Home / Robert Farley / Legacies



My latest at the Diplomat follows up last week’s unpleasantness with a discussion of legacy systems in modern military force structure:

In December 1941, it became apparent to most world naval authorities that battleships would not play the role naval doctrine expected them to play.  The vulnerability of battleships to the striking power of aircraft carriersmeant that the latter would displace the former as the premier capital ship.  However, most navies still possessed an abundance of battleships of various ages and configurations.  Through the next three years the navies worked through more and less effective ways of using these legacy warships. The USN did very well, ascertaining that battleships could play an important support role for carriers, as well as provide devastating shore bombardment.  The Imperial Japanese Navy did less well, husbanding its battleships for a day of confrontation that never arrived.

What is the modern equivalent of the battleship-as-legacy-weapon?  Weapons designed in the 1950’s continue to operate in the preeminent militaries in the Western Pacific, serving alongside systems developed in the digital age.  The critical tasks for defense planners are to a) realize that the older weapons no longer play the roles they were intended to play, and b) determine how such weapons can nevertheless find a useful role alongside more technologically advanced systems.

Read the rest, and also this post from Jeffrey Lewis on rationales for the extension of South Korean ballistic missile ranges.

With regard to the unpleasant aspect of the unpleasantness; there is no question that in the first post I was unnecessarily obnoxious, which colored the entire exchange.  I failed to restrain myself, and for that I’m sorry. I hope that one day there can be a healing between our two great peoples etc. etc.



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