SEA-AIR-SPACE NEWS: ‘Decisive Decade’ Mirrors 1930s More than 1990s, Navy Official Said

By Laura Heckmann
Adm. Lisa Franchetti

Navy League photo

NATIONAL HARBOR, Maryland — Pacing threats from China and Russia have thrust the Navy into a “decisive decade,” presenting a higher risk of miscalculation and high-end conflict than any other period in recent history, said a senior Navy official.

Speaking at the Navy League’s annual Sea-Air-Space exposition Apr. 3, Adm. Lisa Franchetti, vice chief of naval operations, said sailors of today have more in common with those of the 1930s than the 1990s.

“The challenges all of use face are different and more urgent than what I faced when I joined the Navy back in 1985,” Franchetti said.

The National Defense Strategy “makes it clear” that China is the pacing challenge, she said. China is harnessing its larger industrial capacity and civil-military fusion to its advantage and working to improve military capability and capacity, trying to “steadily erode our advantage” she added.

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is a reminder that Russia remains an “existential threat to our nation and acute threat, especially in undersea warfare,” she said.

Franchetti described the clouds of war looming on the horizon of World War II, drawing parallels between the Navy of Pearl Harbor and the Navy of today. The Navy of the 1930s made important decisions and arrangements with industry 10 years before war to set the stage for victory, she said.

The industrial base proved decisive then, and they will today, she said.

Franchetti called today “yet another decisive decade,” with decisions determining the future of maritime security for the foreseeable future.

Preparing for the decisive decade means understanding how the Navy fits into the National Defense Strategy, she said. Updated in 2022, the strategy serves as a master plan for how the Defense Department coordinates efforts to respond to global threats, she added.

She pointed to a “sizeable” increase in the Navy’s shipbuilding budget, including $1.1 billion to boost the submarine industrial base in the fiscal year 2024 budget request.

“This should signal to you that maritime security matters,” Franchetti said.

Critical to both maritime security and the National Defense Strategy are the Navy’s partnerships, she added. NATO’s response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is a “case in point,” she said.

“You can see it in the unified response of Ukraine. You can see it in unmanned systems experimentation in Task Force 59, in unprecedented military cooperation in the South Pacific and disaster response in Haiti, Tonga and Turkey,” she said.

“We have demonstrated the value of close, allied coordination for military materiel support and the importance of sustained supply lines,” she said. “There’s no doubt that the work we do together … will provide us with the collective capabilities we need to deter potential adversaries and always be ready to fight and win.”

Teamwork means better options, she said. She championed partnerships as making a difference on the frontlines of strategic competition “every single day.”

Reflecting on her 37 years of service, Franchetti said sailors “have to adapt to the threats of the time.”

Ultimately, the Navy’s greatest asset in doing so is its people, she said.

“It’s a lot of strategic change to confront, but through it all, one area that has not changed is that the Navy has never left the Pacific and the Navy has answered the call every time,” she said.

As the Navy finds itself in yet another decisive decade, its people remain the real strategic advantage, she said.


Topics: Navy News

Comments (2)

Re: ‘Decisive Decade’ Mirrors 1930s More than 1990s, Navy Official Said

I agree, Steve, it is likely that all of our airfields will be out of action within minutes of China detecting aircraft launching after they begin attacking Taiwan. Followed by attacks on naval assets. That leaves the "obvious answer" -- make the military facilities near the coast glow in the dark for a few centuries. Some choice, don't you think? Lose half of our men and material in the first few hours, then slog it out for a year or five; or destroy Walmart and a few million non-combatants.

Everett Puterbaugh at 7:59 PM
Re: ‘Decisive Decade’ Mirrors 1930s More than 1990s, Navy Official Said

It's too late. China's best window for taking Taiwan is between now and the 2024 elections, most likely in April 2024. We will only have existing assets plus whatever we can scrounge from Ready Reserve, etc. We are desperately short of airpower as aircraft losses in EVERY US/China war game showed massive losses in the first 10-14 days. Naval air has few reserves and Air Force forward basing is too limited and will multiply losses.

Steve Alonso at 11:14 AM
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