Date: Aug. 26, 1997
Contacts: Ellen Bailey Pippenger, Media Relations Associate
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[EMBARGOED: NOT FOR PUBLIC RELEASE BEFORE 5 P.M. EDT TUESDAY, AUG. 26]
Advanced Technologies Can Aid
Future Naval Forces
The U.S. Navy and Marine Corps are facing a daunting task: how to protect national interests and respond to international crises in an increasingly technological world. Emerging regional powers and possibly old foes in new guises will present unexpected challenges to the nation. Current and emerging technologies can help U.S. naval forces achieve revolutionary capabilities to meet the demands of their missions more effectively with fewer people and in much less time, says a new report by a National Research Council committee.
The committee focused on naval forces' needs for the years 2000 to 2035, identifying technological advances that included the following:
> Information in warfare. The rapid growth of information technologies offers new opportunities to gather, process, and capitalize on military intelligence and other information. To deploy personnel more rapidly and with far more impact than the opposition can muster, naval forces will depend on joint information networks based on an array of sensors in the ultra violet, visible infra red, and acoustic bands. Commercial technologies -- including satellite, fiber, and radio equipment -- also will play an increasingly dominant role in future military communications. New information systems and their products would come from coordinated activity with other branches of the military and from U.S. allies.
> Ships incorporating extensive instrumentation and automation. Improvements in computing and sensor technology will enhance the instrumentation and automation aboard ships, leading to "smart systems" that can control navigation, engines, and other machinery. These in turn will help smaller crews work more effectively in all areas of shipboard and ship-based aviation operations.
> Naval aviation. As aviation technologies develop further, combat aircraft will be capable of short and vertical takeoffs from many types of ships. Currently, naval jets require catapults and arresting gears to fly and land at sea, and aircraft carriers are the only ships large enough to accommodate them. Unmanned aircraft also would be used to perform many of the routine or especially dangerous tasks that piloted aircraft have to perform today, such as spending long periods observing enemy activities or attacking very heavily defended targets.
> Weapons systems for long-range fire support. To enhance the ability of the fleet to support forces ashore, relatively inexpensive guided missiles that are propelled by rockets can be developed. The missiles would be launched from naval ships, submarines, and, in some versions, from airplanes. These weapons systems would focus heavy, accurate firepower on opposing forces before they could muster effective resistance.
> Networked defenses. To defend against attack by aircraft, missiles, or submarines, naval forces always will depend on coordinated sea, air, and land operations tied together in system-wide networks that target and control weapon fire. Improvements in detection and guidance of missiles, mines, and submarines will allow the Navy and Marines collectively to defend the fleet and Marines ashore far more effectively than individual units can.
> Military operations in populated areas. Novel weapons, systems, and techniques should be used to fight in populated areas against organized military forces, terrorists and criminals, and other hostile groups. Backed by major weapons and logistic support from the sea, smaller, highly mobile troops can deploy inland over a broader front. Satellite-based global-positioning devices, building-penetrating radar, and small robotic vehicles would help locate opposing forces as precisely as possible before attacking them. These changes will allow forces of a modest size to neutralize or take over an area with fewer casualties and less incidental damage than in the past.
> Improved support and supply systems. These shipboard systems, based on commercial practices and other improvements, would assist forces ashore. Instead of transporting supplies to inefficient dumping areas on land, a large portion of military equipment and supplies would be kept aboard ships and unloaded as needed to assist ground-force operations. Using commercial practices to track and sequence inventory more accurately also will improve efficiency. Without massive amounts of supplies to carry, forces ashore can move more quickly and with greater flexibility.
The committee anticipates that the Navy and Marine Corps will be composed of fewer, better trained people, and that more of these will choose to make military service their profession. Sailors and Marines will benefit from extensive training and technologies that assist them in their work. Expected technical advances in civilian medicine also will bring about better health care and faster, more effective treatment of battle or shipboard casualties.
The report is the overview of a nine-volume series funded by the Department of the Navy. The other volumes will be available in September. The National Research Council is the principal operating agency of the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering. It is a private, non-profit institution that provides science advice under a congressional charter. A committee roster follows.
Copies of Technology for the United States Navy and Marine Corps, 2000-2035: Becoming a 21st-Century Force are available from the National Academy Press for $27.00 (prepaid) plus shipping charges of $4.00 for the first copy and $.50 for each additional copy; tel. (202) 334-3313 or 1-800-624-6242. Reporters may obtain copies from the Office of News and Public Information (contacts listed above).
[This announcement is available on the World Wide Web at <www.nas.edu/new>.]
NATIONAL RESEARCH COUNCIL
Commission of Physical Sciences, Mathematics, and Applications
Naval Studies Board
Committee on Technology for Future Naval Forces
David R. Heebner (chair)
Science Applications International Corp. (retired)
Albert J. Baciocco Jr.
The Baciocco Group Inc.
Mt. Pleasant, S.C.
Applied Research Laboratory
Pennsylvania State University
State College, Pa.
Norman E. Betaque
Logistics Management Institute
Gerald A. Cann
Senior Adviser to Executive Office
George F. Carrier (1)
T. Jefferson Coolidge Professor of Applied Mathematics, Emeritus
Division of Applied Sciences
Seymour J. Deitchman
Institute for Defense Analyses (retired)
Alexander H. Flax (2)
Institute for Defense Analyses (retired)
William J. Moran
Vice Admiral, U.S. Navy (retired)
Redwood City, Calif.
Robert J. Murray
President and CEO
Center for Naval Analyses
Robert B. Oakley
Distinguished Visiting Fellow
Institute for National Strategic Studies
National Defense University, Fort L.J. McNair
Joseph B. Reagan
Lockheed Martin Missiles and Space Company (retired)
Palo Alto, Calif.
President and CEO
The Charles Stark Draper Laboratory Inc.
NATIONAL RESEARCH COUNCIL STAFF
Ronald D. Taylor
Director, Naval Studies Board
Peter W. Rooney
Program Officer, Naval Studies Board
(1) Member, National Academy of Sciences
(2) Member, National Academy of Engineering