Theater Ballistic Missile Defense from the Sea
Charles C. Swicker - Newport Paper 14


Issues for the Maritime Component Commander

WHAT, THEN, ARE THE TBMD ISSUES with which the Joint Force Maritime Component Commander must specifically concern himself? When considered in light of projected U.S. naval capabilities and anticipated regional threats ten years hence, areas of useful concentration for his particular attention coalesce around four key topics. These are:

Logistics will be dealt with first, since this subject clearly illustrates the value of a straightforward operations analysis approach in order to bound an important discussion—a discussion which, when so bounded, reveals important caveats regarding the true complexity of war in the littoral, an arena of conflicting missions prosecuted with limited means.

Command, control, and intelligence follows logistics, and considers that same complexity at three separate levels of leadership: above the JFMCC at the NCA level; among competing component commanders at the theater level; and from the JFMCC down to the unit level. Encompassing all levels, comprehensive intelligence preparation of the battle space is held to be essential to the JFMCC's mastery of the subtleties of the TBMD mission, and thus his ability to make the hard choices necessary for its effective execution.

The section on warfighting derives its arguments directly from the debates illustrated in the preceding pages, setting forth some of those hard operational choices which will inevitably face the JFMCC as a result of his own logistical constraints and the operational intent of his superiors. The contrasting but complementary capabilities of Navy Theater Wide and Navy Area TBMD are thus considered.

Finally, the essential issues of national policy and international law that must inform U.S. TBMD operations are presented below in a section on rules of engagement. As the final portion of the core chapter in this study, this consideration of the legal dilemmas and the inherent uncertainty with which the JFMCC must wrestle perhaps represents an allegory, a cautionary tale, for the whole topic of theater ballistic missile defense delivered from the sea.


With the general background provided in the preceding chapters, the reader is in a position to anticipate the issues that will confront the Joint Force Maritime Component Commander. For simplicity, this section will begin with the most straightforward: the physical characteristics of one's own force and an operations analysis-type approach to the issues that arise. The JFMCC must be fully cognizant of the key capabilities and limitations of his own forces. In preparing for the theater ballistic missile defense mission, one of his primary concerns must thus be logistics, especially the unique stresses TBMD will place on the vital tasks of refueling and rearming his AEGIS combatants.

Iron Logic of Fuel: CG versus DDG. In a rapidly developing conflict against a TBM-capable foe, the Joint Force Maritime Component Commander may find himself cast as the JFC's Leonidas, holding the pass at Thermopylae as the Persian arrows rain down, buying time for reinforcements to arrive in theater. If the limited naval theater ballistic missile defense capability initially available in theater is likely to be overmatched by sheer numbers of hostile missiles at the outset of a fight, then that capability must be used both effectively and efficiently.

One of the strengths of modern U.S. naval combatants, and especially AEGIS ships, is their multi-mission versatility. Costly, complex, and capable, these ships excel at the "up, out, and down" missions of AW, SUW and USW. Their role as potent TLAM strike platforms was critical during Desert Storm: by 2008, naval theater ballistic missile defense will be a major new AEGIS mission. The TBMD battle, however, is unlikely to take place in isolation—thus it will have to be conducted in both competition and cooperation with the other important missions given to the maritime component of the Joint Force, as its ships, aircraft, and Marines stand fast and secure the rapid buildup of land and air power in theater.

The Joint Force Maritime Component Commander must use his highly capable but numerically limited AEGIS assets wisely, both in how he apportions them for a variety of missions and how he assigns them different tasks within the TBMD mission. Different ships and different missions are not created equal. For example, NTW brings more to the fight than Navy Area. If, however, enemy TBMs are short-range and low-apogee, this is a moot point, for they will not be engageable by Theater Wide defenses. Nonetheless, the highest leverage hostile systems will generally be those with the longest range, able to reach out and touch political targets, able to threaten the political centers of gravity of coalition cohesion and national will-to-fight.

NTW counters this threat and counters it efficiently, by fielding a system with kinematics that allow TBM engagements in the ascent phase, during midcourse, and during descent before the endgame of area defense systems. One NTW platform can thus defend many targets on the DAL. Therefore, when faced with a robust enemy TBM order of battle and an ad hoc defense by whatever naval TBMD capability is currently deployed in theater, the Joint Force Maritime Component Commander should seek to maximize the NTW portion of the naval theater ballistic missile defense mission.

If possible, the JFMCC needs to get his NTW-capable AEGIS ships close to the enemy TBM launch areas and keep them there. Herein lies the rub. Both AEGIS cruisers (CG 47/52 class) and AEGIS destroyers (DDG 51 class) could, by 2008, be equipped to perform the NTW mission. But which ship would be more efficient at a task which is, in effect, an antimissile deterrent patrol in a distant, perhaps isolated, NTW area of negation? A straightforward operations analysis approach may prove useful.

In a hypothetical contingency, an AEGIS cruiser and destroyer are steaming in company with the CV and the AOE, having just refuelled to 100 percent capacity (98 percent available). They are both ordered to proceed at 25 knots to separate NTW patrol areas, both 1,000 nautical miles distant. Upon arrival, they are each to patrol at quietest speed in accordance with their class combat systems doctrine, until they reach a fuel state of 50 percent, with contingency authorization to remain on station to 30 percent fuel. An escorted AO will refuel them on a regular RAS circuit until they are relieved by other NTW units.

All ships have unique fuel consumption curves, and consumption rates will vary with sea conditions and degree of bottom fouling; but using the generic data contained in Class Tactical Manuals,60 the CG 47 Class Combat Systems Doctrine,61 and a recent unclassified message from the AEGIS Program Office,62 basic fuel consumption comparisons between the two AEGIS classes can be made. They are instructive.

After a 1,000nm sprint, the cruiser can remain on station at 13 knots for 6 days to 50 percent fuel, with a load on the electrical plant sufficient to keep SPY radiating at high power. Shifting the main plant to the nonstandard- configuration low speed quiet mode (by following classified information in the combat systems doctrine) should boost endurance to 7 days at 5 knots. If the decision is made to drop to 30 percent fuel, on-station time is 10 days at 13 knots, and just over 12 days at the low speed quiet mode 5 knots.

Note the reason for the high 13-knot patrol speed. The cruiser, like most U.S. twin-screw combatants with controllable reversible pitch propellers, is most quiet with both shafts powered and both props at 100 percent pitch. The Prairie/Masker system must also be aligned in accordance with the specific classified parameters in the class combat systems doctrine. Below 100 percent pitch, the props cavitate. The slowest speed the cruiser will normally make at 100 percent pitch on both shafts is between 12 and 13 knots. Low speed quiet mode achieves improved quieting, lower speed, and greater fuel economy, but at the cost of a nonstandard plant configuration that takes engineering control away from the bridge watch team.

Under the same conditions, the endurance of the DDG is strikingly different. Patrol time to 50 percent is just under 3 days at 13 knots, with about 5 days total to 30 percent fuel state. The DDG 51 class combat systems doctrine does not yet detail a low speed quiet mode configuration for the class; but if a setup similar to that for the cruiser is presumed, then endurance to 50 percent would be boosted by a day, and to 30 percent by 2 days, maintaining a patrol speed of 5 knots. Thus, at the lowest speed and lowest fuel state, the cruiser can remain on station more than 1 times as long as the destroyer. At a more responsive 13 knots and a more responsible 50 percent fuel state, the cruiser will have lasted twice as long as the destroyer—and will have done it with 35 percent more VLS cells.

While this simplistic arithmetic shows the logic of selecting the cruiser for the NTW mission, it also helps to highlight one of the JFMCC's greatest logistical challenges: the iron logic of fuel. Warships have redundant weapons, redundant sensors, and plenty of manpower. When the fresh fruit and vegetables run out, a Navy ship's galley can still serve macaroni and cheese well into the next century. Fuel, however, is an absolute. Empires were built around coaling stations for good reason, and the NTW cruiser captain who finds himself at 30 percent fuel in the face of the enemy is not going to sleep well.

To fight the theater ballistic missile defense battle efficiently, the Joint Force Maritime Component Commander should favor Navy Theater Wide systems, if he can. But in order to defend the DAL and also be prepared to establish an amphibious objective area, he will also have to retain Navy Area assets for both endgame TBMD defense and conventional AW.

By the very geometry of their missions, NTW and Navy Area assets will tend to be widely separated, as they are best employed at opposite ends of a ballistic trajectory that may extend for hundreds of nautical miles. Under the umbrella of layered defense that they provide, other ships will go about other essential missions—and they will all need fuel.

The days of the amphibious ready group and carrier battle group moving about the theater as near-contiguous blocs of military power and logistical organization have been over for some time, but the unique time-distance stressors associated with theater ballistic missile defense have the potential to overwhelm current ad hoc logistics solutions to dispersed tasking. Recent events, such as those involving AEGIS combatants in the Adriatic or UN-sanctioned maritime interdiction force (MIF) board-and-search operations in the northern Red Sea, have seen the frequent use of allied replenishment- at-sea assets and unescorted U.S. auxiliaries. Examples include everything from a Canadian Forces oiler fueling the Red Crown AEGIS CG off Montenegro to a lone USNS T-AO rotating down to Hurghada, Egypt, to support the MIF. In future contingencies involving TBMD, allied or coalition logistical support is not initially guaranteed and thus may not be counted upon to augment U.S. replenishment capability in theater at the very moment U.S. naval TBMD assets may be spread farthest and thinnest.

