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Insights from a Decade of Campaign Analysis, Wargaming, Fleet
Architecture Studies and Tactical Analysis at the Naval Postgraduate School


Professor Jeff Kline, Captain USN (Retired) and Professor of Practice

Friday 6 May 2016, Ingersoll Hall, NPS, Monterey California USA

Abstract. First given during April to the Washington DC Strategic Discussion Group, then again for Naval War College (NWC) faculty and students pursuing Joint Professional Military Education (JPME) at NPS.  This talk presents the methods used and major trends discovered of over ten years of warfare analysis from theses, capstone classroom projects, faculty research projects, wargaming, and seminars at the Naval Postgraduate School. It will discuss how the missile and robotics age provides enablers for both friendly and potential adversary forces and how “Blue” forces responded to an increasing challenging sea and air denial capabilities from “Red”.

Professor Kline served in the Navy for 26 years and is now a faculty member in the NPS Operations Research Department. His distinguished naval career includes commands of the USS AQUILA and the USS CUSHING. He has served as a naval analyst in the Office of the Secretary of Defense and earned numerous awards for teaching and research while serving at the Naval Postgraduate School. He has degrees in Industrial Engineering, Operations Research, and National Security Strategy.

Available online: announcement flyer, presentation slideset, and annotated slideset.  Excerpts follow.

Slide 1.  Thank you for allowing me a stage to brag about what I think is one of the most unique institutions in America, the Naval Postgraduate School. Over the next few minutes I hope to provide evidence of this claim by showing how combining operationally experienced students with a world-class defense-oriented faculty provide both meaningful graduate education for our officers and real insights into today’s defense challenges.

For me to summarize over 800 warfare analysis papers, 200 classroom capstone studies, 300 theses and major research projects related to maritime warfare analysis is impossible to accomplish in detail, so I will do three things today:

  • Stay on script so as not to stray into a detailed discussion until the question period,
  • Provide an overview of how we integrate our graduate education with technology advancements in warfare, and
  • Cover the biggest trends our students and faculty have produced, many of which were originally quite new but are of little surprise today. 

Slide 4.  Each year we have a campus‐wide theme and scenario called the Warfare Innovation Continuum for faculty to apply in their classroom and research if they wish. This year, “Creating Asymmetric Warfighting Advantages” involves over 400 students, faculty and sponsors in capstone classroom projects, thesis work, and research initiatives. It uses a scenario titled Maritime War 2030 which addresses an expansionist Russia and adventurous China. The Continuum theme lasts in research threads for much longer than a year, many ideas going to field experimentation.

Slides 16-17, Big Trends Across Ten Years. Some of the trends I’ll address are listed here. The impact of the missile and robotics age can clearly be seen in the way we employ forces and those forces aligned against us. Almost all trends stem from technologies associated with miniaturization, computing power, speed, connectivity, energy, and advances in artificial intelligence. Innovative employment of these technologies (such as ISR sensors on self‐propelling surf boards) is the most frequent theme from our Warfare Innovation Continuum series.

Slide 18, Characteristics of Modern Maritime Warfare.

  • Offense is the stronger form of naval tactical warfare.  "Fire Effectively First" (Hughes).
  • Defense is the stronger form of naval operational warfare.  Sea Denial is easier than Sea Control.
  • We observe that the U.S. Navy is currently on the disadvantaged side in both these areas, in warfighting and procurement.

I want to remind us of an important perspective about naval warfare, which is reverse from the land warriors' view of defense being the stronger form of warfare. The maritime tactical offense is less expensive to employ, and more advantageous than the maritime tactical defense. Initiatives like distributed lethality are addressing the imbalance between offensive capacity and defense capacity in our force.

Relevance to Network Optional Warfare (NOW): in addition to showing the academic, technical and tactical contexts that have led to current development of NOW concepts, CAPT Kline's synopsis includes comments on "Who can best fight in the night? (EM night that is)," "Robots Forward!" and "Push C2 to lowest level."

Meaningful work over many years by NPS students and faculty is producing an compelling body of work.  Looking back and looking ahead, it is clear that diverse lines of inquiry are aligning along common directions.  Thank you Jeff for your continuing leadership in these critical arenas.

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