The report documents the trends in American seapower vis a vis that of the Soviet Union, underscoring the relative decline of United States seapower as compared to the rapid growth of the Russian merchant and naval fleets, especially during the past decade. It addresses the core issue confronting defense planners, namely, how these adverse trends can be reversed in the face of extraordinary escalation of shipbuilding costs and within necessary budget constraints. The nine issue papers contained in the study recommend specific changes in government policy aimed at enhancing the nation's overall seapower posture while reducing costs. The analysis reveals that greater defense capability could result from more effectively utilizing the inherent strengths of the merchant marine in order to allow the Navy to concentrate on its primary combat functions. The nine specific actions called for may be summarized as follows: (1) Performing peacetime Navy auxiliary functions with the merchant marine; (2) Employing container concepts for specialized military support in peace and war; (3) modifying merchant ships for military sealift during wartime; (4) Converting merchant vessels for combat roles in wartime; (5) Employing merchant ships to enhance American political presence overseas; (6) Developing an organization (at the presidential assistant level) for a strengthened U.S. maritime policy; (7) Coordinating national maritime research activities; (8) Comparing national policies affecting sea and air transportation and their impact on national defense; (1) Maintaining a shipbuilding/industrial base adequate for national defense.

  • Corporate Authors:

    Transportation Institute

    923 15th Street, NW
    Washington, DC  United States  20005
  • Publication Date: 1976-5

Media Info

  • Pagination: 41 p.

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 00139195
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Source Agency: Transportation Institute
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Sep 4 1976 12:00AM