The End of Surface Warfare

. . . . Perhaps American fleets are intended as targets — lambs sacrificed for the sake of the next glorious war in the spirit of the USS Maine, Lusitania, Gulf of Tonkin or (arguably) the USS Liberty. But the demagogues aspiring toward the next war should be careful about the punch they invite. The world may be one missile strike away from another paradigm shift in military affairs — the end of surface warfare.

Consider which you would rather be: a soldier trying to hit ships with missiles or a sailor trying to hit missiles with bullets. For the former, a five percent success rate can mean victory. For the latter, a ninety five percent success rate can mean defeat.

During the Falklands War, two British ships were sunk and a third damaged by Exocet missiles.

Missile technology has surely improved since 1982, and so have countermeasures. Which would you bet on? More importantly, which would be easier to finance: missiles or aircraft carrier fleets?