediterranean, the carrier was ‘undermanned’ by 450 to 500 sailors. ‘They didn't have enough people to keep the [approach] radar fully manned at all times.’ If the weather closed in, he adds, someone would have to be sent down to the bunkroom to wake up a radar operator. ‘The Navy says operations are safe. But they aren't safe. Planes were running out of gas and they couldn't come on board.’ Flight training hours have been cut back so much, says Burns, that the last time his carrier fighter squadron went on deployment, its aviators were only getting 10 to 15 hours a month.”
Chile is not a great military power, but its air force is well trained, and they too have given the U.S. Navy reason for pause. In the August 1989 issue of Air Combat magazine, author Jeffrey Ethell reported that Chilean Air Force pilots, flying the relatively unsophisticated but nimble F-5, had trounced an American carrier air group from the U.S.S. Independence in air combat exercises. The kill ratio was 56:16 in favor of the Chileans, and as one might expect, this incident did not receive much press coverage in the United States.
An Australian colleague recently informed me of an amusing incident between a Royal Australian Air Force (R.A.A.F.) P-3C Orion and a U.S.N. aircraft carrier, and it is definitely worth mentioning. In the words of retired Squadron Leader J.R. Sampson, R.A.A.F.: “When I was an R.A.A.F. liaison/briefing officer enroute from Diego to Perth for R&R sometime in 1981/82, I dined in the (American) admiral's suite and the admiral gave me a copy of a message that censured an air wing commander for allowing an R.A.A.F. P-3C to get in undetected amongst the C.V.B.G. (Carrier Battle Group) screen a few days earlier. According to the message the commander himself was in an F-14 cockpit checking out the T.C.S. (Television Camera Set) that had just been installed as a new piece of F-14 kit. T.C.S enables long-range visual identification of targets. He was adjusting the FOV (Field of View) when he saw a P-3 swim across his screen, right on the carrier's bow at about 300 feet above sea level. He'd just come from C.I.C. (Combat Information Center) and knew that no cooperating P-3's were due so he queried the FLYCO who queried the C.I.C. who asked the on station E-2C. They didn't even have the capability to launch an F-14 intercept. Very embarrassing but the admiral gave me a copy of the message to take back to headquarters…” Embarrassing yes, and it proves that an enemy doesn’t even need speedy jet fighters to get through a U.S.N. battle group’s defenses. A large and relatively slow turbo prop aircraft like the P-3 can do it just as well.
Lack of Training
Despite its vastly superior numbers, resources and weapons, the U.S. Navy, the world’s only true heavyweight navy, continually fails to vanquish welterweight and lightweight naval powers. This would indicate that training and good officers, not big, expensive ships, are the key to naval power. It is training, or lack thereof, that truly undermines the performance of the U.S. Navy. For example, even though the U.S. Navy maintains the largest submarine fleet in the world (because the Russian fleet is mostly tied up at dockside), their submariners do not currently receive escape training. The Canadian submarine force has only 4 boats, and yet it has the most advanced submarine escape training facility in the world.
The U.S. Navy opines that its officers and crews are the most professional in the world, yet media reports have indicated a startling number of U.S. Navy ship commanders have been fired or suspended in recent years, including the captain of the carrier John F. Kennedy, whose ship collided with a small dhow in the Persian Gulf in 2004. One should also recall the attack on the U.S.S. Stark and the shoddy damage control procedures used by her crew, the accidental and inexcusable attack on an Iranian airliner by the U.S.S. Vincennes, and the more recent collision between the nuclear submarine U.S.S. Greeneville and a Japanese vessel. When the Japanese government found out that untrained civilian guests were actually at the controls of the Greenville before the collision, they were most undiplomatic. “It is outrageous. The US Navy is slack,” said the Japanese Defence Agency Chief Toshitsugu Saito in response. Paul Beaver, Military Editor at Jane’s Defence Weekly, told National Public Radio’s Lisa Simeone in 2001 that the U.S. Navy is quite probably the only navy in the world that has a “civilian ride-along program”. Although civilians can visit British and Canadian warships, for example, they may only do so when the ships are at dockside, and they must leave the ships before they get underway. He added that Britain’s Royal Navy would never even consider such a ride-along program because of the inherent risks involved.
