Missile Merchants: Hulls in the Water, Multi-domain Missiles


On Wednesday, June 5, the Center for the National Interest hosted a small, private breakfast featuring Dr. TX Hammes, a Distinguished Research Fellow at National Defense University’s Institute for National Strategic Studies.

The U.S. Navy has not fought a major naval conflict in over 70 years, yet must now prepare itself for the possibility of wars waged over many distinct theaters of combat. In adopting to the realities of modern naval warfare, the Navy finds itself at a crossroads as it seeks to balance the need for diverse capabilities with the constraints of a limited budget.

Dr. Hammes led an engaging and important discussion about his innovative proposal to phase out America’s carriers and replace them with a large fleet of small, inexpensive missile-armed merchant ships. Not only would this proposal create significant cost savings for the Navy, but Dr. Hammes argued that it would improve the Navy’s ability to successfully wage war against any number of potential great power competitors in the years to come. The discussion centered around the benefits and potential drawbacks to such a proposal.

Gil Barndollar, the Director of Middle East Studies at the Center for the National Interest, moderated the discussion.

The National Interest’s analysis of the discussion can be found here: https://nationalinterest.org/feature/aircraft-carriers-wont-help-america-great-power-war-63537