Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Jonathan Greenert set the Navy’s course for the next four years with the release of the CNO’s Navigation Plan 2014- 2018. The Navigation Plan adheres to the admiral’s Sailing Directions for the Navy which he issued in 2011, shortly after assuming command as CNO. The Navigation Plan draws from Sailing Directions to describe how the Navy’s budget submission for fiscal years 2014 to 2018 advances the vision of the CNO’s Sailing Directions. It highlights the investments the Navy will make that will support the missions outlined in the Defense Strategic Guidance (DSG), Sustaining U.S. Leadership: Priorities for 21st Century Defense, viewed through the lens of the CNO’s three tenets: Warfighting First, Operate Forward and Be Ready.
The adjustments to the FY2014 budget are due to the potential for a continuing resolution and the onset of sequestration, the CNO wrote, which will challenge the Navy’s ability to sustain some of the warfighting investments, forward presence and readiness. Regardless of reductions, the CNO said the Navy will continue to operate forward with ready forces, where it matters, when it matters.
The Navy’s first consideration is the ability to fight and win today, while building the ability to win tomorrow; it is why the nation has a Navy, CNO wrote. The Navy budget continues efforts to invest in capabilities to address near-term challenges and develop future capabilities needed to conduct DSG missions in the most likely scenarios. The Navy focuses in particular on deterring and defeating aggression and assuring access by implementing the Air-Sea Battle (ASB) concept. It relies greatly on the information dominance capabilities and strategies that the Navy has been developing for the last four years.
The Navy’s plans for achieving information dominance center on: (1) assuring command and control (C2) for deployed forces regardless of the threat environment; (2) enhancing battlespace awareness to shorten the decision cycle inside that of the adversary and to better understand the maritime operating environment; and, (3) fully integrating traditional kinetic and emerging non-kinetic fires to expand warfighting options to both Navy and joint commanders.
While investments in the future fleet and airpower traditionally lead budget decisions, in the Navigation Plan, the CNO places equal emphasis on information dominance capabilities, including cyber-power. The Navigation Plan describes many of the same strategic investments outlined in documents issued by the Deputy Chief of Naval Operations for Information Dominance (N2/N6) and the Commander, Fleet CyberCommand/U.S. Tenth Fleet: Navy Strategy for Achieving Information Dominance 2013-2017, Navy Cyber Power 2020 and U.S. Navy Information Dominance Roadmap 2013-2028. (Documents available at www.fcc.navy.mil/.)
Information dominance investments reflected in the Navigation plan will:
- Fielding more E/A-18 Growlers and E-2D Hawkeyes (and F/A-18 Super Hornets) to maintain and modernize carrier air wings (and deliver USS Gerald R. Ford in FY 2015).
- Field new and improved “kill chains” that defeat adversary radar jamming by using advanced infra-red sensors and weapons and integrated fire control networks that link ships, tactical aircraft and command and control aircraft.
- Fully exploit cyberspace and the electromagnetic spectrum as a warfighting domain by fielding 20 additional E/A-18G Growler aircraft, developing the Next-Generation Jammer for airborne electronic warfare, and delivering Surface Electronic Warfare Improvement Program upgrades to improve the ability of DDGs to detect and defeat adversary radars and anti-ship missiles. Significantly expand the capacity of our offensive cyber capability and active defense by adding 976 cyber operators to stand up 40 cyber warfighting teams over the next three years.
- Maintain undersea dominance by fielding more P-8A Poseidon patrol aircraft (along with building 10 Virginia-class submarines, fielding more MH-60R Seahawk helicopters and completing a proven torpedo defense system that will deploy on USS George H. W. Bush in 2014). The Navy’s budget submission also improves its fixed undersea sensors around the world, and develops large displacement unmanned undersea vehicles (UUV) to enhance the ability to deny adversaries effective use of the undersea domain as well as fields new Multi-Function Towed Arrays for surface ships.
- Improve Navy platforms’ reach through new payloads of more capable weapons, sensors, and unmanned vehicles to include Unmanned Carrier–Launched Air Surveillance and Strike vehicle and MQ-8C Fire Scouts, as well as the SM-6 missile, long-range anti-surface weapon, and Air and Missile Defense Radar.
