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VIRGINIA BEACH, VA: During a decade of relentless focus on counterinsurgency, the military has let other skills erode, skills it will have to struggle to get back even as budgets tighten. In particular, the capacity of the US and allied navies to hunt enemy submarines has suffered even as potential adversaries like China and Iran have built up their sub fleets.

That’s not to say it wasn’t necessary to put Afghanistan and Iraq first — just that we’ve paid a price. “They were good choices,” said Rear Adm. Phil Davidson of the Navy’s Fleet Forces Command, speaking at the annual Joint Warfighting Conference hosted by the US Naval Institute and the electronics industry group AFCEA. “They were needed for the current fight,” Davidson went on, “but these choices were not without cost.” Keep reading →