Free Republic
Browse · Search
News/Activism
Topics · Post Article

Skip to comments.

American aircraft carriers remain essential to commanding the seas
The Daily Caller ^ | 09/16/2011 | Robert O'Brien

Posted on 09/16/2011 11:50:01 AM PDT by sukhoi-30mki

American aircraft carriers remain essential to commanding the seas

By Robert O'Brien 1:09 PM 09/16/2011

Last month, the aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis rendezvoused in the Pacific with Carrier Strike Group-3, which is composed of the guided-missile cruiser USS Mobile Bay and the USS Pinckney, USS Kidd, USS Dewey and USS Wayne Meyer. Carrier Strike Group-3 will soon take up station in the Arabian Sea to support American combat operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. En route, the carrier and its escorts have shown the flag in the Philippines and Malaysia and sailed boldly through the South China Sea, which China has basically declared its own lake in violation of international maritime law. Both missions are critical to the United States and are possible only because the Navy maintains the capability to deploy strike groups built around super carriers such as the Stennis.

In May, I had the unique opportunity to spend several days as a guest of the U.S. Navy aboard the Stennis off the coast of California as it prepared for its current mission. Landing on a carrier deck is quite an experience but what is even more striking is the level of activity on the flight deck you see as soon as the ramp of the C-2 Greyhound transport (COD) is lowered. F-18 Hornet and Super Hornet fighters, E-2 Hawkeye surveillance planes, EA-6 Prowler and EA-18 Growler electronic warfare aircraft, CODs and Sea King helicopters taxi, take off, land and park on the warship’s four and a half acre flight deck. It is all choreographed by scores of young sailors in colored helmets and jerseys, who dart in and out of the traffic.

While I was on board, the strike group was assessed for performance in a strait transit exercise. California’s Channel Islands were a stand-in for the Strait of Malacca. A military contractor was the opposing force and deployed small speedboats to harass the warships in simulated attacks by pirates or an enemy such as Iran that employs such tactics. The strike group used air and surface assets as well as helicopter-borne special operators to successfully handle the scenario.

No navy in the world can put to sea a ship comparable to the 100,000-ton-displacement Stennis or its 10 sister carriers, which are powered by two nuclear reactors, carry 85 aircraft and are crewed by 5,400 sailors and aviators when their air wings are embarked. It is for this reason that in a crisis, the first question asked by an American president is, “Where are the carriers?” It is the reason that our ally the Philippines welcomed the Stennis and its escorts into the neighborhood last month as a counterweight to the region’s assertive superpower, China. It is the reason our commanders in Afghanistan and Iraq can send soldiers and marines into desolate and hostile environments. They rely on fighters launched from the Stennis to deliver ordinance, on demand, to support their missions. These carrier-based aircraft do not require bases in the war zone or in nearby fickle allied nations. It’s why China has been developing anti-access and sea-denial strategies to deter the United States from sending its carriers into the Western Pacific.

Senior Navy commanders have told me that it seems like China is launching a new attack submarine every month. The fact is that the Chinese submarine fleet, which constitutes a serious threat to our carriers and other surface ships, is growing at a rapid pace and is employing increasingly sophisticated technology. Unfortunately, America’s anti-submarine warfare (ASW) capability has atrophied since the end of the Cold War, when U.S. ships and ASW skills were at their peak. China’s carrier-killer anti-ship ballistic missile, the Dong Feng 21D, has achieved some level of operability and is potentially a game-changing threat to American carriers in the region. Unfortunately, our carriers have not had a strike bomber tailored to taking out enemy missile sites since the Navy retired the A-6 Intruder in 1997. Its anticipated replacement, the A-12 Avenger II, was cancelled in a cost-cutting move.