As a forward deployed force, the fleet is highly dependent upon space-based systems, cyberspace and the electromagnetic spectrum. These cyber investments underpin the effectiveness of the other investments cited in the Navigation Plan because they provide the ability to project force into a contested operational area, and to sustain it in the face of armed opposition by increasingly capable enemies equipped with sophisticated anti-access and area-denial (A2/AD) defenses.
Additional fleet and airpower investments include:
- Deliver USS America in 2014 and extend the service lives of air cushion landing craft (LCAC) while recapitalizing them with the Ship-to-Shore Connector (SSC).
- Ensure an uninterrupted, survivable nuclear deterrent by sustaining investment in Ohio Replacement SSBN development, while maintaining current SSBN inventory.
The Navy and Marine Corps are the nation’s “away team” and history demonstrates the Navy is at its best when operating forward and ready to respond where it matters, when it matters. The Navy FY 2014-2018 budget submission delivers the fleet size and readiness to provide the overseas presence directed in the Secretary of Defense-approved Global Force Management Allocation Plan (GFMAP) and rebalances the effort toward the Asia-Pacific region, while sustaining support to partners in the Middle East, according to the Navigation Plan. Continued pressure on the Navy’s budget will compel the Navy to add ships to the Forward Deployed Naval Force, and increase the number of ships which are forward stationed or forward operating.
The Navigation Plan outlines these specific force operations:
- Maintain a carrier strike group and amphibious ready group in both the Asia-Pacific and Middle East regions, even under sequestration. In the event of sequestration, the Navy will have one additional CSG and ARG certified for all operations and available to “surge.” In a nominal budget environment surge capacity of the fleet would be about three CSGs and three ARGs.
- Expand presence in the Asia-Pacific; by 2020 the Navy budget submission will increase the number of ships deployed to the Asia- Pacific by 10 to an average of about 60 ships. By 2020, the Navy will base 60 percent of its ships and aircraft on the West Coast and in the Pacific, adding a submarine in Guam and maintaining one CSG and one ARG based in Japan.
- Increase forward presence and better align ships with missions by fielding two Mobile Landing Platforms (MLP), two Afloat Forward Staging Bases (AFSB), 10 Joint High Speed Vessels and eight Littoral Combat Ships (LCS) over next five years. These ships use rotational military or civilian crews to remain forward longer and will free up guided missile destroyers (DDG) and amphibious ships for other regions.
- Base two DDGs in Rota, Spain in 2014 and two more in 2015 to provide ballistic missile defense to our allies and free up rotationally-deployed DDG for other regions; permanently base patrol craft (PC) and mine-countermeasure (MCM) crews in Bahrain to improve their proficiency and partnerships in the region.
- Provide amphibious lift for U.S. Marines operating out of Australia by establishing a fifth ARG in the Pacific by FY2018; develop concepts to deploy Marines on vessels including Joint High Speed Vessels, High Speed Transports and Mobile Landing Platforms.
Ready Sailors and Civilians remain the source of the Navy’s warfighting capability, according to the Navigation Plan. The CNO wrote that personnel will be personally prepared, confident and proficient. The Navy will sustain warfighting capability and ability to operate forward through effective maintenance and timely modernization. Budget constraints will compel the Navy to put a premium on readiness; it will continue to deploy proficient and ready forces. To reduce costs, the Navy will explore options to adjust the readiness of non-deployed forces.
The FY 2014 – 2018 budget submission will:
- Fund and prioritize programs that address sexual assault prevention and response, suicide prevention, and operational stress control. Improve the resourcing, management and oversight of programs that support our Sailors and their families by establishing a 21st Century Sailor.
- Sustain enhancements in practical fleet training by providing more targets, ammunition, decoys, sonobuoys and torpedoes for live training.
- Enhance public shipyard capacity by renovating and replacing facilities and hiring about 1,600 additional workers over the next several years.
- Improve Sailor technical expertise and increase the capacity and responsiveness of our Regional Maintenance Centers and Afloat Training Groups by increasing Sailor manning; continue improvements to at-sea manning by adding 900 Sailors to the fleet.
- Improve the proficiency of our Sailors and interoperability with our allies by conducting exercises including Rim of the Pacific, Valiant Shield and Bold Alligator which also test elements of the Air-Sea Battle concept.
Adm. Greenert said he will update the Navigation Plan if course changes are needed and will issue a Position Report based on a “fix” later this year.
CHIPS senior editor, Sharon Anderson, contributed to this article.