Even as the theater develops, the fuel problem will remain challenging. In the Phase 2 (day 70) portion of the 2005+ scenario of NTF Wargame 95B, eighteen TBMD-capable AEGIS combatants ranged the length and breadth of the Mediterranean and Aegean seas, escorting three CVNs, performing TLAM strikes and local AW, and conducting NTW and Navy Area patrols.63 Replenishment was not simulated.

If the enemy TBM effort against the defended asset list develops in a manner not anticipated by the JFMCC's initial resource allocation, then TBMD assets may have to be shifted rapidly, with the resulting full-power sprints consuming even more fuel. Knowing this, the Joint Force Maritime Component Commander must carefully evaluate his ability to carry out a robust, flexible TBMD plan while still providing his ships with sufficient fuel for safe operations and combat tasking.

VLS Capabilities and Limitations: Reload and Loadout. A warship cannot live without fuel, but it cannot fight without ammunition. As weapons systems become increasingly complex and specialized, the ability of a weapons platform to execute a given mission is increasingly tied to its reserves of a specific munition. If the AEGIS CG demonstrates superior endurance for the remote NTW mission, that advantage is squandered if the ship carries an insufficient loadout of NTW interceptors.

If all its SM3 missiles are gone after two days on-station, the CG's superior fuel reserves are rendered irrelevant. Except as a sensor or cueing platform, the ship is useless for NTW and is probably out of position for any of the other missions it is potentially capable of performing. Furthermore, unlike fuel, VLS reloads cannot be provided on station. The ship must leave its patrol area and proceed to port, perhaps taking itself out of the fight entirely.

As originally designed, the Mk41 vertical launching system and its variants have a nominal underway replenishment capability. The practical limits of this capability are sufficiently great that in the late 1980s, the Center for Naval Analyses (CNA) studied a series of possible improvements. The results of that study, driven by the old Soviet regimental raid threat, are still relevant in light of the emerging TBMD mission.

Looking at older ship classes, CNA found that "typical rates for the transfer of large missiles between ships at sea [were] on the order of two to six missiles per hour."64 In regard to VLS, "limited testing of the VLS UNREP system indicates the fleet can expect about 3 missiles per hour as a consistent strike-down rate in calm seas (sea state 3 or less)."65

However, the two most important VLS munitions in the current inventory, Tomahawk and SM2 Block IV, cannot be transferred at sea at all, since they are several thousand pounds too heavy for the launcher-installed VLS handling crane. This problem first became a major issue during Desert Storm, when hundreds of Tomahawks were launched in a matter of days, and entire VLS magazines had to be reloaded in theater.

In the TLAM strike world, standard operating procedures were developed, tested, implemented, and finally incorporated in detail into the NWP 3-03.1 series (Tomahawk Land Attack Missile (TLAM-C/D) Employment Manual).66 Referring to TLAM rearmament procedures while discussing TBMD is instructive primarily because the logistical challenges of Tomahawk and TBMD missile size and weight are similar. The Mk14 VLS canister for TLAM and the Mk21 canister for SM2 Block IV and its variants (including SM3) are the same size, and while TLAM will probably remain the heavier of the two missiles, encanistered weights are within 1,000 lbs. of each other.

NWP 3-03.1's rearming site requirements are clear:

Rearming requires pierside handling facilities, airfields and airlift capability (lower volume and higher expense), seaport and sealift capabilities (slower, higher volume, and lower expense), and trucking from seaport or airfield to pierside. . . . Any ordnance-certified mobile crane with a "power-down" mode having sufficient rated capacity, boom length and hook height may be used to load. . . . QR [Quick Reaction] teams may also be used to support loading and unloading operations at anchorage with a barge and floating crane or cross-decking operations with a destroyer [tender].67

How many tenders, both AD and AS, will the Navy actually have in 2008? Also left unstated is the fact that "double-ended" VLS ships such as AEGIS cruisers and destroyers can be rearmed twice as fast if two cranes are available (a frequent bone of contention at stateside weapons stations). With both cranes swinging canisters and enough forklifts and pier-side handlers to keep up with them, a motivated AEGIS crew can completely reload the ship's VLS systems in one (long) day. Note the optimum requirements, though: a pier of sufficient length and with water alongside to accommodate ships up to 563 feet long and 32+ feet in draft; cranes, forklifts, trucks, and/or flatbed rail rolling stock; and contiguous or near-contiguous cargo ports or airfields. Such a facility is precisely the kind of "logistics node" that the JFMCC will be attempting either to defend or seize early in a regional conflict. When in friendly hands, such a facility is a prime TBM target in its own right, as seen at Jubayl, Saudi Arabia, on 16 February 1991, when an Iraqi Scud impacted within yards of an ammunition pier berthing seven ships, a supply barge, and the USS Tarawa.68

Logistics for supplying the rearming site itself are daunting. If airlift is used to expedite VLS reloading, more than four dedicated C5 sorties will be needed to fully rearm a single AEGIS CG with TBMD and TLAM munitions.69 What must be borne in mind, though, is that the AEGIS ship thus reloaded can then protect that same airfield in order to allow the 128 C5 sorties required to move a Patriot battalion into theater.70 Furthermore, the Joint Force Commander will still be confronted with the reality of competing missions, only one of which is TBMD.

The logistical challenges associated with rearming VLS combatants in theater clarify the reason that current CONOPS tend to state that follow-on loads of VLS munitions will arrive in the magazines of deploying combatants. If VLS reloading or load "tailoring" via cross-decking will thus be difficult in an engaged theater of operations, then the initial loadout with which a VLS AEGIS ship departs home port is crucial to the combat effectiveness of that ship.

By 2008, there will be over 5,500 VLS cells arming the AEGIS combatants of the fleet.71 Competing for this finite space will be SM2 Block IVA, SM3, 4-missile packs of Evolved Sea Sparrow (ESSM), vertical launch ASROC (VLA), Tomahawk TLAM-C and D variants, and perhaps SM4 Standard load attack missiles.

Only one of these missiles, the Navy Area SM2 Block IVA, is a true multimission weapon, with capability against aircraft, cruise missiles, and theater ballistic missiles. With single-mission weapons, however, initial VLS loadout is a zero-sum game. For every missile loaded to support Mission A, Mission B loses capability.

One of the historical strengths of naval forces has been their ability to carry out a variety of missions. The maritime component is versatile, flexible, mobile and survivable, an adaptable "force package" for the JFMCC to task as required. There is thus a strong institutional prejudice toward mixed-mission loadouts for VLS AEGIS ships. These combatants were designed and built at great expense to do many missions and to do them all well. Furthermore, the true nature of any regional contingency seldom becomes clear before battle is joined. If maritime forces are to be first on the scene, then they must be capable of responding immediately to a variety of hostile challenges.

This is all true—to a point. Mixed loadouts are appropriate, but the theater CINC and the officers he may potentially task as Joint Force Commander and JFMCC should use peacetime intelligence preparation of the battle space as a tool to best match loadout to potential tasking for combatants prior to deployment. By 2008, this will become a far more complex process than that which determines the current, common 70/30 loadout split between SM2 and TLAM.

For example, if there is a significant long-range TBM threat in theater which can be leveraged by forward-positioned NTW, then consideration should be given to increasing the SM3 load percentage in AEGIS CGs deploying to that theater. The "Chinese puzzle" problem of shuffling VLS canisters around the battle group could be solved by shifting the TLAM and Navy Area missiles thus displaced to AEGIS DDGs, which in turn would be tasked with the brunt of potential Navy Area TBMD and strike missions. Every AEGIS combatant would retain the multimission Navy Area interceptor, but would otherwise "load the dice" with the single-mission missile best suited to a given ship type and the unique challenges of a particular deployment in a particular theater of operations.

Command, Control, and Intelligence

Issues of command and control contrast with issues of logistics because C2 does not answer easily to the rational power of numbers. Considered in isolation, logistical problems lend themselves to mathematical solutions, to the computational clarity of operations analysis. This is not true of command in war. Van Creveld writes: "So far, I have spoken of command as if it were solely a rational process (or rather, a combination of processes) in which information is used to orchestrate men and things toward performing their missions in war. This is not strictly true, however, since war is an irrational business par excellence."72 A significant danger when studying any new and evolving form of warfare is to be seduced into oversimplification, into generalized force-on-force comparisons, into enumeration of technical characteristics rather than operational complexities. The purpose of discussing TBMD command, control, and intelligence issues is to muddy the waters upon which the preceding logistical arguments float, and thus prepare the reader for the complex realities of warfighting that follow.

The exercise of efficient and effective command and control in war finds its counterpart and helpmate in the decision-theory art of "satisficing,"73 a dynamic, ever-evolving cycle of demand and compromise which attempts to counteract the fog of war by resolving internal conflicts. These may be conflicts of mission, conflicts of tasking, conflicts of rank, conflicts caused by lack of data, or even conflicts stemming from information overload. The commander who exercises effective command and control is the commander who can best resolve the incessant tension between conflicting missions and limited means, a tension which is inherent in all military operations.

