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The Future of Naval Warfare with Unmanned Maritime Systems

This article published by National Defense and written by Stew Magnuson focuses on the "Unmanned Campaign Framework" recently published by the U.S. Department of the Navy. The release of this official publication further demonstrates that the Navy has not only accepted the inevitable integration of unmanned maritime systems (UMS), but has formally recognized their importance in the future of naval warfare.

As the Marine Corps, Navy, and the rest of the U.S. military phase out many of the tactics they've used over the last few decades to prepare for future operations, the various types of unmanned systems (UxS) will play a decisive role. In recent conflicts, U.S. strategies have mainly counted on overwhelming superiority of friendly forces in the air, on land, and sea. The growing threat of near-peer adversaries has caused a massive shift in strategic policies to incorporate many new technological advancements to include UMS. The Navy and Marine Corps has already put in motion plans to make the force lighter and more flexible to adapt to the dynamic threat environments we are most likely to face if conflict were to arise. UMS serve an important role in this future by allowing the fleet to be more efficient with its disbursement of manpower and other manned resources.

This article also proposes concepts such as "half of our aviation fleet being unmanned in the near- to mid-term, or most of our expeditionary logistics being unmanned in the near- to mid-term". Although I disagree this will be a reality to this degree this soon I agree that these ideas will encourage our future forces to be "even more lethal and useful to the joint force" (Magnuson, 2021).

Magnuson's article also highlights the Navy's focus on "capabilities over platforms". This approach identifies that a single physical platform can not execute missions without the necessary support structure. This includes training for personnel, communication and control infrastructure, the establishment of launch and recovery facilities, and the efficient integration of other developed technologies.


Magnuson, S. (2021, March 16). Navy, Marine Corps Unmanned Framework Calls For

‘Capabilities’ Over Platforms.



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