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The Navy Needs Small but Highly Capable Warships

Austin Bay on

In 2004, ignorant media crucified then-Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld for stating a historical truth about warfare.

Here's Rumsfeld's very pertinent quote: "You go to war with the army you have, not the army you might want or wish to have at a later time."

In 2024, immediate crises demonstrate Rumsfeld's wisdom -- which is a reminder and a warning.

In late January, Britain's Royal Navy demonstrated a navy goes to war with whatever it has -- even when what it has can't quite accomplish the mission.

According to the Daily Telegraph, the HMS Diamond, a destroyer, was part of an allied flotilla conducting operations to stop Yemen's Houthi rebels from attacking commercial ships in the Red Sea. However, the British warship didn't have "the capability to fire at land targets" -- meaning it didn't have land attack missiles aboard, the weapon of choice to strike Houthi drone and missile launch sites located away from the coast.

HMS Diamond wasn't useless and it isn't useless. It is a Type 45 air defense destroyer. It has a 4.5-inch gun (artillery) and anti-air/anti-missile missiles, which it used to shoot down Houthi drones targeting ships at sea.

 

One source says HMS Diamond will be retrofitted with a strike missile sometime in late 2024. But right now, at this moment, in a threatened sea zone, HMS Diamond can't conduct a deep strike offensive mission, like U.S destroyers in the area armed with land attack missiles.

You go to war with the navy you have.

If American air and naval power were unleashed, the Houthis would disappear -- especially if the air component includes U.S. Air Force heavy bombers. They leave large, deep craters.

However, Iranian proxies, and for that matter, Iran, are sideshows.

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