Reinvigorating Sea Control & Power Projection
Distributed Lethality provides an effective response to the tactical, operational, and strategic challenges posed in denied or contested environments. The operational construct to control the sea is centered on the tactical training and capabilities that allow commanders to deceive, target, and destroy an adversary. These operational functions provide GCCs options for employment of surface forces across the spectrum of conflict and serve as a foundational paradigm for our community’s approach to sea control.
Forward and ready conventional surface forces must be able to deter aggression, deny aggressors the prospect of achieving their objectives, establish and maintain sea control, and project power.
Deter Aggression with Forward and Ready Conventional Forces
The ability to sustain operations far from our shores provides a distinct advantage to the United States. A persistent forward presence backed by credible combat capability can prevent aggression and limit regional crises from escalating to full-scale war.
On a daily basis, surface forces are distributed across the globe. Surface warships protect freedom of maneuver, secure the sea lanes for global trade and economic growth, defend key interests of the United States, and prevent adversaries from leveraging the world’s oceans against us. Distributed Lethality gives options to Commanders to deliver credible combat power where it matters most.
A more lethal, distributed force across a greater expanse erodes an adversary’s advantage by complicating their surveillance and targeting. Similarly, surface forces will have both the capability and capacity to fight through an attack while being positioned to inflict damage of such magnitude that an adversary is rendered incapable of further aggression, ceases hostilities and no longer considers force as a viable means to achieve its end-state objectives.
Deny an Aggressor the Prospect of Achieving Objectives
States that leverage sea denial technologies seek to diminish the deterrent value of forward-deployed forces. This negatively impacts the assurances the United States provides to partners and allies. Distributed Lethality is an effective response to deny the prospect of any benefits sought by an adversary who chooses to leverage its sea denial technologies. It also serves to influence an adversary’s decision-making calculus and denies them the benefits they seek from choosing to use force on the seas as an extension of their national interests. Distributed Lethality spreads the playing field for our surface forces at sea, provides a more complex targeting problem, and creates more favorable conditions to project power where required.
Establish and Maintain Sea Control
The purpose of Distributed Lethality is to establish sea control and prevent an adversary from doing the same. The concept and organizing principles of Distributed Lethality deliver surface forces that are capable of controlling sea space at the time and place of our choosing. Surface forces outfitted with robust defensive systems and armed with credible surface launched stand-off weapons, survivable in both contested and communications degraded environments, will help to secure sea territory and enable forces to flow for follow-on power projection operations.
Sea control does not mean command of all the seas, all the time. Rather, it is the capability and capacity to impose localized control of the sea when and where it is required to enable other objectives and to hold it as long as necessary to accomplish those objectives. Surface forces can fulfill this crucial role, which is the necessary precondition to ensure sea lanes remain open for the free movement of goods and to safeguard the interests of the United States and partner nations.
Project National Power
Distributed Lethality provides the ability to apply all elements of seapower for deterrence, to respond to crises, aggression, or conflict, to build readiness to project power to deny or defeat aggression in multiple theaters, and to provide a robust ability to strike targets with surprise from the sea.