As it becomes more evident that coastal areas increasingly will play key roles in maritime security, the Navy’s initiatives to provide that
protection are well under way. Not quite brand new
anymore, littoral combat ships (LCSs) have deployed
and returned from missions. Their officers and crews
came back with insights regarding how well the ships
are functioning, as well as ideas about what the next
generation of vessels should carry with them.
In the context of the Defense Department’s increased
emphasis on wargaming, the Littoral Operations Center
at the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, Calif.,
conducted two days of workshops that addressed those
very issues. The sessions followed upon the first such
meetings, which took place shortly after the center was
established last year to, according to the center’s website,
enhance the U.S. Navy’s integration of land, air, sea and
undersea operations along the world’s coastlines.
A host of ideas emerged from the April 23-24 ses-
sions. One suggests that littoral operations — though an
integral part of the Navy’s surface community — might
be a different entity altogether from
traditional blue-water surface oper-
ations. Another indicates that some
key decisions lie ahead.
“Last year’s wargame planning
session was aimed principally at
defining what global littorals are
For these missions to be successful, everything —
waters, contiguous land areas, air space, population, mining and commerce — must be considered, Sepp said.
This year, the sessions expanded on those conclusions in an effort to determine what types of wargames
would prepare crews and ships most effectively for the
varied contingencies they may face. In time, the information garnered during the sessions would be incorporated in eventual at-sea exercises.
The Naval Postgraduate School became the optimal
place for such collaborations, Sepp said, because of its
highly respected faculty and course curriculum — particularly in the operations research, defense analysis
and mathematics departments. He cites, in particular,
the school’s military meteorology department — the
only one of its kind in the country.
The Naval War College (NWC) in Newport, R.I.,
has to turn away more than 30 percent of all related
requests it receives for wargaming because of capacity-threshold issues.
At a Crossroads’
Wargames, workshops provide means for the Navy
to determine the way forward for littoral operations
By NICK ADDE, Special Correspondent
Understanding the Littorals
The Littoral Operations Center at the Naval Postgraduate School in
Monterey, Calif., recently conducted two days of workshops to determine what types of wargames would prepare crews and ships most
effectively for the contingencies they may face in the global littorals.
■ Discussions took place in the context of Deputy Defense
Secretary Robert O. Work’s Feb. 9 directive that the services
“invigorate” their wargaming programs.
■ The information garnered during the sessions could be incorporated in eventual at-sea exercises.
■ “The point of studying the littorals [is to] move toward a comprehensive understanding of that operational environment,” said
Dr. Kalev I. Sepp, director of the Littoral Operations Center.
SPECIAL REPORT / LITTORAL & BROWN-WATER OPS