This tension will affect the Joint Force Maritime Component Commander at three levels: above him, at the JFC/CINC/NCA level, where theater ballistic missile defense will be highly visible; at the theater level, where the Joint Force Maritime Component Commander must work out initial TBMD plans in competition with other missions and prepare for the eventual shift of the AADC and/or JFACC roles ashore; and at the individual unit level, where the JFMCC must balance the importance and visibility of the TBMD mission with the distinctly limited number of naval platforms and interceptor missiles initially present in theater.

The resolution of these tensions associated with competing tasking and levels of command must take place under the rubric of mission, the overall intent of the CINC and Joint Force Commander. Finally, the potential impact of theater ballistic missile defense on that mission can only be evaluated through the rigorous execution and thorough understanding of the TBMD-related intelligence preparation of the battle space (IPB).

Political Nature of TBMD: C2 up the Chain of Command. The asymmetric power granted an aggressor through possession of TBM capability elicits an asymmetric response from those threatened by that power. The hundreds of ScudCap missions flown over the western desert of Iraq during Desert Storm, the redeployment of Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC) special mission assets, and the dozens of C5 sorties flown to support a rudimentary TBMD area defense capability for Israel stand as testimony to this.

In 2008, the captain of an NTW-capable AEGIS cruiser positioned for ascent-phase intercept off the North African littoral could well find his single ship defending many of the capitals of southern Europe against attack by nuclear, biological, or chemical-capable TBMs.74 This degree of threat, and the potential leverage of a single ship against that threat, will resonate up the chain-of- command in a way that the conventional air warfare mission never has. The Joint Force Maritime Component Commander must anticipate both support and interference commensurate with that resonance. How he deals with this inevitable phenomenon will directly affect his ability to support the Joint Force Commander, both with theater ballistic missile defense and with the other essential missions under his purview.

The netted battle management command, control, communications, computers, and intelligence (BMC4I) architecture assumed for a 2008 scenario will be vital to the efficient execution of the theater ballistic missile defense mission, but will inevitably affect the freedom of action of every level of the chain of command, making each subject to the guidance of all levels above, delivered in real time. Nelson could not have gotten away with holding his long glass to his blind eye if First Sea Lord Sir John Jervis had been sitting at a joint maritime command information system (JMCIS) terminal in Whitehall.

Indeed, to chafe at such centralized oversight has been an identifying trait of naval components throughout history. In the joint context, however, and especially in regard to joint theater ballistic missile defense, centralized, high-level "meddling" is both inevitable and understandable, for theater ballistic missiles are uniquely "political" weapons and have been so since the first V-2s smashed into the streets John Jervis once walked.

In the simplest terms, the mission of theater ballistic missile defense forces is to safeguard areas on the theater defended assets list (DAL) as prioritized by the CINC and Joint Force Commander. It is instructive that at National Test Facility Wargame 95B, whose TBMD portion simulated the defense of southern Europe against a WMD-capable TBM threat from the Levant and North African littoral, the first priority on the DAL was the regional national capitals target set, followed by major friendly population centers, with the defense of military targets a distinct third. Similarly, in the Global '95 game, limited NTW assets were completely expended in the Northeast Asian MRC defending the population centers of an essential ally at the direction of the National Command Authority.75 These game results acknowledge the primacy of political centers of gravity in the TBM target set. The Joint Force Maritime Component Commander must be prepared to deal with the consequences.

Military forces possessing unique capabilities related to political centers of gravity tend to see their command and control architectures "stovepipe" toward centralized control by the National Command Authority. Strategic nuclear forces assigned to the United States Strategic Command (USSTRATCOM) or special mission units assigned to the Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC) of the United States Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) come immediately to mind. Naval forces have traditionally been resistant to such centralized consolidation of control, as seen in the debate over the ballistic missile submarine force during the post-Cold War creation of USSTRATCOM, the preservation of a degree of naval special warfare autonomy within USSOCOM, and, during the years that nuclear Tomahawk was deployed, the designation of that weapon as "tactical"—thus keeping the ships and submarines carrying it under Navy control.

To this day, naval doctrine espouses flexibility and individual initiative based on a clear understanding of mission. Indeed, Naval Doctrine Publication 6, "Naval Command and Control," cites historical precedent and states:

Armed with an understanding of their senior's intent, the subordinate commanders were expected to conduct a wide range of operations on their own initiative. This style of command has been an enduring characteristic of naval operations and continues to distinguish the way naval commanders exercise command and control today.76

While acknowledging the spirit of independent initiative that lies at the soul of the naval service, the Joint Force Maritime Component Commander must grapple intellectually with the fact that modern command and control technology will inevitably erode that independence. In the specific arena of naval TBMD, especially high-leverage Theater Wide defense, that erosion will be accelerated due to the overarching political importance of particular targets to be defended. NTW assets may well come under the direct control of the Joint Force Commander, the CINC, or even the NCA; and as a theater matures, the JFACC and AADC may well be consolidated—potentially putting those same ships at the beck and call of an Air Force general ashore.

The details of such command relationships represent novel arrangements for both the Joint Force Maritime Component Commander and the surface Navy. The potential of naval TBMD is so great, though, that conventional notions of naval autonomy must be respected only insofar as they bring to bear the maximum effect of these new capabilities. As with other naval assets of recognized political or strategic importance, such as ballistic missile submarines since their introduction and carrier battle groups in recent decades, commanders of naval surface assets may well have to adjust familiar arrangements to cope with new challenges. Theater ballistic missiles represent such a challenge in our age, a challenge which may require development and acceptance of new command and control relationships for maritime forces. To do otherwise is to risk marginalizing key naval capabilities in future conflicts.

The degree of connectivity and consultation demanded by the NCA for the theater ballistic missile defense mission may well exceed that now associated with sensitive special operations and peacetime TLAM strikes. When tasked as Area Air Defense Commander, the Joint Force Maritime Component Commander will be responsible to the Joint Force Commander for TBMD active defense plans. These plans will have their basic grounding in the theater-specific TMD CONOPS, which in turn will be based on joint doctrine and joint CONOPS.

CONOPS are by their very nature quite general, and plans, by necessity, are specific. The ability to articulate the plan up the chain of command will be an essential skill for the Joint Force Maritime Component Commander if he is to preserve a degree of autonomy. Specific TBMD knowledge above the theater level may well be based on CONOPS, leading to a constant chorus of secure SATCOM and teleconferencing in search of clarification and detail. The Joint Force Maritime Component Commander cannot avoid this, and should not attempt to forestall it by flooding unsolicited detail up the chain in a preemptive attempt to remain unfettered. He must plan for an ongoing, interactive dialogue unique to this particular mission, a dialogue perhaps best handled by a dedicated TBMD cadre on his staff.

Much as in special operations or TLAM mission planning, a small team set up as a dedicated node of corporate knowledge at every level of the chain of command can facilitate understanding and clarity of purpose, and decrease confusion and repetition when discussing the mission in real time. If the Joint Force Maritime Component Commander can thus aggressively and lucidly detail his plan and his progress up the chain, he decreases the very real risk that he will be bypassed down the chain by the NCA giving rudder orders directly to the captain of an NTW AEGIS cruiser.

Competing Missions: C2 at the Theater Level. During an emerging crisis in an undeveloped theater, facing a TBM-armed, WMD-capable adversary, the Joint Force Commander may assign duties as both Area Air Defense Commander and Joint Force Air Component Commander to the Joint Force Maritime Component Commander. If substantial U.S. Air Force assets are already positioned in theater, the JFACC could well be separate, although the Joint Force Maritime Component Commander might retain Area Air Defense Commander responsibilities due to his force's naval theater ballistic missile defense capability and mobile, survivable, carrier-based air power. As operations progress and the theater matures, the cycle may be completed by the Joint Force Maritime Component Commander relinquishing Area Air Defense Commander duties to the JFACC ashore. The point of these permutations is simple: if the JFMCC is likely to be the pivotal component commander in the crucial early stages of a conflict involving theater ballistic missile defense, then he must pay particular attention to the complex relationship and competing operational prerogatives of the Area Air Defense Commander and the Joint Force Air Component Commander.

When facing theater ballistic missiles, the moment of greatest danger occurs early in the conflict, due to the likely mismatch of offense and defense. The enemy TBM inventory will be at its maximum, while U.S. theater ballistic missile defense assets will for the moment be limited to those deployed in theater, unless a lengthy (and unlikely) pre-hostilities period has allowed an unopposed friendly force buildup. "Naval TBMD provides the earliest capability just when the heaviest TBM attack intensity is likely, and when other TBMD systems are still en route or present only in small numbers."77 Such a "window of vulnerability" starkly highlights the conflicting missions of the JFACC and AADC, a conflict which the Joint Force Maritime Component Commander must be able to resolve.78

The basic dichotomy is that of offense and defense. The nature of modern offensive operations drives air planners to seek diverse target sets that have a synergistic effect when struck simultaneously (e.g., local C2 nodes in combination with a regional power grid). The goal is to enhance combat effectiveness by conducting parallel operations to the full depth of the theater, shocking the enemy with a pulse of power rather than by incremental attacks delivered sequentially. In pursuit of decisive concentration, this style of operation demands a certain "critical mass" of aircraft and cruise missiles in order to bring an adequate weight of metal to bear on enough targets in a sufficiently short period of time. The Joint Target Coordination Board and the Joint Target List are established to ensure the optimum employment of this critical mass.

