The Relevance of Sea-Power

  • James Cable


Before attempting to examine the prospective utility to Britain of the Royal Navy it seems desirable to consider briefly the general relevance of sea-power in a world that has undergone profound changes, political as well as technological, in the thirty-six years — the longest period in modern history — that have elapsed since two fleets last met in naval battle.


Naval Force Prospective Utility Naval Officer Naval Warfare Naval Power 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. 1.
    Grant Hugo, Britain in Tomorrow’s Worl. (Chatto & Windus, 1969) p. 227.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    IISS, The Military Balance 1979–80. 1979, p. 3.Google Scholar
  3. 5.
    A recent writer has given this scenario somewhat extreme expression. ‘By about 1982 it is expected that, by using only about a quarter of its total ICBMs in a surprise attack, the Soviet Union would be able to destroy all but a few of the American ICBMs, plus all SLBMs at [si.] port and heavy bombers that have been unable to fly from their bases.’ Lawrence Freedman, Britain and Nuclear Weapon. (Macmillan, 1980) p. 106.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. 7.
    John Erickson and E. J. Feuchtwanger (eds), Soviet Military Power and Performanc. (Macmillan, 1979) p. 34.Google Scholar
  5. 8.
    The Office of Technology Assessment reported that a Soviet counterforce attack on US ICBM silos would cause at least 1 million immediate deaths and up to 20 million within 30 days. ‘Quite optimistic assumptions’ were needed for estimates below 8 million. The American riposte against Soviet missiles was expected to produce between 4 and 28 million deaths. Office of Technology Assessment, Congress of the United States The Effects of Nuclear Wa. (Croom Helm, 1980) pp. 10, 84, 86 and 91.Google Scholar
  6. 9.
    Facilities for command, control, communication and intelligence are all more vulnerable than the weapons themselves and would probably suffer severely in any counterforce attack. See Desmond Ball in Can Nuclear War Be Controlled. Adelphi Paper No. 169 (IISS, 1981).Google Scholar
  7. 10.
    Henry Kissinger, Nuclear Weapons and Foreign Polic. (Harper & Row, 1957) p. 244.Google Scholar
  8. 11.
    Kissinger, Speech of 1 September 1979, Survival. November/December 1979.Google Scholar
  9. 12.
    Statement on the Defence Estimates 1980. vol. I, Cmnd 7826 (HMSO) p. 28.Google Scholar
  10. 13.
    Article 6 of the North Atlantic Treaty of 4 April 1949.Google Scholar
  11. 14.
    The Times. October 1980, passim.Google Scholar
  12. 15.
    Statement on the Defence Estimates 1980. vol. I, p. 39.Google Scholar
  13. 16.
    Article 1 commits the Parties ‘to settle any international dispute in which they may be involved by peaceful means’ and ‘to refrain … from the threat or use of force’. Article 6 obliges the Parties to regard an armed attack ‘on the Algerian Departments of France’ as ‘an attack against them all’, an obligation only cancelled on 3 July 1962.Google Scholar
  14. 17.
    Preamble of the North Atlantic Treaty.Google Scholar
  15. 18.
    Statement on the Defence Estimates 1956. Cmnd 9691 (HMSO).Google Scholar
  16. 19.
    Roy Fullick and Geoffrey Powell, Suez: The Double Wa. (Hamish Hamilton, 1979) pp. 36 and 50.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© James Cable 1983

Authors and Affiliations

  • James Cable

There are no affiliations available

Personalised recommendations