Regarding the Vincennes incident, former Chicago Tribune military correspondent Lt. Col. David Evans, U.S.M.C. retired, said it was "An operationally inept tragedy that caused the loss of 290 civilians, when the skipper had electronic (transponder) evidence that the 'target' was not an Iranian F-14 but a commercial airliner, not to mention that the captain was in Iranian territorial waters, where he had no business being since he was not under attack. Many U.S. Navy officers feared this sort of thing could happen, calling their apprehension a case of 'Aegis arrogance.'" If U.S. Navy officers and crews are really the best, at the very least, many of them appear to suffer from a lot of bad luck, or bad policies, or just poor judgment.
In addition to training deficiencies, in recent years there has also been compelling evidence of serious morale problems among U.S.N. junior officers. “In the fall of 1999,” reported Jack Spencer of the Heritage Foundation, “the Navy surveyed its junior officers to gauge morale. They expected a 15 percent response rate, but, to their surprise, over 55 percent of those surveyed responded. Of these responses, 82 percent responded negatively. Citing poor leadership, inadequate pay and compensation, and insufficient spare parts and equipment, only one-third said they planned to reenlist.” Notice that the primary reason listed for low morale is “poor leadership,” which, one might suspect, is a nice way of saying “bad senior officers and bad politicians, in that order.”
The U.S. Navy also boasts that its Blue Angels flight and maintenance teams are the world’s best, but when one examines their bloated, overly specialized maintenance team, one really has to wonder. The Blue Angels perform with only six F-18 jets, whereas the Canadian Snowbirds fly nine Tutors, which are much older. The Canadian team flies more airplanes, but has a much smaller maintenance team. The Blue Angels have approximately 100 technicians, but the Snowbirds have only about ten. American technicians are very specialized, and as a result they need lots of them to do the same job that just one Canadian technician can do. This does not sound like an efficient or cost-effective arrangement, to say the least.
A 2002 study by the RAND Corporation confirmed that U.S. Navy training in fighters, A.S.W. aircraft and surface ship A.S.W. also does not compare favorably with the training received by members of the French Navy and the British Royal Navy and Royal Air Force. The study compared the training of U.S.N. F-18 pilots with R.A.F. Tornado pilots and French Navy Super Etendard aviators, and found that “The British and French pilots have greater experience levels and more continuity in their units than the U.S. pilots.” The study also compared U.S.N. P-3 Orion crews and DDG-51 destroyer crews with their French and British A.S.W. counterparts and concluded once again that the American A.S.W. crews were, on average, the least experienced and the least cohesive. The French and British units were more cohesive and provided greater continuity because “While the typical career pattern for U.S. Navy officers takes them away from the operational ship world to various headquarters and staff assignments, French and British naval officers may stay in the operational community throughout their careers.” In addition, “Enlisted sailors in the French and British navies have longer initial service commitments than those of U.S. Navy sailors.”
The RAND study also observed that unlike the British and the French forces, U.S. Navy aviation units do not maintain consistent readiness to go into battle throughout the fiscal year. As Scott Shuger said, “Amazingly, it’s not uncommon for navy squadrons to cut back their flight hours drastically or even to be grounded due to the scarcity of aviation fuel near the end of the fiscal quarter. This even happens to squadrons already at sea. Several times during my carrier service we had to drop anchor and wait for more fuel money.” This inconsistent readiness is due to the U.S. Navy’s rigid deployment cycle system and its “training philosophy”. The authors concluded that this “readiness bathtub” has “caused concern at the Chief of Naval Operations (CNO) level.” The French and British do not have this problem because they do not use “fixed deployment and training cycles” and also because they strive to have their air units consistently ready for combat at all times of the year.