The Navy faces other challenges. The fleet is the smallest since WWI and is 20 ships below the minimum level of 313 that Congress has deemed necessary for the service to carry out its missions. The USS Enterprise, famous in pop culture for starring in “Top Gun” and “The Hunt for Red October,” is being retired shortly with no carrier to replace it in the near term. Most of the Navy’s guided missile cruisers have had cracks in their hulls. Many of the Navy’s and Marine Corps’ frontline F-18 fighters have flown thousands of hours past their intended lifespans. The aircraft’s replacement, the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, is behind schedule, over-budget and may be on the chopping block in the latest round of defense budget cutting.

The United States Navy, built around unrivaled aircraft carriers such as the USS John C. Stennis, has kept the peace, secured the sea lanes that allow us to trade, protected our allies and punished our enemies for the better part of a century. The officers, NCOs and seamen I met on my recent embark are professional, dedicated to their service and have high morale. They possess the skills and warrior attitude to take on any foe or respond to any contingency. We can rightly be proud of these men and women. It is up to us to ensure that they have the warships, aircraft and weapon systems to accomplish their missions. Especially now in the face of the congressional super-committee defense cuts or possible mandatory sequestration of defense funds, it is critical that we do not fail them and our nation.

Robert C. O’Brien is the managing partner of Arent Fox LLP Los Angeles. He is a former U.S. Representative to the United Nations. Robert can be followed on Twitter @robertcobrien and on his web page at www.robertcobrien.com.


TOPICS: Foreign Affairs; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: aircraftcarrier; cvn; navair; navy; usn

1 posted on 09/16/2011 11:50:12 AM PDT by sukhoi-30mki
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | View Replies]

To: sukhoi-30mki

Command the seas? Are you serious?

Americans want to command their smart phones, while watching the Kardashians.

We can’t afford our navy, and it will gradually be mothballed.

Then we can do as China tells us to do.


2 posted on 09/16/2011 11:56:02 AM PDT by brownsfan (Aldous Huxley and Mike Judge were right.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: sukhoi-30mki

Don’t let Obama know how much we need carriers. He’ll cut their budgets, and redistribute the funds to union jobs and green energy.


3 posted on 09/16/2011 11:57:06 AM PDT by pallis
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: brownsfan

I am pro-military, but I don’t see how when we are in as much debt as we are, we need 11 carrier groups when the most any other country can muster up is 1.


4 posted on 09/16/2011 12:03:13 PM PDT by rokkitapps ( Hearings on healthcare waivers NOW! (If you agree make this your tagline))
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 2 | View Replies]

To: sukhoi-30mki
Aforementioned hull crack USS Princeton CG59... Photobucket
5 posted on 09/16/2011 12:05:00 PM PDT by RitchieAprile
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: brownsfan

I served on board two carriers; theRanger and the Kennedy.


6 posted on 09/16/2011 12:05:02 PM PDT by brivette
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 2 | View Replies]

To: brownsfan

There have always been idiots in this country, but to call Americans idiots in general is a disgrace.


7 posted on 09/16/2011 12:05:10 PM PDT by NowApproachingMidnight (“Civilizations die from suicide, not murder.")
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 2 | View Replies]

To: NowApproachingMidnight

“There have always been idiots in this country, but to call Americans idiots in general is a disgrace.”

52% of Americans voted for Obama. That’s a majority.

I rest my case.


8 posted on 09/16/2011 12:07:34 PM PDT by brownsfan (Aldous Huxley and Mike Judge were right.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 7 | View Replies]

To: brownsfan
"Swish.." Nothing but net.

It is hard to accept for some, but a brief look at the "popular culture" is very grim. The votes for Zero are indeed just another indicator.

9 posted on 09/16/2011 12:14:48 PM PDT by doorgunner69
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 8 | View Replies]

To: brownsfan

“52% of Americans voted for Obama. That’s a majority. I rest my case.”

The court is adjourned. Sad, isn’t it. Clearly half the country supported that idiot.


