Welcome

This blog aims to contribute to understanding the history of the US Navy during the Cold War and to draw lessons from that and earlier periods for the current era of great power competition.

I’m examining and evaluating some of the major components of what might together constitute a 21st century Maritime Strategy. I’m a political scientist who worked at the Center for Naval Analyses (CNA) from 1969 to 1999, with a group that supported and critiqued ONI and OPNAV planners in what was then Op-06. Our main effort was devoted to the analysis of the Soviet military press. We had some success, as described in my “The Return of Great Power Competition: Cold War Lessons about Strategic Anti-Submarine Warfare and Defense of Sea Lines of Communication,” Naval War College Review, forthcoming. I served as the director of the group from 1974 to 1989. The job mainly involved trying not to get in the way of my talented and dedicated colleagues. With James McConnell, I was co-editor of, and a contributor to, Soviet Naval Diplomacy (Pergamon Press, 1979). I retired as a Captain in the Naval Reserve after service in Naval Intelligence.

While I am much in debt to Peter Swartz and Steve Wills—both currently at CNA—and former CNA-ers Bruce Powers and Tom Anger, the ideas expressed are my own. I offer five think pieces for critique and commentary. Each addresses a strategic mission of the Navy, cast at the level of using the Navy as a whole, to support the nation’s peacetime diplomacy and to deter—or, if unavoidable, to fight—a war with Russia or China and to deal with the “post-war” world. I approach these subjects via the logic of the strategic situation as seen from the US point of view. Any references to Russian or Chinese attitudes are drawn entirely from secondary sources. My focus is today. Future forces are not addressed. Each post opens with a statement of purpose, definition of terms, and descriptions of assumptions, followed by outlines of possible actions and assessments of their pros and cons. Though I try show the theoretical roots of these ideas, my aim is to suggest answers to the practical question: Okay, what do we do next?

I’m just getting this new blog going, so stay tuned for more and please follow to be notified when I post updates.

Bradford Dismukes

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