Skip to comments.Gates Fires At Carriers, Subs, EFV
Posted on 05/06/2010 5:46:40 AM PDT by pabianice
In his first speech to the Navy League, Defense Secretary Robert Gates laid out a grim portrait of a smaller fleet, one with fewer aircraft carriers, few or no new submarines and a sharply curtailed expeditionary capability for the Marines.
Gates told a somber audience today that he did not foresee any significant top-line increases in the shipbuilding budget beyond current assumptions. At the end of the day, we have to ask whether the nation can really afford a Navy that relies on $3 to $6 billion destroyers, $7 billion submarines, and $11 billion carriers. On top of that, as the current wars recede, money will be required to reset the Army and Marine Corps, which have borne the brunt of the conflicts. And there will continue to be long-term and inviolable costs associated with taking care of our troops and their families. Bottom line: no significant top-line increases in the shipbuilding budget beyond current assumptions.
Gates also fired a clear shot across the bow at Marine Commandant Gen. James Conway. Conway told DoD Buzz several weeks ago that the Expeditionary Fighting Vehicle was on track and performing well and remained a core commitment of the Marines as they seek to rebuild their ability to mount major amphibious operations. And the first EFV prototype is being unveiled by the Marines tomorrow in a public ceremony.
So Gates asked rhetorically, what kind of new platform is needed to get large numbers of troops from ship to shore under fire in other words, the capability provided by the Expeditionary Fighting Vehicle. No doubt, it was a real strategic asset during the first Gulf War to have a flotilla of Marines waiting off Kuwait City forcing Saddams army to keep one eye on the Saudi border, and one eye on the coast. But we have to take a hard look at where it would be necessary or sensible to launch another major amphibious landing again especially as advances in anti-ship systems keep pushing the potential launch point further from shore. On a more basic level, in the 21st century, what kind of amphibious capability do we really need to deal with the most likely scenarios, and then how much?
While the Marines fended off efforts by Gates and others to reform their expeditionary role during the Quadrennial Defense Review, the SecDef clearly has not given up.
After Gates took on the Marines, he moved on to aircraft carriers, perhaps the holiest of holies for the surface Navy. Our current plan is to have eleven carrier strike groups through 2040. To be sure, the need to project power across the oceans will never go away. But, consider the massive over-match the U.S. already enjoys. Consider, too, the growing anti-ship capabilities of adversaries. Do we really need eleven carrier strike groups for another 30 years when no other country has more than one? Any future plans must address these realities, he said.
(Buzz readers will remember that we reported the QDR was on track to slice the carrier fleet to nine groups and the EFV.)
In case no one had yet gotten his general message that Navy and Marine Corps platforms face the axe, he made it explicit. But, mark my words, the Navy and Marine Corps must be willing to reexamine and question basic assumptions in light of evolving technologies, new threats, and budget realities. We simply cannot afford to perpetuate a status quo that heaps more and more expensive technologies onto fewer and fewer platforms thereby risking a situation where some of our greatest capital expenditures go toward weapons and ships that could potentially become wasting assets.
Lest anyone point to China and its burgeoning blue water presence, Gates laid out the arguments that the Navys own deputy secretary, Bob Work, made before leaving the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessment: Potential adversaries are well-aware of our overwhelming conventional advantage which is why, despite significant naval modernization programs underway in some countries, no one intends to bankrupt themselves by challenging the U.S. to a shipbuilding competition akin to the Dreadnought race prior to World War I.
Comparing sub and carriers to dreadnoughts must leave ship drivers bereft. After all, this is the generation that oversees the greatest, most potent mix carrier. And he hammered home just how tough both the budget and congressional environments are, saying, we have to accept some hard fiscal realities. American taxpayers and the Congress are rightfully worried about the deficit. At the same time, the Department of Defenses track record as a steward of taxpayer dollars leaves much to be desired. Then he mentioned that he would be addressing the issues surrounding political will and the defense budget at a Saturday speech at the Eisenhower library. The tepid applause that greeted Gates speech demonstrated pretty clearly that the Navy, Marine Corps and their friends got the message.
Read more: http://www.dodbuzz.com/2010/05/03/gates-fires-at-carriers-subs-efv/#ixzz0n9XLmhCh
Quidado America..they are out to destroy our strength. The Communistas must be thrown out as soon as possible before we become totally defenseless in a dangerous world.
I’ve always thought that the Navy was over-reliant on ships, too. ;o)
These people are working against us.
“Obama/Pelosi are destroying our military as fast as they can. All that money has to be fed to “social justice” groups and government union workers.”
Correct. They want a level playing field. The race to the bottom is on.
The Kenyan Clown and his circus intend to destroy our military.
As I grew older, I decided that this was not a good approach.
But I think I'm back on it now. We can save a lot of money, and we can get out of the nation building game. We just announce where the line is and then we watch carefully. We tell Iran not to test a nuclear device. If they test a nuclear device, they lose Tehran within 12 hours.
You want to save money? This would do it.
You want to have a functioning military that can respond in a graduated fashion depending on the actual need? Well, then you need to spend money.
Yep. It reminds me of the Air Force's obsessive focus on planes.
I’ll bet the Chinese aren’t having these kind of problems.
Gates is an Obama bootlicker.
It just steams my clams to read stuff like this. None of this is about adapting the military to new threat models or even about reducing the deficit. It’s solely about freeing up money for more of this administration’s domestic spending projects.
To paraphrase the late, great John Vernon in The Outlaw Josey Wales: “Secretary Gates, don’t p*ss down my back and tell me it’s raining!”
In fairness, I have to say that the Chinese have the advantage of having the US pay for their military build-up. It’s really no sweat to them.
But they’ll throw $6 Billion to Acorn with abandon.
Reference for FR civilians on the Expeditionary Fighting Vehicle:
Perhaps a smaller freebie program for votes would be a far better answer.
Social justice is a crock, buying votes from ignorant people.
What did Stalin used to call them, oh yeah, useful idiots, Obama voters. Stalin loved the words “peace, jobs and democracy” to put a happy face on his gulags and tens of millions of murders.
When a nation has poor leaders, the people will pay the price in blood. It has been so for at least three millennia.
The United States is going to learn a very powerful lesson about the nature of the secular world, if we don’t get religion and soon.