However, in the operational circumstance where the Joint Force Maritime Component Commander is most likely to be designated as JFACC and Area Air Defense Commander, available strike assets will by definition be limited, primarily to the aircraft on the one or more carriers in theater, and the Tomahawk inventories in the VLS magazines of their escorts. These same VLS-capable combatants will be desperately needed to redress the early theater ballistic missile defense window of vulnerability, as will be JFACC-controlled TBMD attack operations sorties.

The joint target list and the defended assets list will thus be set in opposition to each other. It will be up to the triple-hatted JFMCC/JFACC/AADC to cut this Gordian knot while simultaneously discharging traditional naval component missions such as SLOC protection, CV escort, maritime interdiction force (MIF) operations, USW, MIW, and protection of MPS assets as they arrive in theater. The challenge is accentuated by the inevitability of limited assets and exacerbated by the improbability that these diverse tasks will be geographically compatible for any given placement of the force assets.

Strike units and those conducting reconnaissance and USW/MIW sanitization of potential amphibious objective areas will tend to be well forward. NTW assets will patrol large "areas of negation," TBMD launch baskets covering thousands of square miles, dynamically determined and continuously reshaped by automated planning tools evaluating enemy TBM disposition, capability, and an optimum defended footprint.79 Units protecting the DAL as Navy Area platforms will be restricted to rigidly limited patrol areas as goalkeeper for a particular target. Ships conducting escort and logistics support missions must be able to range the full depth of the theater.

The Joint Force Maritime Component Commander is unlikely to have enough ships, aircraft, and VLS cells to fully service the joint target list, provide initial defense-in-depth to the DAL, and prepare both his forces and an AOA for power projection operations ashore. He must, in effect, continually prioritize and subject to risk analysis all of his subordinate missions as JFACC, AADC, and Maritime Component Commander in order to best support the overall intent of the Joint Force Commander.

The JFMCC must be utterly forthright in assessing his own capabilities and evaluating the tasking given him from above. If theater ballistic missile defense is a priority, and his forces are spread too thinly over the DAL, he must call for either more assets or a reduction in the defended target set.

To this end, a precise delineation of mission, from the CINC through the Joint Force Commander to the JFMCC, is essential, so that the Maritime Component Commander may reconcile his conflicting responsibilities through a clear statement of commander's intent. That statement also will provide guidance and continuity when and if the Joint Force Air Component Commander and Area Air Defense Commander duties shift to other service components later in the campaign.

Fire Discipline and Effective Defense: Unit Level C2. In future conflict, several factors may motivate aggressors to use their TBM capability early. First is the intuitively obvious theater ballistic missile defense window of vulnerability. TBMD interceptor inventory in theater is unlikely to be initially robust, especially when spread over a DAL encompassing political as well as military targets.

The other significant motivator for early TBM use is a relic of strategic deterrence theory—the threat of "use it or lose it."80 In the Cold War context of nuclear-armed ICBMs, the increasing need to launch quickly and early in any given exchange was directly proportional to the enemy's hard target "silo-busting" capability. In the context of TBMs, the equivalent of silo-busting is attack operations, the pillar of joint TBMD that seeks out and destroys missiles, transporter-erector-launchers (TELs), and support vehicles on the ground.

Joint exercises such as the Roving Sands series show that much work remains to be done in this difficult area. However, evolving sensor-to-shooter capabilities, new systems such as the pod-mounted APG-76 synthetic aperture radar for attack aircraft,81 and geo-predictive databases such as GALE (generic area limitation environment),82 developed and deployed by DIA, all show that the relative immunity of the Desert Storm-era Scud TEL is eroding quickly. Any potential enemy with a fundamental grasp of the open literature will appreciate that by 2008, U.S. attack operations capabilities will pose a significant threat to his TBM forces. Thus, if the correlation of offense and defense will be favorable to him before U.S. capabilities in theater can build up, and he understands that attack operations will become increasingly effective as those forces build up, he will be sorely tempted to launch early and often.

The initial JFMCC force structure for the 2005+ phase of NTF Wargame 95B showed an "AEGIS-rich" CVBG composition that included four DDGs and two CGs per battle group.83 A nominal VLS capacity for such a force is easily determined. Credit 90 cells to each DDG and 122 to each cruiser. Allow four cells each for vertical launch ASROC, and apportion the remaining cells 70 percent/30 percent for SM2/3 and TLAM.84 This gives 60 available non-TLAM cells in each DDG, and 82 in each CG. In a battle group with four DDGs and two CGs, the grand total will be over 400 VLS cells available for air warfare (AW) and TBMD missiles.

This is initially impressive, but deliberately simple-minded. Navy Area ships must, in effect, be collocated with the DAL assets they are defending, while Navy Theater Wide engagements are best conducted close to the TBM launch point in order to attempt intercept in the ascent phase. Ships assigned the many other missions of the Joint Force Maritime Component Commander, including escort duty, maritime interdiction force patrol, and TLAM strike may not be in position for either Navy Area or NTW tasking. Finally, real-world equipment performance must be taken into account. The demonstrated reliability of even the best complex systems is somewhat less than 100 percent.

Thus, once the Joint Force Commander and Joint Force Maritime Component Commander have completed their initial appraisal of the Defended Assets List and Joint Target List, and have decided what portion of the available naval component can be dedicated to theater ballistic missile defense (or can conduct TBMD tasking while executing other missions), the JFMCC will find his actual engagement capability to be much more modest. When set against the likelihood of a preemptive main effort by enemy TBM forces, the need for rigorous fire discipline becomes obvious.

With individually guided interceptors such as SM2 Blk IVA and SM3, the probability of kill, Pk, against an incoming target does not vary directly in accordance with the number of rounds in the air, as it would with VT-fuzed "dumb" projectiles from antiaircraft artillery. Blackening the sky with missiles may possibly boost Pk incrementally, but it will surely deplete VLS cells drastically. The netted C2 architecture projected for 2008 is correctly seen as the key to a solution for this problem; but the Joint Force Maritime Component Commander should reflect carefully on how he chooses to use the capabilities that the joint planning net, joint data net, and joint composite tracking net will give him.

The traditional naval response to limited SAM inventories has been close control of the inner air battle—in effect circling the wagons and having the Force Air Warfare Commander issue "take" orders. If the joint data net and joint composite tracking net are implemented as currently planned, the Joint Force Maritime Component Commander (as AADC) could conceivably do the same for the theater ballistic missile defense battle. This is not the intent of the netted C2 architecture.

The TBMD battle is likely to be fluid, dispersed, and sporadic, flurries of rapid launches followed by varying periods of quiet, as TELs attempt to relocate, rearm, and hide from attack operations forces. Fluid conditions in battle are best dealt with by tactical formations having good communications, a thorough grasp of doctrine, and mission-type orders that allow them maximum flexibility in achieving coordinated decentralized execution of the commander's intent. In the context of theater ballistic missile defense, fire discipline must derive from doctrine and planning rather than from centralized control by the Area Air Defense Commander. "The AADC will invoke positive control procedures to control engagements only under rare circumstances, such as defending against known WMD."85

The theater ballistic missile defense plan should seek to position NTW shooters as far forward as possible to shorten the TBM-launch to first-intercept timeline. NTW kill assessment will depend on "tactical telemetry in all missile stages and recording of essential AEGIS systems data. Additionally, it will include telemetry of kill vehicle seeker imagery to the firing ship."86 Consummation of an NTW intercept can take several minutes. Developing a plan to take advantage of early intercept opportunities will increase time available for kill assessment, and decrease pressure on other units to launch.

Preplanned responses to a "positive-no-kill" determination should follow sequentially in accordance with doctrine all the way to the area defense endgame so that no TBMD shooter along the target's trajectory is forced to fire-by-default and thus chance wasting missiles. "Decisions could be based on pre-established algorithms for maximizing engagement opportunities against specific targets or for maintaining balanced inventories."87

If correctly designed and promulgated to TBMD units through mission-style orders, the Area Air Defense Commander's theater ballistic missile defense plan should be capable of execution with minimal direct intervention. The AADC is then free to coordinate decentralized execution of the plan by remotely monitoring remaining VLS inventories, observing the enemy level of effort against the DAL, and realigning his forces as necessary as the battle progresses.

Intelligence Preparation of the TBMD Battle Space: "The days, weeks and months preceding hostilities must be used to plan, prepare and organize for the execution of TMD active defense, which is accomplished in terms of minutes and seconds."88 Execution of the theater missile defense intelligence preparation of the battle space is the responsibility of the Area Air Defense Commander.89 If the Joint Force Maritime Component Commander is tasked as the AADC, this vital work will devolve upon him to include the complex TBMD subset of theater missile defense intelligence preparation.

