Academic journal article Naval War College Review

An Address

Academic journal article Naval War College Review

An Address

Article excerpt

THOSE OF YOU WHO ARE ABOUT TO GRADUATE from the Naval War College are completing a profitable year. Under Admiral [Bernard L.] Austin's [President of the Naval War College,July 1960-July 1964] wise counsel and well-known insistence on academic freedom you have been given more time and better opportunities than most of you have had for years, to improve your knowledge of military and political affairs. The 265 U.S. Navy, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard officers in this group have introduced, quite properly for the Naval War College, an emphasis on sea power during the year's deliberations. But the 52 Army, Air Force, and civilian members have, I am informed, supplied important broadening and have served to keep the sailors honest. The presence upon this campus of 27 officers from the navies of our allies has served a highly beneficial purpose in advancing your collective studies and associations.

Being familiar with the general conduct of your studies here, knowing that you are all fresh from the solution of the world's problems as a result of your recent Global Strategy week, realizing that your final days have been filled with farewell parties and thoughts of forthcoming vacations or tours of duty, I have decided to seek to hold your attention, and to enjoy the temporary freedom which my presence on this stage permits, by discussing the distant future.

I have calculated, roughly, that members of these classes will still be on active duty, as flag and general officers, in 1990. The large majority of these classes will exercise positions of top leadership in the seventies and eighties. Let us consider briefly this morning the nature of some of the problems you will face. In a sense, perhaps, we should consider this a stewardship report from the leadership of the sixties to the potential leaders of the seventies and eighties. The communists have a method of creating history by projecting the present backward. I shall endeavor not to create the future by projecting my problems forward,but merely to try to speculate with you on how the strengths and weaknesses of the present, interwoven with trends in world events, may present themselves to you in the seventies and eighties.

Central War

First, let us consider the possible central or strategic nuclear war of the seventies and eighties.

Three fundamental facets must be dealt with here: the likely development of our own strategic deterrent forces; the likely development of efforts to meet our major adversaries' strategic forces; and the proliferation in the number of national strategic nuclear forces.

During the years of your leadership, improvements in technology will provide the U.S. with strategic nuclear delivery systems of unlimited range and pinpoint accuracy. The United States will be able, as a result of developments this generation has already set in train, to make the decision to base increasingly larger percentages of its strategic forces at sea, thus increasing their invulnerability and reducing the temptation of an enemy to strike our homeland in a counterforce attack. This development becomes possible as the result of our ability to place a much heavier warhead, controlled with much greater accuracy, into our remarkable Polaris weapons system, and systems which will follow.

At the same time, we have to recognize that at least one potential enemy, during the generation of your leadership, will have achieved a highly sophisticated, technological, industrial base and will undoubtedly have the capability to place both land-based and sea-based missiles with great accuracy upon U.S. targets. This means that you will have a much more complex problem than the present leadership has had in determining ways to limit damage to the United States. You will have to adopt the concept of a total continental approach to the defense of the U.S. homeland. You will be faced with increasingly sophisticated nuclear weapons which will have penetration aids and great accuracy and increased megatonnage. …

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