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Breaking Defense

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Adm. Peter Fanta

Invisible Bullets: The Navy’s Big Problem In Future War

Posted by Sydney J. Freedberg Jr. on


WASHINGTON: In the brutal naval battles of the future, the first clash of arms will be a clash of electrons. If you don’t win the invisible battle of the airwaves, you can’t win the visible battle of missiles. Before warships can concentrate their fire on the enemy, they first must communicate with each other. Before they… Keep reading →

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LCS Can Too Fight Russia, China: Navy Leaders

Posted by Sydney J. Freedberg Jr. on


WASHINGTON: Is the Littoral Combat Ship a real warship? That question has bedeviled the small, sleek, lightly armed ships for years. Now it’s taken on new urgency as the Defense Department and the Navy both refocus on high-intensity, high-tech warfighting against “great powers” — i.e. China and Russia. Defense Secretary Ash Carter wants to cut… Keep reading →

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Navy’s Dilemma: What Kind Of Presence?

Posted by Sydney J. Freedberg Jr. on


WASHINGTON: “I guess I’m going to have to attack your question on almost every aspect,” Adm. John Richardson told me. As an analyst, it’s unnerving to have the Navy’s top admiral tell you to your face, albeit politely, that you’re just plain wrong. (I’d politely disagree, though I did miss some important nuances in an earlier story). I had asked… Keep reading →

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Carter’s LCS Cut: Second Thoughts At OSD

Posted by Sydney J. Freedberg Jr. on


WASHINGTON: Defense Secretary Ash Carter’s decision to curtail the controversial Littoral Combat Ship program may not be the last word, according to several well informed sources. Those sources independently told Breaking Defense that the Office of the Secretary of Defense is divided over the decision cut LCS from 52 ships to 40. So is the Navy, which has had pro-… Keep reading →

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Navy Fights For 52 LCS After SecDef Cuts To 40: Presence vs. Warfighting

Posted by Sydney J. Freedberg Jr. on


UPDATED: Adds SecDef Carter Memo, Rep. Forbes Questioning Carter Decision, Navy Statement WASHINGTON: The Navy is not yielding to Defense Secretary Ash Carter’s memo cutting the Navy’s much-maligned Littoral Combat Ship program from 52 of the small ships to 40 and dumping one of the two shipyards building them. Carter plans to use the savings for other… Keep reading →

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Aegis Ashore: Navy Needs Relief From Land

Posted by Sydney J. Freedberg Jr. on


CAPITOL HILL: Take my mission — please. The armed services are notorious for overselling their capabilities and grabbing turf to justify budgets. But when it comes to ballistic missile defense, the Navy feels so overburdened that it is talking up land-based alternatives as superior to its vaunted Aegis ships. [Click here for Part I of this… Keep reading →

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Aegis Ambivalence: Navy, Hill Grapple Over Missile Defense Mission

Posted by Sydney J. Freedberg Jr. on


WASHINGTON: Sometimes success is its own punishment. Shooting down ballistic missiles is one of the Navy’s most high-tech, high-profile capabilities — and it’s one of the most popular with Congress as well. But as demand for missile defense increases at what the Chief of Naval Operations has called an “unsustainable” pace, it’s an ever-greater burden… Keep reading →

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How Marines Plan To Survive Littoral Warfare

Posted by Sydney J. Freedberg Jr. on


PENTAGON: “You ever seen what an attack helicopter does to a small boat? That’s a Cuisinart.” The Navy’s long been nervous about the survival of its high-cost high-seas warships in coastal knife fights. (That anxiety drove the development of the controversial Littoral Combat Ship). Iran, in particular, is notorious for its shallow water mini-submarines and… Keep reading →

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‘If It Floats, It Fights’: Navy Seeks ‘Distributed Lethality’

Posted by Sydney J. Freedberg Jr. on


CRYSTAL CITY: “If it floats, it fights,” Rear Adm. Peter Fanta says. “That’s ‘distributed lethality'[:] Make every cruiser, destroyer, amphib, LCS [Littoral Combat Ship], a thorn in somebody else’s side.” “It just takes arming everything,” says Fanta, the director of surface warfare (section N96) on the Navy staff. “Lethality” simply means more and better weapons. “Distributed” means… Keep reading →

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