As component commander for the theater ballistic missile defense assets likely to be first committed, the Joint Force Maritime Component Commander must use intelligence as a vital adjunct to enhance his ability to exercise effective TBMD command and control. The Naval Doctrine Command cites five elements comprising IPB:

The structured IPB process helps the Joint Force Maritime Component Commander transition from the comfortable generalities of a theater CONOPS to the difficult specificity required for combat operations. IPB will initially raise far more questions than it will answer, but these questions will both focus specific intelligence collection requirements and help define theater ballistic missile defense within the context of the overall mission which the Joint Force Maritime Component Commander must carry out.

Specific theater ballistic missile defense C2-related intelligence issues of concern to the JFMCC include:

Impact: Maximum range will determine the rough scope of the DAL. Short-range systems with low apogees are not engageable by NTW. If the enemy TBM order of battle is short-range only, ships otherwise assigned NTW patrol areas may be retasked.

Navy Area capabilities can still be severely tested by systems such as SS-21. The limited leverage of Navy Area may increase the need for attack operations and thus make the success of the Area Air Defense Commander's mission more dependent on the Joint Force Air Component Commander.

Impact: Once the TBM/TBMD interceptor correlation of forces is made, the severity of the initial window of vulnerability can be determined, and the potential impact of the TBMD mission on the time-phased force deployment list (TPFDL) can be evaluated.

If the TBM/TBMD correlation is so heavily favorable to hostile forces that U.S. objectives would be jeopardized before the balance could be redressed, the NCA, the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Joint Force Commander, and JFMCC may have to consider the military, political, and ROE implications of preemptive attack operations.

Impact: If there is significant confidence that the enemy has both the technical capability and the political will to use weapons of mass destruction, then the Joint Force Maritime Component Commander can expect far more intrusive guidance from the Joint Force Commander, CINC, and NCA—and may wish to exercise more centralized control of the TBMD battle down the chain of command. The importance of NTW will increase with the need to achieve exoatmospheric destruction of nuclear, biological, or chemical warheads.

Impact: Has MASINT (measurement and signals intelligence) ever been successfully collected against the RV types known to be deployed? The answer will affect ship stationing. It will determine both cued and uncued RV acquisition ranges for the SPY radar and the need for AEGIS sharing of offset track data via the joint composite tracking net against challenging low-RCS targets.

Impact: The current TPT (theater planning tool) will evolve by 2008 into an automated TMD decision aid which is fully integrated into the Area Air Defense Commander's BMC4I architecture. Such a system will use projected TBM launch areas, target lists, missile types, and Joint Force Commander DAL priorities to determine the optimum area of negation launch basket for NTW patrol units.

Such areas are crucial because of the high defensive leverage of NTW with which a single ship can potentially defend many DAL targets. However, much like TLAM strike launch baskets, areas of negation cannot be considered in isolation. The Joint Force Maritime Component Commander must ensure his subordinate commanders overlay the automated decision aid output with traditional information and intelligence on water depth, bottom contour, territorial boundaries, islands, shipping lanes, and fishing grounds.

As with TLAM strike planning, preparation for the primary mission must take into account all warfare areas which may affect its execution, to include USW and MIW. For NTW ships in far-forward ascent phase intercept areas of negation, the capabilities of enemy fast patrol boats, coastal surveillance, maritime strike, and shore-based ASCM batteries must also be considered. For all AEGIS ships, historical data regarding local meteorological impact on SPY radar propagation and Navy Area interceptor infrared seeker performance should be included in the planning process. IPB is iterative, a constantly evolving game of "what if?" designed to reveal answers to issues driven by enemy capabilities and actions.91 Comprehensive intelligence preparation allows the Joint Force Maritime Component Commander to better anticipate possible enemy courses of action and to exercise effective command and control to counter them.


If the great strength of naval combatants lies in their innate ability to perform many different missions, then one of the greatest challenges facing the Maritime Component Commander will be to prioritize those missions in support of the Joint Force Commander's operational intent, and apportion his limited assets accordingly. To do so, both effectively and efficiently, the JFMCC must have a clear understanding of the operational capabilities and limitations of his combatants, and the zones of friction which exist between their competing missions.

Reality of Competing Missions. The degree of mutual interference between competing missions varies with the protean nature of conflict. A DDG providing Navy Area protection to an amphibious objective area may also be able to support Marines ashore with its 5-inch gun, and fire SM2 missiles to destroy enemy aircraft counterattacking the beachhead. That same DDG, tasked to provide Navy Area coverage for a vital port while land-based TBMD systems are off-loaded and made ready, may not be able to support the JFMCC with any other mission.

Such tradeoffs are difficult to anticipate and must be dealt with as operations progress and requirements become clear. What operational planners can do in anticipation of regional contingencies is to try to illuminate constants, "first principles" of mission overlap and conflict that do not tend to vary (or tend to vary less) as the specifics of a given contingency change.

One such constant is the mission capability of different platforms. Missions themselves are mutable, but ships and their associated systems are known and quantifiable. Conflict and friction between overlapping missions can be decreased if an optimum match between platform and mission is sought.

In a theater where the TBMD mission will be leveraged by both NTW and Navy Area, logistical considerations of endurance and magazine capacity will cause the CG to be favored for NTW tasking. Reduced radar cross-section and improved track processing in the littoral environment provided by the SPY-1D(V) radar may cause the DDG to be favored for the AOA support role. For this mission, the DDG's lack of organic helicopter capability is offset by the ability to provide support and an agile staging deck for the diverse rotary wing assets of the ARG. The DDG's less robust fuel endurance, which could be a critical liability on detached NTW patrol, may be of no consequence when operating with the battle group in the CV escort role. Both classes of AEGIS ship are versatile, powerful, and highly capable. The JFMCC and his battle group commanders must constantly review the overall intent of their tasking and ensure that class-specific capabilities are focused to best effect.

When potential friction is inherent in a mission rather than being a by-product of platform characteristics, the JFMCC must look more closely. Two critical missions that will conflict regardless of ship type will be NTW TBMD and TLAM strike. Both require ships forward-positioned in circumscribed launch areas, and both require dedicated, competing VLS capacity. Friction thus exists at the outset and must be resolved by the JFMCC and his subordinates.

This inevitable operational friction between strike tasking and NTW defense will be severe. The improved WDU-36 warhead fitted to the Block III TLAM-C is still only a 1,000 lb.-equivalent weapon and is therefore most effective in massed strikes by one or more ships, potentially using a significant portion of their available VLS capacity. Launch timelines and time-on-target windows tend to be rigorous in order to achieve maximum effect from a given "pulse" of striking power. Thus, timely arrival in designated TLAM launch baskets is critical, closely monitored by the JFACC and his Tomahawk strike coordinator (TSC). The resulting ship-wide tactical focus on strike, from receipt of the first INDIGO tasking message until the last Tomahawk drops its booster and transitions to cruise flight, does not contribute to the expeditious execution of the equally challenging NTW mission.

Of course, the impact of TLAM on TBMD can be ameliorated by maximizing the use of DD-963 platforms as strike assets; but unless the conditions of the conflict are extremely permissive, or enemy capabilities distinctly limited, the Spruance-class destroyers will still require AW protection. Furthermore, by 2008, the lead ship of this revolutionary class will have served for more than three decades. Increasingly, the preponderance of the fleet's VLS capability will be carried by AEGIS ships.

Decreasing the inherent friction between NTW and strike will require the close cooperation of the AADC and the JFACC, respectively responsible for TBMD and TLAM operations. If these duties all devolve upon the JFMCC early in the conflict, so much the better, one might say, for this would allow unity of command to foster unity of effort. A "first-cut" on the degree of mission overlap can be achieved by comparing the most likely TLAM launch baskets with the most likely NTW areas of negation as established by the Tomahawk mission distribution system theater mission library, peacetime intelligence preparation of the battle space, and the automated TBMD planning tool resident in the JPN. If these expanses of ocean are mutually exclusive—in effect, Venn diagrams which do not overlap—then strike evidently will be a dedicated mission perhaps best apportioned to a mix of DD-963 and DDG-51 combatants, with NTW tasked to CGs. Ideally, these cruisers will have been loaded out with a reduced TLAM VLS cell count in order to increase their SM3 capacity.

If, however, there is significant launch basket/area of negation overlap, the AADC and JFACC have something to work with and can attempt an accommodation. For example, how is the DAL affected if NTW ships patrol only that portion of an area of negation which overlaps TLAM launch baskets? How can the JFACC adjust Tomahawk missions so that the size of those launch baskets is increased to give maximum coverage of NTW patrol areas?

If NTW ships can still patrol effectively within a TLAM launch area, the JFACC and his Tomahawk strike coordinator can maximize the utility of such TLAM as remain in the cruiser VLS cells by assigning these ships strike missions which allow large launch baskets. TLAM mission profiles which use GPS primary guidance, or which do not require enhanced time-on-target control or precision strike Tomahawk (PST) capability, and which do not require maximum range flight past the first preplanned waypoint (FPPWP), tend to increase the size of the useable launch basket.92

Neither strike nor NTW can be considered in isolation. When their distinguishing sources of friction (launch baskets versus areas of negation) are rigorously compared, areas of friction can perhaps be resolved into areas of overlap, with multimission capability thus enhanced. The JFMCC must ensure that a comprehensive, cooperative comparison of mission characteristics and operational objectives is made, both at the theater level and by his subordinate commanders.

