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Military power is projected from bases. The further away you get from a base — that is, the longer you have to fly, sail, drive, or march to get to the fight — the less ability the attack has when it actually gets to fighting. Navies get around this by using ships, which act as miniature bases. But navies are also entirely connected to land, as that is where the main base is.

There are three primary options that a navy has to reach out to places it can’t get to: aircraft, bombardment (i.e. guns and missiles), and various sorts of ground combat forces. Most of the time, an amphibious force is a way to deploy and employ a ground force either limited in size or for a limited amount of time. If they want to stay longer or get bigger, they either have to use someone else’s base or set up an on-shore pop-up base of their own. For exactly this problem, navies are now trying to come up with new ideas and technologies for Seabasing.

Seabasing is the ability to use the ships at sea as an actual base as opposed to a limited and temporary one. This is basically about the ability to shift vehicles, people, and supplies from one ship to another, or even to a landing craft, without having to go to a port to do it. One such technology is an adaptor plug that connects amphibious landing craft to a ship that otherwise must use on-land facilities to load and unload. Another technology is a high-speed vessel that gives commanders new ways to transport things faster to other ships to enhance their capability. These two developments work together to provide the very first baseline capability to form a base at sea, rather than just as a launching point for a force that needs to seize or build a base on shore.

In practice, seabasing means that a navy can land and support huge forces anywhere along the entire coastline, with fewer restrictions on location, scale, and duration. If an enemy has to defend the whole coastline with some major firepower, they’re put at a major disadvantage. Any attempt to defend an entire coastline with a ton of combat power will tie up a lot of forces, the vast majority of which will never be able to get to the fight.

Although this new effort has its disadvantages, such as still being exposed to enemies’ capabilities to attack ships whether they serve as temporary bases or more permanent ones, there’s many practical advantages in creating permanent bases deep in sea and the problems arising, such as with any other new type of warfare, will have to be dealt with as they come.

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