Originally Posted by clmanges
The whole nature of fighting international conflicts has changed. We're no longer up against large mechanized armies which present easily identified targets, but that's not all. We now see factors such as "netwar," and we see cell phones as bomb triggers. We see that a good portable satellite uplink is likely cheaper than a decent piece of field artillery, and thousands of times more powerful. Your internet connection? Remember that the internet was invented by our military (DARPA), to link military computers, and is now an important part of strategic and tactical considerations.
You make a very valid point, cl. The nature of war changed greatly in the late 20th century, and it continues to change. More and more often conflicts are relatively small, regional, and are insurgencies rather than large scale, national army v. national army contests. Mahan noted long ago that the nation that controls the seaways controls the world, and that is still a valid dictum to this day. Yet today, the need is not so much for large battle groups protecting a few powerful capitol ships, but rather smaller, faster task groups assembled from less expensive (and face it, more expendable) ships armed to provide whatever firepower is appropriate to a particular conflict. I think we will see even more of that in the years to come. It should be noted as well, that the pure warmaking power--even exclusive of nuclear weapons--that may be incorported in even a modern strike destroyer is truly awesome.