TBMD Action Group (TAG) Concept for NTW. The Maritime Component Commander's means to carry out a variety of missions come to him prepackaged in discrete units—ships. With a limited number of ships available in theater, and a limited number of potential reinforcements to bolster them, the JFMCC must constantly weigh the relative leverage a given mission allows him against the number of ships required to accomplish that mission.

In a force-on-force analysis, Navy Theater Wide TBMD capability often appears to give the JFMCC great leverage, with a single ship defending multiple targets on the DAL. That leverage, though, must be tempered by the real-world complications of other warfare areas and multiple hostile threats, the impact of systems reliability issues, and the concomitant requirement for systems maintenance even in the face of the enemy.

That said, the defensive leverage of NTW remains and is potentially so great that the JFMCC may wish to consider providing a robust, survivable capability through the use of dedicated, mutually supporting assets, a TBMD Action Group (or TAG Team). Such a concept is really a specialized maritime version of the generic Ballistic Missile Defense Organization construct of the active defense group (ADG), "comprising relatively autonomous packages of both sensors and shooters. . . . In general, these ADGs were assumed to possess all of the capabilities required to detect, acquire, track, engage, and kill hostile missiles."93

The advantages that accrue when two NTW ships are assigned to a single NTW patrol area are significant. Intuitively obvious is the doubling of VLS inventory and the potential for mutual support in a multithreat environment. Additionally, if continuous NTW defensive coverage is to be guaranteed, the vital issues of systems maintenance and equipment casualties can be dealt with meaningfully only by two identical platforms operating in concert.

The NTW mission is best carried out in proximity to the enemy. A littoral foe sufficiently advanced to field long-range TBMs can probably comprehend the significance of SPY radar emissions detected by his coastal EW sites. Depending on the nature of the aggressor and the characteristics of the operating area, threats posed in opposition to an NTW cruiser could include diesel submarines, ASCM-armed fast patrol boats, mines, shore-based ASCMs, strike aircraft, or even unconventional stratagems such as special operations forces deployed from merchant vessels, fishing craft, minisubs or fast motorboats. As in aerial combat, diverse challenges can best be met by two platforms covering each other while executing the primary mission.

Secondly, the advantages of mutual support are defined not only by the nature of the threat, but also by the nature of the sensors critical for TBMD. SPY radar energy is a finite quantity. As more and more of it is "squeezed" into the specialized waveforms required for TBM detection and tracking, less will be available for horizon search and other functions. This is not a new phenomenon—but the unique demands of TBMD tend to exacerbate the problem. A Navy requirement for TBMD enhancement of the AEGIS combat system is the ability to perform TBM engagements and self-defense concurrently; but TBM tracks will still require a significant percentage of total radar energy and processing power.

The human factor must also be considered. If a given NTW ship is responsible for the defense of a dozen key political targets and population centers on the DAL, all threatened by the WMD-capable missiles of a bellicose regional power, the attention of the CIC watch team will understandably gravitate toward the TBMD mission. If it does not, vociferous SATCOM consultations between the JFMCC and the cruiser CO will make it so. Training, doctrine, and deckplate professionalism can resist—but probably not overcome—such tactical tunnel vision. Under these circumstances, it will be prudent to have a heavily armed partner helping with the close-in threat.

The scouting and USW capability inherent in the dual helicopter SH-60 LAMPS detachment organic to each cruiser, plus LAMPS HAWKLINK, the joint data net, TBMD cueing from space-based sensors, and the track-sharing capability of the CEC-derived JCTN, will allow effective mutual support from well over the horizon. The lower the non-TBM threat, the more this baseline can be lengthened. Such separation of TAG platforms allows extended cooperative tracking of TBMs, as shown in the RED TIGRESS test of 1993,94 the USACOM JTF-95 TBM exercise in August 1994 and cooperative engagement capability workups of the Eisenhower battle group,95 and more recent PACFLT extended tracking exercises during 1995.96 The resulting increased tracking time will facilitate multiple NTW shot opportunities and improve the timeline for kill assessment. If, for some reason, space-based TBM launch cueing is not available, cooperative tracking by NTW ships will be vital in order to preserve an engagement window constrained by the time lost between TBM launch and first detection by the forwardmost SPY radar.

Looking toward 2008, evolutionary advances in enemy TBM technology will likely reduce reentry vehicle radar cross-section. Cooperative tracking by NTW ships on a widely spaced baseline can help overcome the RCS challenge posed by more advanced high-ballistic-coefficient ("skinny and pointy") separating RVs, by simultaneously radiating multiple aspects of the target and using a track derived from the strongest return. Such a capability also helps hedge against the eventual deployment of penetration aids on more advanced TBM systems and will facilitate kill assessment against any TBM following intercept.

The TAG concept, however, has operational value that is greater than the sum of its parts for reasons that go beyond mutual defense and enhanced TBM engagement. The mundane realities of required maintenance, systems limitations and real-world reliability are equally important.

The essential sensor for naval TBMD engagements until well into the next century will be the SPY radar. Versatile, capable, and reliable, various versions will have been in service with the fleet for more than twenty years by 2008. Like any complex sensor, though, SPY requires maintenance. The primary radar of an AEGIS ship is not brought on line at the beginning of a deployment and secured six months later. The systems test officer (STO) on a cruiser would like a few hours out of every seventy-two with the radar down for maintenance. Various "work-arounds," such as shutting down the forward or aft arrays only, and then maneuvering the ship to ensure coverage of the likely threat axis, are possible; but these are stopgap measures, and the system will eventually degrade.

Thus, if a single ship is assigned to an NTW patrol area, the JFMCC is confronted with a simple but serious dilemma. In order to remain fully mission capable, SPY must shut down periodically. Whenever it does, a portion of the DAL is put at risk for the duration of the maintenance period. Furthermore, if the NTW ship is optimally stationed well forward, an adept enemy may well detect the moment that SPY secures and thus be able to exploit the resulting window of vulnerability of both the DAL and the ship itself.

The cruiser has redundant systems which will decrease its own vulnerability, such as the SPS-49 air search radar, EW and chaff systems, CIWS, Harpoon, and the SPQ-9 radar incorporated in the Mk86 gun fire control system (GFCS). Good technicians, given warning, can also bring SPY out of maintenance quickly. However, the timeline of TBMD engagements is so challenging that even the most agile combat systems team may not be able to bring the radar back up and generate the required high-power waveforms quickly enough once a TBM launch is remotely detected and cueing data is passed to the ship.

Two ships in mutual support can decrease the impact of both planned SPY maintenance and the inevitable, unexpected component failures which occur in even the best maintained complex combat systems. Additionally, the redundant radar coverage thus provided will allow continuous NTW coverage during evolutions such as LAMPS launch and recovery, and underway replenishment, all of which require temporary degradation of SPY coverage by the ship involved.

Finally, the concept of a backup shooter for critical launch operations has been validated for years by TLAM CONOPS. TLAM pubs such as the NWP 3-03.1 series serve as useful examples of how a related mission has been exhaustively analyzed and addressed in light of actual operational experience. Some of the lessons thus incorporated are directly applicable to the NTW mission.

At least one real-world TLAM contingency mission in recent years would have failed if assigned to a single ship. Last minute combat systems casualties were operationally overcome by the use of a mutually supporting backup shooter, who successfully fired the mission. The same principles apply to high-leverage, high-visibility NTW tasking. If the ship designated to engage cannot get the shot off—for whatever reason—a second cruiser sharing the TBM track via the JCTN can respond immediately in accordance with established AEGIS TBMD doctrine and thus preserve as much of the intercept/kill evaluation/refire decision timeline as possible.

With so much potentially riding on NTW, the JFMCC should give serious consideration to the TAG team concept. The extra assets committed may dramatically increase the likelihood of mission success.

Amphibious Objective Area Protection: USMC Concerns. While the unique characteristics and challenges of Navy Theater Wide defense help illustrate the central TBMD theme of resolving conflicting missions and limited means, Navy Area defense must not be neglected. It is a complementary rather than an inferior capability, and it is essential to the pivotal TBMD tenet of layered defense. In specific areas of the Joint Force Commander's operational concept and intent, it may indeed dominate TBMD planning. Amphibious operations represent just such an area.

As Desert Storm demonstrated, amphibious assault is not necessarily required for successful power projection against a littoral objective. Indeed, as critics of the Marine Corps never tire of pointing out, a major opposed landing has not been attempted by U.S. forces since Inchon, which by 2008 will have receded more than half a century into history. However, the successful conclusion of conflict will often require the introduction of ground forces onto hostile territory, and those ground forces will increasingly require protection from both air-breathing threats (e.g., aircraft and cruise missiles) and ballistic missiles, protection which Navy Area ships can provide until land-based systems are in place to shoulder the defensive burden.

In a perverse twist of operational logic, the gradual spread of TBMs and persistent proliferation of weapons of mass destruction may in fact revive the utility of some types of amphibious operations. One of the centers of gravity which WMD tend to hold at risk is the power projection force itself. Large, relatively fixed, land-force buildups, such as took place in Saudi Arabia prior to the beginning of the Desert Storm ground war, are clearly vulnerable if they fall within the range of WMD-capable TBM systems. Operational maneuver from the sea can give the Joint Force Commander potential alternatives.