What Tom Clancy Doesn’t Know…
Through his many best-selling books and movies, author Tom Clancy has created a crisp, sharp, spit-polished, efficient, and patriotic image for the U.S. Navy. Some think he should be a paid Public Relations consultant or recruiter for the U.S. submarine force. It may come as a shock to some of his readers, however, that the American sailors in his books are too good to be true, and that even some American submariners admit their training is not very good. Several recent books have effectively stripped off much of the shiny Hollywood polish on the American submarine force, most notably former Petty Officer Andrew Karam’s account of life on the U.S.S. Plunger, Rig Ship for Ultra Quiet (2002), and Douglas C. Waller’s Big Red (2001). Both authors (Karam served on the submarine U.S.S. Plunger) made it known that there is a lot of hype regarding U.S. submarine training, but the reality is much less impressive. As for the legendary assertion that all U.S. submariners are experts on “every system” in their boats, one sailor told Waller that was “All bunk.” Waller explained that “The (submariner’s) qualification only made you familiar with the rest of the boat. It didn’t mean you could actually run other parts. If (the sailor) and the other missile techs suddenly died, those nukes in the back wouldn’t have a clue how to fire these rockets.” Former Petty Officer Karam, an Engineering Laboratory Technician, concurred, and acknowledged that he could only work on other systems “in a pinch”. He continued “The Plunger, and, for that matter, any nuke boat, was sufficiently complex that one person simply could not learn everything to that level of detail in the 14 months we were given to qualify. Not if they were doing their own jobs, too.”
British allies, of course, have long ridiculed American submariners for spending too much time and effort learning about nuclear reactors. Surprisingly, Waller wrote that some U.S. Navy officers quietly agree. The Drill Coordinator on the U.S.S. Nebraska, Lieutenant Brent Kinman, U.S.N., told Waller that American submariners talk too much about the reactor, like mechanics, and not enough about how to fight the ship effectively: “That was the problem with today’s submariners, Kinman thought. They were technicians rather than warriors. The average lieutenant riding these boats considered himself a nuclear engineer first and a submarine officer second. ‘It almost feels like we’re out there just driving the reactor around…’” This overemphasis on engineering might explain why diesel submarines are so often triumphant against U.S.N. nuclear submarines during exercises.
The U.S. Navy is the largest navy in the world, and on paper, certainly the most powerful. It is also unmistakably the most expensive navy the world has ever seen. Of that there is no doubt. With the Russian Navy all but gone, and the Chinese Navy still ascending, the American navy remains the dominant sea power in the world. Yet, as we have seen here, this heavyweight navy often has great difficulty handling the little guys. Indeed, if the U.S. Navy were a boxer, one might say that his dominance is due mostly to his sheer size because he punches well below his massive weight. In this era of asymmetrical warfare, of David versus Goliath conflicts, perhaps it is time for America to rethink its naval strategy, lose some weight, and as sports announcers say, “focus more on the fundamentals.” For all the money America spends on its huge navy, it really needs to be much better.
Roger Thompson is Professor of Military Studies at Knightsbridge University and a Fellow of the Inter-University Seminar on Armed Forces and Society. His book Brown Shoes, Black Shoes, and Felt Slippers: Parochialism and the Evolution of the Post-War U.S. Navy was published by the U.S. Naval War College in 1995, and endorsed by the former CNO, the Late Admiral Elmo R. Zumwalt, Jr., U.S.N.
The author would like to thank Lieutenant Colonel David Evans, U.S.M.C., Retired (former Military Correspondent for the Chicago Tribune), Henrik Fyrst Kristensen, and Dr. Emilio Meneses (who provided me with much information on exercises between the Chilean Air Force/Navy and the U.S.N.), for their comments and constructive criticisms of earlier versions of this paper.