10 posted on 09/16/2011 12:19:15 PM PDT by CodeToad (Islam needs to be banned in the US and treated as a criminal enterprise.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 8 | View Replies]

To: RitchieAprile

A close-up view of a crack in the hull of the Aegis-guided missile cruiser USS PRINCETON (CG-59), part of the damage sustained when the vessel struck an Iraqi mine while on patrol in the Persian Gulf on February 18th in support of Operation Desert Storm. The incident resulted in the injury of three crew members and also inflicted propeller damage on the ship, however, the Princeton was still able to navigate and operate its weapons systems.


11 posted on 09/16/2011 12:19:55 PM PDT by al baby (Is that old windbag still on the air ?)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 5 | View Replies]

To: rokkitapps
"I am pro-military, but I don’t see how when we are in as much debt as we are, we need 11 carrier groups when the most any other country can muster up is 1"

Aside from the fiscal ability to project power,one must also wonder,given the evolution of asymmetrical warfare and the proliferation of small missile technology among the second and third worlds, if carriers will be highly vulnerable in future conflicts? Will or should the ability to project air power from outer space be the military doctrine of the future?

12 posted on 09/16/2011 12:23:21 PM PDT by buckalfa (Confused and Bewildered With a Glass Half Empty)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 4 | View Replies]

To: sukhoi-30mki

“...and Sea King helicopters taxi, take off, land and park on the warship’s four and a half acre flight deck”

I live in San Diego and I have not seen a Sea King helicopter in years.


13 posted on 09/16/2011 12:24:17 PM PDT by forgotten man (forgotten man)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: brivette

I was on the Kennedy and the FID...(Forrestal for you non navy types)


14 posted on 09/16/2011 12:30:54 PM PDT by joe fonebone (Project Gunwalker, this will make watergate look like the warm up band......)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 6 | View Replies]

To: brownsfan
52% of Americans voted for Obama. That’s a majority.

I rest my case.

52% of 131.3 million voters, not 52% of 300+ million Americans.

68.28 million Americans are idiots, which is only 22% or so of Americans.

15 posted on 09/16/2011 12:36:06 PM PDT by Tatze (I reject your reality and substitute my own!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 8 | View Replies]

To: brivette

I was aboard the Nimitz and Carl Vinson with VA-35.


16 posted on 09/16/2011 12:38:58 PM PDT by dis.kevin (Dry white toast)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 6 | View Replies]

To: Tatze
Well, I don't want to be the Devil's advocate, but the almost one hundred fifty million people that did not vote (and who were able to) are even dummer...
17 posted on 09/16/2011 12:41:06 PM PDT by ToxicMich
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 15 | View Replies]

To: sukhoi-30mki

Obama: “Where are the carriers?”

Aide: “At the piers, where you ordered them.”


18 posted on 09/16/2011 12:43:04 PM PDT by mrsmith
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: rokkitapps

“I don’t see how when we are in as much debt as we are, we need 11 carrier groups “

Well, when we deliver goods overseas we’ll need to protect them from being confiscated on the seas by our creditors.
Convoy duty in the post-Obama world...


19 posted on 09/16/2011 12:47:10 PM PDT by mrsmith
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 4 | View Replies]

To: Tatze

“68.28 million Americans are idiots, which is only 22% or so of Americans.”

Do you really want to fight this fight?

Population: 300 million.
Number of eligible voters: 213 million
Turnout: 132 million
Obama votes: 68 million

213 - 132 = 81 million who didn’t vote. I submit to you, that anyone who didn’t vote in that election is as dumb as an Obama voter.

So, out of 213M eligible voters, 149M are not deep thinkers. That’s roughly 70% of Americans who aren’t really paying attention.

And of those under 18... many of them are being raised by that 70%.

Trying to defend an indefensible position isn’t a good move.


20 posted on 09/16/2011 12:52:04 PM PDT by brownsfan (Aldous Huxley and Mike Judge were right.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 15 | View Replies]

To: al baby

covered under the warranty? or does taking her into harms way invalidate it?


