The U.S. Navy is facing an existential crisis in the Western Pacific as China builds up its military at a much faster pace than other players in the region. Among the various strategies the U.S. Navy is considering in response is to deploy unmanned warships, both submarines and surface vessels, to augment its manned fleet. The goal is to saturate adversaries with so many tasks that they cannot cope, and thus must rethink their order of battle. U.S. Navy leaders believe they can build and operate large numbers of unmanned warships based on low-cost, commercial designs. The unmanned vessels wouldn’t be anywhere near as capable as a manned destroyer or submarine, but they would be capable enough so the Chinese. can’t risk ignoring them. Rather than being overwhelmed by rising China, the U.S. would overwhelm the naval forces of the Middle Kingdom. I have written a commentary for Forbes here.
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