The U.S. Navy, in preparing to defend the nation from attack, has focused on combat capability as epitomized in readiness, sustainability, modernization and force structure. Two of these elements are particularly timesensitive when it comes to warfighting with existing forces. Readiness is oriented toward a quick-reaction capability. with people and equipment; sustainability addresses “staying power” for prolonged combat. The more critical of these elements is readiness which contains no more of a mandate than to be ready “to fight” in some largely undefined way. The lack of clear-cut objectives and preplanned options to be pursued at the onset of war is the Achilles heel of our readiness posture for general purpose forces.
The u.s. Navy’s most probable adversary, should deterrence fail, is the Soviet Union. The documented strategy of the Soviet Navy is surprise attack with massed, coordinated forces aimed at winning Gorshkov’s “battle of the first salvo.” They do not plan to allow the u.s. Navy time for coordinated reaction, nor do they envision prolonged combat other than mop-up operations. Their ships and particularly their submarines are built to support this strategy and it is practiced in their fleet exercises.
The asymmetry between the Soviet Navy and the u.s. Navy in planning for hostilities (i.e., massed, coordinated, surprise attack versus following rules of engagement and waiting for orders) acts to lower the deterrence threshold. Any perceived weakness in U.S. capabilities to either preempt attack or to counter the Soviet surprise first strike strategy would presumably increase the probabilities of its use.
The answer to this problem, then, is the implementation of a real-time Navy planning system to establish a peacetime posture of readiness to attack pre-selected enemy naval targets at the onset of hostilities. Such planning has been hampered in the past by technical limitations. Today, however, advances in surveillance, intelligence collection, information processing, communications, and weapons technology make it possible.
A dynamic computer-based planning system, the Naval Integrated Attack Plan, has been developed for this purpose, but still needs to be incorporated in the Navy Command and Control System. The concept provides for consolidating the various information elements pertaining to targets, u.s. weapon launch platforms, weapons, and attack parameters in an information management program supported by a computer with communication links to other command node computers.
Targets in the data base include potential enemy naval forces including ships in port and shore facilities which are candidates for immediate attack at the onset of hostilities. U.S. Navy attack assets, and others as made available, are assigned by Fleet Commanders in Chief to selected targets. Existing procedures for weaponeering and other tasks required for effective weapons employment are utilized, with the results input to the Attack Plan data base. Provisions can be incorporated to enable frequent updating of plans on the basis of current intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance information.
For the Submarine Force, an increment in this Attack Plan could be the inputs for over-thehorizon missile targetting systems as exemplified by the early Outlaw Shark System for targetting enemy surface forces, particularly during periods of tension.
Flexibility in executing attacks would be provided by structured optione for attacking various subsets or a target list. Basic attack options can be supplemented by special options planned to .aet contingencies as they arise. All targets and pre-planned attack options would be approved in advance by the controlling command authority. For evaluating the expected outcome or pre-planned attacks or investigating shortfalls in the capabilities or deployed forces to execute any attack option, comprehensive assessment procedures are included. Forces out or target range could be repositioned as defense readiness conditions warrant.
Demonstration ot this Naval Integrated Attack Plan in a desk-type computer should be pursued.
D. A. Paolucci
W. H. Georgen