U.S.N. Ships Theoretically Destroyed or Incapacitated in Exercises as reported by the Media since 1981
Ship Type Date Attacker
U.S.S. America Aircraft carrier 1981 Canadian submarine
U.S.S. Forrestal (?) Aircraft carrier 1981 Submarine
U.S.S. Constellation Aircraft carrier 1997 Russian submarine
U.S.S. Theodore Roosevelt Aircraft carrier 1999 Dutch submarine
U.S.S. Kitty Hawk Aircraft carrier 2000 Russian Air Force
U.S.S. Abraham Lincoln Aircraft carrier 2000 Australian submarine
U.S.S. Independence Aircraft carrier 1996 Chilean submarine
U.S.S. Boise Nuclear submarine 1999 Dutch submarine
U.S.S. Olympia Nuclear submarine 2002 Australian submarine
U.S.S. Montpelier Nuclear submarine 2001 Chilean submarine
U.S.S. City of Corpus Christi Nuclear Submarine 2003 Australian submarine
U.S.S. Mount Whitney Command ship 1999 Dutch submarine
Note: This table is based on publicly available English media sources such as newspapers, magazines, books, journals and broadcast media. Only ships that have been named have been included. There have been many others, but unfortunately these ships were not specifically named in the reports.
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Kelly, Christopher J. “The Submarine Force in Joint Operations.” Unpublished Research Report AU/ASCS/145-1998-04. (Maxwell Air Force Base: Air Command and Staff College, April 1998). Pp. 20-21.
Kick, Russ (ed.) Everything You Know is Wrong (New York: The Disinformation Company, 2003). Pp. 221-222.
Lehman, John. Command of the Seas. (New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1988). Pp. 117, 282.
Macgregor, Douglas A. Breaking the Phalanx. (Westport: Praeger, 1997, pp. 127, 137, 204-205.
Marcinko, Richard, and Weisman, John. Rogue Warrior. (New York: Pocket Books,
1992). Pp. 338, 340-341.
Pillsbury, Michael. China Debates the Future Security Environment (online version). (Washington, D.C.: National Defense Univ. Press, 2000).
Robinson, Patrick. Kilo Class (New York: HarperPaperbacks, 1998). Pp. 508-512.
Robinson, Patrick. Nimitz Class (New York: HarperTorch, 1998).
Schank, John F. et al. Finding the Right Balance: Simulator and Live Training for Navy Units. (The Rand Corporation, 2002). Pp. 21 –37.
Snowie, Alan J. The Bonnie: HMCS Bonaventure. (Richmond Hill: Firefly Books, 1987.) This book provides detailed information on the successes of the Bonaventure and her ability to outperform U.S.N. Essex class A.S.W. carriers.
Spencer, Jack. The Facts About Military Readiness (Backgrounder No. 1394). (Washington: The Heritage Foundation, September 15, 1999). Pp. 11-12.
Stubbing, Richard A., and Mendel, Richard A. The Defense Game. (New York: Harper & Row, 1986). Pp. 118 and 122.
Waller, Douglas C. Big Red: The Three Month Voyage of a Trident Nuclear Submarine. (New York: HarperTorch, 2001). Pp. 87 and 318.
Woolner, Derek. Getting in Early: Lessons of the Collins Submarine Program for Improved Oversight of Defence Procurement. Research Paper, No. 3 2002-02, Department of the Parliamentary Library, Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Group, 18 September 2001. P.22
A great site that describes the achievements of Canada’s last aircraft carrier. Well researched and thoroughly documented. Very professional in all respects.
An excellent site maintained by Dutch submariners. It has extensive entries on Dutch successes against U.S.N. carriers and some startling periscope photos as well.
Interview: “Paul Beaver Discusses the U.S. Navy’s Public Relations Program compared with Others around the World,” on NPR Weekend Edition – Sunday with Lisa Simeone. 2/17/2001. HighBeam Research (accessed September, 2004).
Interview with Thomas B. Allen on “Talk of the Nation” with Neal Conan on NPR, 1/8/2003. HighBeam Research (accessed September, 2004).
TV and VHS Documentaries
Investigative Reports (with Bill Kurtis). “Seven Minutes that Stunned the Navy.” A & E Entertainment, 2000.
Investigative Reports (with Bill Kurtis). “Out of the Gulf, Into the
New Navy.” A & E Entertainment, 2000.
Discovery Channel Documentary. “Fleet Command.” December 1997.
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