So with littoral combat being all the rage these days, what's being done to posture the fleet against the rising threat of enemy ballistic missiles? Rear Admiral Thomas Marfiak says "not enough."
With all the talk about the Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) and the next guided-missile destroyer, DDG-1000, no one has seen fit to discuss the future of the next generation of cruisers-the CG(X), the follow-on to the present class of Aegis cruisers. Because those remarkable ships will reach their 30th anniversaries-and beyond-in the middle of the next decade, we need to confront the issue of their successors now.
The Analysis of Alternatives for the CG(X) has been in the works for several months, but the outcome is far from certain. And with the target initial operational capability of the new cruiser class set for 2019, the present study of required capabilities and how to develop and fund them has reached the point of urgency.
A knotty problem. Back during 2006's Lebanon War, Hezzy baddies killed four Israeli sailors with a UAV packed with explosives. Granted, textbook definition doesn't exactly qualify that as a ballistic missile. But it does raise the larger point of potential enemies like Iran, Syria, and North Korea -- and what tech they'd employ as a means of knocking back our air and sea power. Seeing that every dictator and his sweet mother have -at minimum- a few medium range ballistic missiles and a whole mess of lighter ship/aircraft killers, I'm thinking that the good Admiral has a point here.
Furthermore, most of our enemies (and potentials) are eager customers of a booming Russian defense industry. Taking into consideration the fact that Aegis was originally designed to protect our carriers from Russian missile attack, logic would dictate that as the Russians upgrade their ship-killing kit, we upgrade our seaborne defense systems as well.--John Noonan