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Sea Basing Key Element of Navy 2020

By K.L. Vantran
American Forces Press Service

ANNAPOLIS, Md., April 1, 2004 – The Navy of 2020 will have unmanned underwater reconnaissance vehicles, the service's deputy chief of naval operations for resources, requirements and assessments, said here March 31.

"Our weapons systems and ability to communicate are far better than they've ever been," Vice Adm. J. Cutler Dawson Jr. told attendees of the Annapolis Naval History Symposium at the U.S. Naval Academy.

The Navy of 2020 also will have "distributed systems that lay in parts of the ocean that can deny access to an enemy and rapidly kill him if he goes into those areas," said the academy graduate.

The service, he added, has transformed from a "blue-water" Navy that was to defeat the Soviets at sea during the Cold War to a force that will sea-based.

Sea basing has three critical elements: access, speed and reduced footprint, said Dawson.

Dawson talked about the deployment of the 2nd Fleet flagship, the USS Mount Whitney, that provided sea-based support to Marines in Djibouti at the Horn of Africa.

"Why did we do that?" he asked. "Because access was not assured, and even when we did have access, it was so immature that the investment to get ashore took time and money."

In planning the future force, the admiral said the Navy considers five elements. "We look at the most likely combat operations and possible rules of engagement," said Dawson. "We look at bases and access, which has recently been greatly influenced by denial of access to Turkey. We look at potential systems and we try to input the performance that we expect from those systems, and finally, we look at joint and coalition (operations)."

Planners also think about how many personnel uniformed, civilians and contractors will be needed in 2020, he said.

"We look at the development of personnel and ask, 'What will they need?'" he added.

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Vice Adm. J. Cutler Dawson Jr.

Related Sites:
2nd Fleet
USS Mount Whitney
U.S. Naval Academy

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