21 posted on 09/16/2011 1:03:57 PM PDT by RitchieAprile
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 11 | View Replies]

To: magslinger

ping


22 posted on 09/16/2011 1:10:58 PM PDT by Vroomfondel
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: brownsfan

[ 52% of Americans voted for Obama. That’s a majority. ]

Some of that could be voter fraud.. How Much?..
Nobody knows.. The FBI doesn’t investigate voter fraud..
Which is strange.. even suspicious..


23 posted on 09/16/2011 1:21:38 PM PDT by hosepipe (This propaganda has been edited to include some fully orbed hyperbole...)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 8 | View Replies]

To: Vroomfondel; SC Swamp Fox; Fred Hayek; NY Attitude; P3_Acoustic; investigateworld; lowbuck; ...
SONOBUOY PING!

Photobucket Click on pic for past Navair pings. Post or FReepmail me if you wish to be enlisted in or discharged from the Navair Pinglist. The only requirement for inclusion in the Navair Pinglist is an interest in Naval Aviation. This is a medium to low volume pinglist.

24 posted on 09/16/2011 1:57:45 PM PDT by magslinger (To properly protect your family you need a bible, a twelve gauge and a pig.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: sukhoi-30mki

How? They can no longer do effective ASW. Chinese subs will sink our carriers in the first week of our next war with them.


25 posted on 09/16/2011 2:54:48 PM PDT by pabianice (")
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: mrsmith; cva66snipe
Obama: “Where are the carriers?” Aide: “At the piers, where you ordered them.”

Dick Cheney and Poppy Bush were almost as bad.

To generate a "peace dividend" for their Park Avenue taxpaying clients (the only people in the world, I swear, that old Poppy and Dick ever really cared about), they tried to demob all the big heavy divisions in Germany, they did demob the battleships, they called off the midlife SLEP rebuilds for several oil-burning carriers like the America and Saratoga and instead "ran them to death" in the testimony of some FReepers who were there and saw it happen, almost killed off the Seawolf SSN program (some Congressional advocates kept the program alive, fearing a loss of SSN-building capability Stateside), built down the Air Force fighter and ICBM wings, and killed the F-14 program, Cheney not only cancelling the program but actually ordering Grumman to cut up the jigs and dies for the airframe so the program could never be resuscitated, to "discipline" defense contractors by singling out Grumman for nonjudicial punishment.

There was much else that they did in the name of blue-haired Manhattan and Connecticut ladies, but that is about the guts of it.

Those guys were 1920's-style "wooden gun" defense-cutters, but nobody ever gave them a demerit for it (outside DoD) because the MSM liebots gave them a Red-ideological hall pass.

26 posted on 09/17/2011 12:11:37 AM PDT by lentulusgracchus (Concealed carry is a pro-life position.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 18 | View Replies]

To: sukhoi-30mki

USS Oriskany and USS Nimitz.


27 posted on 09/17/2011 6:26:12 AM PDT by CPOSharky (The only thing straight, white, Christian males get is the blame for everything.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: brownsfan

“52% of Americans voted for Obama. That’s a majority.”

Well, since you rest your case on that, let me dissect it for you. Only approx. 40 pct of Americans voted. 52% of that would be around 21 pct of Americans that voted for Obama. Also, considering he got upwards of 90 pct of the black vote, the real number is far less. And, we all know the reasons people voted for him, not the least of which was white guilt.

You really need to be more considerate of you fellow patriot Americans with your broad brush strokes and attempts at revisionism.


28 posted on 09/17/2011 10:48:00 AM PDT by NowApproachingMidnight (“Civilizations die from suicide, not murder.")
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 8 | View Replies]

To: sukhoi-30mki
A shot from the deck:
29 posted on 09/17/2011 10:51:30 AM PDT by NowApproachingMidnight (“Civilizations die from suicide, not murder.")
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: doorgunner69

You’re an American, right? Are you and idiot too?
I’m not saying no Americans are idiots, he is saying ALL Americans are idiots. Pretty easy to say that is an over-generalization.