A recent RAND Corporation study of the implications of regional nuclear proliferation states: "An overwhelming operational need is to engage the regional opponent with forces that can operate effectively from beyond the enemy missile range or independently of fixed bases."97 Until the sea echelon is in place and actually assaulting the AOA, TBMD-capable amphibious power projection forces remain mobile, difficult to locate, and equipped for both active and passive defense against WMD. Once the assault begins, tactical and logistical agility are required on the part of the enemy in order to bring his WMD assets to bear on the AOA; more importantly, he will have to make the political decision to use weapons of mass destruction on an objective he is attempting to defend.

In some circumstances, then, the JFC may wish to employ operational maneuver from the sea. To do so with confidence, he will require robust Navy Area TBMD assets. The Navy's Director for Theater Air Warfare (N865) has written: "We must be able to force our way ashore even under the threat or actual conduct of TBM strikes."98 In this context, the Marines are primarily concerned with the threat posed by short-range systems such as FROG-series artillery rockets, the SS-21 mobile SRBM, and the powerful Russian-built SMERCH multiple launch rocket system (MLRS).

Roving Sands 95 demonstrated both the active defense potential of Navy Area systems,99 and the difficulty of attack operations directed against the small, fast-moving SS-21's TEL,100 while the challenge posed by modern multiple-launch rocket systems is so stressing that DoD has committed an advanced concept technology demonstration (ACTD) to address this problem.101 Recent U.S./Israeli initiatives to accelerate development and deployment of the laser-based Nautilus anti-rocket defense system have shown promise. However, until such systems and the doctrine for their employment are proven and fielded, the solution to the extended-range (70km), course-corrected, guided-submunition-capable SMERCH102 probably lies with enhanced attack operations and will thus remain under the purview of the JFACC rather than the Area Air Defense Commander. SS-21 and WMD-capable MRBMs targeted on the amphibious objective area will remain important targets for the Navy Area platforms supporting the amphibious operation.

Because of their kinematics, systems such as the SS-21 (with apogees below the minimum engagement altitude for SM3) are unlikely to be vulnerable to Navy Theater Wide defenses. These shorter range systems, however, will enter the SM2 Block IVA engagement envelope in the endgame. In 2008, the need for defense of the AOA against both manned aircraft and cruise missiles will bolster the utility of the multimission SM2 Block IVA interceptor and will thus favor a VLS loadout of Navy Area (and strike weapons, such as the SM4) for the amphibious objective area support role.

In addition to its TBMD role, SM2 Block IVA represents a critical resource for the JFMCC in support of the multitude of naval missions that take place concurrently with TBMD. In 2008, the Navy Area interceptor will be the primary AW weapon for surface combatants riding shotgun for the CV, escorting MPS ships, and protecting underway replenishment groups shuttling throughout the theater resupplying TAG teams, MIF forces, CVBGs and one or more ARGs. Indeed, this overarching need for conventional force AW protection has been a primary driver for the Evolved Sea Sparrow Missile program, since the ESSM VLS 4-pack will provide enhanced self-defense for VLS platforms, while freeing up more launcher space for SM2/3 variants.

Platforms, though, will still be a critical concern for the JFMCC. If the defended assets list must be protected by several TAG teams, and an AOA has to be defended by Navy Area-capable DDGs, the Joint Force Maritime Component Commander may be confronted by very hard choices regarding CV and URG escort—especially if a credible diesel submarine threat exists. A recent Naval Institute Proceedings article sums up the aftermath of a hypothetical enemy submarine attack succinctly: "How will the naval component commander of the Joint Task Force explain that all of his other surface ships had valid missions at the time, and that he had no more available for anti-submarine warfare protection?"103

While NTW may get the most visibility in its political operational-strategic defensive role, Navy Area will be a key military operational-tactical enabler, allowing friendly forces to regain the initiative and take the offensive. The JFMCC's operational vision (and its associated timelines) must determine how he apportions his limited assets between these two vital categories of TBMD in order to provide the force protection necessary to complete his other missions and thus fulfill the operational intent of the Joint Force Commander.

Rules of Engagement

"ROE should not delineate specific tactics, should not cover restrictions on specific system operations, should not cover safety-related restrictions, should not set forth service doctrine, tactics, or procedures. . . . ROE should never be 'rudder orders,' and certainly should never substitute for a strategy governing the use of deployed forces, in a peacetime crisis or in wartime."104 So wrote Captain J. Ashley Roach, JAGC, USN, in his seminal 1983 article "Rules of Engagement." Twenty-five years later, the TBM challenge of 2008 may force the Joint Force Maritime Component Commander to reevaluate his approach to rules of engagement as they apply to theater ballistic missile defense.

Nature of Modern Conflict: Impact on TBM Defense. NWP 1-14M, The Commander's Handbook on the Law of Naval Operations, states that "U.S. rules of engagement reaffirm the right and the responsibility of the operational commander generally to seek out, engage and destroy enemy forces consistent with national objectives, strategy and the law of armed conflict."105 ROE are shaped by operational, political, legal, and diplomatic forces,106 and thus tend to evolve as these forces change over time. The unique operational and political characteristics of theater ballistic missiles will have a signal impact on the evolution of rules of engagement crafted to counter them.

The ease of deployment and speed of employment associated with theater ballistic missiles make the transition from peace to war potentially very rapid when these weapons are available to an aggressor. This destabilizing alacrity was noted in the early days of Great Power strategic deterrence, when the first ICBMs figured prominently in pessimistic "Bolt from the Blue" scenarios for Armageddon. If theater ballistic missiles can be launched with little warning, and once launched can proceed to their targets at velocities measured in kilometers per second, then the JCS standing ROE are likely to be in effect when an initial TBMD response is required. To be effective, that response must be reactive, rapid, and robust.

Standing ROE derive from the national right of self defense,107 but once a TBM leaves its TEL, national rights, international politics, and missile kinematics collide. The missile itself may not pose any direct threat to a U.S. Navy ship capable of intercepting it, but in a "worst case" scenario, the potential humanitarian and political impact of a single WMD warhead striking a foreign capital or major population center may be so great that the NCA orders a TBMD engagement. Is this unilateral action to be justified under a loose interpretation of national self-defense as an effort to protect U.S. citizens or commercial interests in the area under attack? Perhaps, for "by the year 2000, thousands of U.S. nationals and substantial numbers of U.S. military forces will be in foreign lands and vulnerable to potential nuclear attack by nuclear-armed regional states."108 If not, though, shall the NCA then cite the inherent rights of individual and collective self-defense enumerated in Article 51 of the U.N. Charter?

These questions are rhetorical, posed to focus attention on the unique nature of the problem. TBMs may be launched with little or no warning. The warheads they are capable of carrying imply such potent physical consequences that a single successful strike could lead to a political victory for an aggressor. System velocities are greater than any other weapon except strategic ICBMs. System ranges are such that TBMs may cross the sovereign territory of uninvolved third parties en route to their targets. The obvious and troubling corollary is that interception of these same weapons may thus occur over these third-party countries, raining down post-engagement debris, unexploded warheads, failed interceptors, and possibly WMD component contaminants, ranging from fissile materials to lethal chemicals to biologic agents and toxins. Who will the world opinion hold accountable for the results: the aggressor—or an unsolicited defender?

Between now and 2008, the United States is likely to be the only nation with both the technological infrastructure and financial wherewithal to be able to develop and deploy naval theater ballistic missile defenses with more than a local point-defense capability. The NCA, CINC, JFC, and Joint Force Maritime Component Commander must carefully ponder the Pandora's box of political and legal issues thus opened.

NTW capability will vastly expand the regional leverage of the JFMCC. It also will vastly complicate the traditional "catalytic" employment of naval forces, described by Roach as overtly political tasking to "deploy units or fleets for the purpose of catalytic force without any clear objectives in mind . . . in the hope that the Navy will do something to resolve the situation and nothing to aggravate it."109 Such tasking has always lain at the heart of the "naval presence" mission, but the time/speed/distance challenges inherent in theater ballistic missile defense may well move the execution of that mission back toward the spirit of the 18th and 19th centuries. In that era, the commanding officer of a warship was expected to act forcefully in the best interests of national policy as expressed in his sailing orders, without recourse to higher authority. In the age of theater ballistic missiles, as in the age of sail, that awesome responsibility may again devolve upon individual naval officers, who may be forced to carry out defensive actions that may make national policy without prior or real-time guidance from national leaders.110

Defensive Rules of Engagement must be Permissive. True "Bolt from the Blue" strategic attacks are rare. If war is a continuation of politics by other means, then there usually is a progression of political trail blazes leading up to the point of open conflict. That these markers are often seen clearly only in retrospect shows that, while the actual attack represents merely the culmination of gradually increasing political hostility, the physical ability to achieve strategic surprise has remained constant from Pearl Harbor to Kuwait City.

In order to counter the capacity for strategic surprise and political leverage provided to regional powers by TBMs, defensive rules of engagement must be permissive. Despite Roach's dictum decrying ROE system-specificity, rules of engagement for theater ballistic missile defense must be shaped by the unique nature of the threat. The high velocities attained by TBMs and the potential consequences of WMD warhead use argue the need for very rapid, if not automatic, engagement. Normally, the counterargument set in opposition to such a permissive and deadly defensive environment involves the challenge of deconfliction, how best to prevent the possible engagement of friendly assets. However, the very kinematics that make TBMs such challenging targets also aid deconfliction. Quite simply, unlike civilian and military aircraft, there is no such thing as a friendly incoming TBM.

