The Modern Shetland Bus: The Lure of Covert Maritime Vessels for Great-Power Competition

War on the Rocks – The 2018 National Defense Strategy, directs conventional U.S. military and special operations forces to organize and prepare to counter near-peer competitors. While the threat is global, strategists recognize that the maritime environment, including global littorals, the “island chains” of the Pacific and Indian Ocean, the South China Sea, the Black Sea, the North Sea, and the Baltic coasts are all areas of expected conflict. Winning in these coastal areas and island chains will require a variety of tactics, methodologies, and specialized equipment. A modern Shetland Bus program would not address every contingency, but it would represent a Swiss Army knife-like tool that may provide flexibility and address several key needs.