30 posted on 09/17/2011 10:54:53 AM PDT by NowApproachingMidnight (“Civilizations die from suicide, not murder.")
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 9 | View Replies]

To: namsman

Ping!


31 posted on 09/17/2011 11:07:55 AM PDT by SW6906 (6 things you can't have too much of: sex, money, firewood, horsepower, guns and ammunition.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: NowApproachingMidnight

That’s probably the biggest picture that I’ve seen over here in ages.


32 posted on 09/18/2011 5:53:26 AM PDT by sukhoi-30mki
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 30 | View Replies]

To: ToxicMich

"Well, I don't want to be the Devil's advocate, but the almost one hundred fifty million people that did not vote (and who were able to) are even dummer..."

"Dummer" ?...

33 posted on 09/18/2011 9:32:49 AM PDT by Qbert ("The best defense against usurpatory government is an assertive citizenry" - William F. Buckley, Jr.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 17 | View Replies]

To: lentulusgracchus
they did demob the battleships, they called off the midlife SLEP rebuilds for several oil-burning carriers like the America and Saratoga and instead "ran them to death" in the testimony of some FReepers who were there and saw it happen, almost killed off the Seawolf SSN program (some Congressional advocates kept the program alive, fearing a loss of SSN-building capability Stateside)

Ok, taking these on at a time.

The battleships were great, but were single mission platforms and with the advent of GPS-guided bombs their raison d'etre went away. B-1s, B-2s and B-52s that can strike targets with greater precision than their 16" rifles and in any weather, with cruisers, destroyers and submarines that can carry a LOT more Tomahawks than they could.

Saratoga was SLEP'd. Was the first carrier to be SLEP'd as a matter of fact. However, she also helped proved that the SLEP program (which was initiated under Reagan) was deeply flawed in the sense that it expected too much from ships that were still extremely geriatric. My understanding is that the only really successful SLEP was Independence ... and her because she was given a mini-SLEP by the Yokosuka yard workers (who were horrified by what they found) as soon as she became the forward-deployed deck.

There was a valid case to be made that pumping $$$ into getting the Connecticut and Jimmy Carter into service helped preserve the sub-building industrial base. However, it should also be noted that the Seawolf-class SSNs were not designed for the post-Cold War environment that we've faced and while incredibly quiet are are also pretty limited in capability - even more than the VLS 688i subs. As a result of the termination of the Seawolf program the US has gotten a MUCH superior submarine for current and projected threats ... the Virginia Class SSNs.

As to the other items, the longer maturation of systems like the F-22 and V-22 have arguably produced better and more consistent overall operational fleets of those aircraft. IOW instead of having multiple evolutionary subtypes (like the A and C versions of the Hornet, which then evolved into the night attack optimized F/A-18D and the E/F/G series, or the A/C/E versions of the F-15) we have an overall consistent fleet.

I'm drawn on the F-14. Yup, Dick Cheney was a flaming a**hat for what he did, and yes the F-14 had better individual aircraft performance than the SuperBug ... but the SuperBug is capable of generating a lot more sorties at a lower cost than even the projected follow-on Tomcat variants could have. (fewer maintenance hours per flight hour)
34 posted on 09/18/2011 10:34:54 AM PDT by tanknetter
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 26 | View Replies]

To: sukhoi-30mki

Lehman rocks Navy with complaints about political correctness

http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2011/sep/18/lehman-rocks-navy-complaints-about-political-corre/print/


35 posted on 09/18/2011 11:56:00 AM PDT by KeyLargo
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Qbert
"Dummer" ?...

Oh... Yeah... Bummer... :-)

36 posted on 09/18/2011 12:21:04 PM PDT by ToxicMich
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 33 | View Replies]

Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.

Free Republic
Browse · Search
News/Activism
Topics · Post Article

FreeRepublic, LLC, PO BOX 9771, FRESNO, CA 93794
FreeRepublic.com is powered by software copyright 2000-2008 John Robinson