Furthermore, the nature of cueing systems directed against ballistic missiles entails that the actual target, or most likely area of impact, becomes clear only as the hostile missile hurtles along its trajectory. As previously explained, interception is best attempted as early in that trajectory as possible, in order to allow time for kill assessment and follow-on shots. Thus, the ROE-driven decision to engage a TBM with a Theater Wide defensive system needs to be made before the exact target of the hostile missile is known. The United States would therefore be delivering a defensive stroke without being able to articulate precisely what or who was being defended. Alliances, coalitions, treaties or the lack thereof would be rendered moot. Clearly, the legal implications thus arising from the physical characteristics of offensive and defensive systems must be fully understood and dealt with before these defensive systems are ever deployed.

One possible approach would be a public declaration by the United States, based on the same legal reasoning that guides international law regarding piracy. The 1958 Geneva Convention on the High Seas states in part that "All states shall cooperate to the fullest possible extent in the repression of piracy on the high seas or in any other place outside the jurisdiction of any state."111 The United States could argue that it and other nations have the right to contribute to the maintenance of international peace and security by unilaterally engaging theater ballistic missiles over the high seas and over land when outside the earth's atmosphere (exoatmospheric NTW intercept), for "there is no legally defined boundary between the upper limit of national airspace and the lower limit of outer space . . . [which] . . . begins at the undefined upper limit of the earth's atmosphere and extends to infinity."112 Appendix B to Enclosure A of the current Standing Rules of Engagement for U.S. Forces, while beyond the classification of this paper, is instructive in regard to this issue.113

Such a permissive, unilateral national policy would have to be carefully couched in terms clearly deriving from the well-defined international right to repress acts of violence "on the high seas or in any other place outside the jurisdiction of any state." Navy Theater Wide engagements would take place over the high seas and/or above the airspace of any nation, since this system is both sea-based and exoatmospheric. Serendipitously, when potential TBM trajectories are plotted from likely aggressors to likely targets on the current world scene, 70 percent of those trajectories cross international waters at some point.114

Successful consummation of an exoatmospheric intercept harms only the TBM and the interceptor. The SM3 warhead itself is kinetic, with a net explosive weight of zero (excluding thruster fuel). It cannot engage an airliner, bomb shelter, or baby-milk factory. Additionally, exoatmospheric intercept tends to mitigate the effects of debris on the land below, whether friendly, neutral, or hostile. Weapons components, toxic compounds, wreckage and errant interceptors will all tend to fragment, scatter, and burn up upon reentry.

ROE issues involved with Navy Area TBMD are in some ways more easily resolved. The smaller defended footprint of the Navy Area system can make its use de facto an act of self-defense by a U.S. warship, especially when employed against weapons of mass destruction, which might only have to detonate in the vicinity of the ship in order to be potentially deadly to it and its crew. Unit self-defense provisions of U.S. ROE might thus suffice for initial employment of Navy Area systems in an emergency. Planned, coordinated use of this capability by the JFMCC during the course of a campaign, however, will require a degree of international political cooperation in the framing of specific U.S. ROE, as with the deployment of ground-based area-defense Patriot units to Israel during the Gulf War.

Offensive Rules of Engagement Will Be Restrictive. TBMD active defense is a relatively "pure" form of warfare, a contest of sensors and projectiles that, if ideally successful, results in no loss of life on either side. Its rules of engagement can therefore be written as permutations of the universal right of unit and national self-defense.

However, the in-flight interception of TBMs represents only one pillar of TBMD. In the course of a regional conflict, a strictly defensive strategy will almost certainly fail in the long run. Consequently, attack operations, the aggressive interdiction of TBMs, TELs, and their support infrastructure on the ground, will be a vital part of any campaign involving TBMD. Nonetheless, under the purview of the JFACC, this portion of the overall TBMD mission is likely to have very different rules of engagement.

In the early stages of a regional contingency, the JFMCC may well find himself dual-hatted as AADC and JFACC, and will once again have to resolve fundamental operational conflicts within the TBMD mission, this time in regard to the ROE. The basic ROE dilemma that he will face with respect to attack operations is this: tactically, as AADC, he will need rapid, forceful action against the hostile TBM order of battle in order to decrease pressure on his limited active defense TBMD resources. Operationally, however, as JFACC, he is likely to find timely execution of attack operations initially prohibited by proscriptive, circumspect guidance from the National Command Authorities.

Consider, for illustrative purposes, that during NTF Wargame 95B, the Joint Force Commander:

a. Established initial TMD ROE as the right of self-defense.

b. Refined the ROE automatically to identify as hostile those ballistic missiles:

1. Determined to originate from designated hostile nations.

2. Determined to impact within the defended area of USEUCOM AOR.

3. Assessed as part of the designated hostile nation operational order of battle (OOB).

c. Held that authorization for attack on forces of designated hostile nations within the hostile nation's borders remains with the NCA.115

Specific rules of engagement were (in operational sequence):

A. The interception of a ballistic missile in self-defense (own forces within kill zone of impact point) is permitted.

B. The interception of a ballistic missile, whose predicted impact is within own territory or designated friendly nations, is permitted. . . .

C. The attack on forces of a nation which has been positively identified as having launched ballistic missiles against own or designated friendly nations is permitted.

D. The interception of a ballistic missile, whose predicted impact point is within the territory of third nations, is permitted.116

Note that all active defense-related ROE are aligned with the principles of self-defense. The NCA, however, has retained specific control of authorization for attack operations. This clearly includes the use of TLAM or other strike assets available in the same AEGIS ships that may be tasked with the forward-positioned active defense NTW role. Thus, these ships are potentially subject to two separate sets of ROE governing the actions of two different commanders, one quite permissive for the AADC's execution of active defense, the other very restrictive for JFACC prosecution of attack operations—both supporting different aspects of the same TBMD mission.

Furthermore, in the course of directing the required intelligence preparation of the battle space as AADC, the Joint Force Maritime Component Commander may find that the enemy TBM order of battle is such that his available active defense forces will be insufficient to effectively protect the most significant targets on the DAL. The AADC must then seek supplementary ROE from the NCA to allow the JFACC to mount preemptive attack operations in the face of an imminent TBM strike in order to destroy enemy capabilities and "level the playing field." The JFMCC must be confident in making the argument that justification may still be found in international law—within the concept of anticipatory self-defense.

Guy R. Phillips, commenting on the broad implications of U.N. Charter Article 51, states: "Because the article is silent on what constitutes the 'inherent right of individual or collective self-defense,' this allows the broad use of force in anticipation of an imminent armed attack. . . . The majority position supports this latter interpretation."117 When faced with critical operational risks such as an insuperable active defense "window of vulnerability," the JFMCC must always remember that the rules of engagement under which he must operate need not necessarily be more restrictive than the provisions of international law. He must be prepared and willing to argue forcefully for ROE which will realistically allow him to carry out his missions in support of the Joint Force Commander's operational intent.

On the other hand, the JFMCC must also appreciate that prevention of a conflict involving WMD-equipped theater ballistic missiles surely will rank among the NCA's highest priorities. Consequently, the NCA will be most reluctant to initiate preemptive attack operations which hold little promise of being completely successful in destroying all TBMs and associated WMD prior to their use.118 The NCA rightly and rationally will hope the crisis can be resolved without hostilities being initiated—especially by the U.S.—even under the legal principle of anticipatory self-defense in the face of imminent attack. Hence, as the Ballistic Missile Defense Organization already acknowledges: "Perhaps the most crucial period for establishing clear, unambiguous ROE is that period before the outbreak of hostilities, when mistakes could affect national efforts to resolve the potential conflict through political or economic means."119 Robust naval TBMD forces, provided with clear (and perhaps public) rules of engagement, will have great leverage as regional tools of deterrence and diplomacy. However, if either unnecessarily fettered or insufficiently controlled through the malicious effects of unsound ROE, such forces could bring about the worst consequences of the "catalytic" use of maritime power.

Long before hostilities commence, during the vital months of predeployment planning and workups, the flag officer most likely to be tasked as JFMCC must consider current NCA guidance and the latest theater CONOPS, and work through these issues with his staff, his battle group commanders, and his AEGIS ships' commanding officers. He must realistically game the ROE and the IPB, insisting upon clarification (where required) and comprehensive supplementary measures (where possible) from the theater CINC and the NCA. Only then will he be able to sail with the assurance that all concerned recognize the harmonious nature of the full spectrum of TBMD tasks—which must nonetheless be executed under possibly dissonant rules of engagement.

At the end of the day, though, the truth about rules of engagement for theater ballistic missile defense appears to be the following: While defensive ROE for active defense are likely to be clear and permissive, offensive ROE for attack operations should be anticipated to be mutable and constrained, evolving continuously throughout the course of the conflict in accordance with direct guidance from the NCA. The Joint Force Maritime Component Commander will need to make his peace with this situation and attempt to ameliorate it at every opportunity as the tactical situation develops and national policy clarifies.