Alerts Sound on Maritime Logistics: Several Experts See Seriously Lacking Sealift Capability

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September 10, 2019 | Originally published by Date Line: September 10 on

The U.S. Navy and Marine Corps are aggressively changing course and refocusing their resources and training to prepare the fleet and expeditionary forces for a “Great Power Competition” with China and Russia. But a growing number of Navy officers and defense analysts are warning that current and planned maritime logistics capabilities are seriously inadequate to sustain forward-deployed combat forces in an extended fight against such peer competitors.

This deficiency would be particularly severe in a high-intensity conflict against China, which is rapidly developing military capabilities specifically aimed at keeping U.S. forces far from their shores and able to threaten Pacific Ocean-based logistical support facilities, the critics warned. A fight against a resurgent Russia could be a repeat of the 1940s “battle of the Atlantic” with a small Military Sealift Command (MSC) force and an American merchant marine fleet — a fraction of the size of the World War II armada — trying to evade scores of sophisticated Russian submarines in a desperate effort to reinforce and supply U.S. forces in Europe.

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