overwhelm missile defense systems. Navy leaders have to
ask themselves whether the carrier strike groups (CSGs) can
defend against such a threat.
According to Stratfor, a global intelligence firm, Iran is
projected to have an antiship missile arsenal deployed in batteries not only along its coast but also on key islands within
the Persian Gulf near the Strait of Hormuz—with the islands
of Qeshm, Sirri and Abu Musa likely harboring significant
quantities. Fired from the coast, these missiles would emerge
from the clutter of the shoreline and have a short flight time
to U.S. ships operating in the strait, leaving only a short window for defensive systems to react.
A now-infamous war game demonstrated that a coordinated, multiaxis, surprise attack in the region could easily
overwhelm U.S. troops. During the 2002 Millennium Challenge, Lt. Gen. Paul Van Riper, USMC, led an exercise modeled on the tactics of a known Middle East threat. Gen. Van
Riper applied asymmetric methods against U.S. naval forces,
using numerous small rapid-attack boats to swarm the
American vessels. The result was the sinking of 16 warships
in approximately 10 minutes. Since the challenge, Iran has
continued to upgrade its anti-access/area denial (A2/AD)
systems, introducing many new, improved antiship missiles
and developing additional tactics.
In the Asia-Pacific region, China is trying to impose A2/
AD for major sections of territory in the South China Sea.
Recently, China has gained considerable attention with its
reclamation activities, particularly on the Spratly Islands,
where it is in the process of extensive reclamation of reportedly oil-rich land. China also is building runways and placing surface-to-air missile systems on key islands.
The Chinese have cultivated an effective antiship missile
capability that poses an increased threat to U.S. naval forces
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Ships assigned to the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower
fire defensive missiles during a live-fire weapon
system test. Carrier strike groups may need
more integrated electronic warfare systems to
defend against the antiship missile threat.