Skip to comments.Obama’s Unready Navy: Multi-decade neglect has sent our Navy into decline
Posted on 10/24/2012 6:52:29 AM PDT by SeekAndFind
Barack Obama has never understood why we must maintain a strong Navy or why the decline in the number of ships is such a big deal. He cited the advanced technology of our equipment in his condescending and arrogant quip after Romney raised the issue. Obamas sneering response We have these things called aircraft carriers where planes land on them. We have these ships that go underwater, nuclear submarines completely missed the point.
In citing high technology, Obama gave us a display of brazen hypocrisy at its finest. On his watch, the Department of Defense has been cutting procurement programs such as the F-22 and the Expeditionary Fighting Vehicle. In both cases, our military personnel must now make do with aging alternatives (the F-15C and AAV-7 family of vehicles). The F-15 entered service in 1976, the AAV-7 in 1972. By the 2016 election, both of these systems will be 40 years old, and expected to still be in service for as much as a decade. So much for relying on new technology Obama has halted production of the high-tech replacements.
The Obama administrations neglect of the Navy can be typified by the early retirement of the USS Enterprise (CVN 65) and its plans to decommission other naval assets. In August of this year, I outlined on NRO why the Enterprise should remain in service, but the Big E is only the most prominent asset slated for premature retirement. The administration also plans to decommission and scrap six Ticonderoga-class cruisers, although the vessels have as many as 15 years of service life left (even without further overhauls). Maintaining freedom of the seas requires hulls in the water and the Navy hasnt even started building the replacements for these cruisers. At present, all we have is a design study called CGX, which may or may not enter production.
This is one area where Obama is particularly culpable: His administration, in an effort to cut costs, proposed the retirement of the USS Enterprise (which his allies in Congress passed in 2009) and the six cruisers. Numerous crises are heating up around the world, as recent events show, but there is no indication that Obama has reconsidered these retirement plans. Certainly, it would not be hard to halt the retirements, and extenuating circumstances clearly warrant a supplemental appropriations bill. None of our carriers or submarines no matter how high-tech they are are capable of covering the Persian Gulf and South China Sea at the same time, or the Mediterranean Sea and the Korean Peninsula simultaneously.
Obama and his allies in Congress talk about cutting the defense budget in order to spur nation-building at home. Accordingly, they have accelerated the decline, begun in 1991, of the U.S. Navys ship totals. What they fail to mention is the fact that Chinas defense budget has at least quadrupled since 2000. China is becoming more aggressive around the Senkaku Islands and the South China Sea, in disputes with American allies such as Japan and the Philippines, and they have just commissioned their first aircraft carrier. The Chinese build-up, including new planes, stands in stark contrast to the Obama administrations negligence in failing to keep the Navy properly maintained.
As the Chinese buy new ships, planes, and armored vehicles, the United States under Obama seems content to stand still. At the very least, the nation should have a quantitative edge in the latest weapons. To that end, the administration should halt the retirement of equipment (including planes and ships) and also build new equipment. If he does not follow this path, Obama will have made Americas task in a potential war with China more difficult.
In World War II, when the United States built a navy second to none, our military had a running start with the Naval Expansion Act of 1938 and the Two-Ocean Navy Act of July 1940 bills passed long before the attack on Pearl Harbor. But even with that running start, most of those ships did not arrive on the front lines until mid-1943 or later, and many sailors and Marines paid the price in blood for Americas failure to prepare. Who will pay the price today, in the event of military conflict?
New naval construction and the overhauling of older assets also have an important side benefit: new jobs. Spending dollars this way is not the weaponized Keynesianism that critics decry. Its simply a prudent investment certainly more prudent than the taxpayer dollars lavished on Solyndra, A123, and other green-energy investments.
Ultimately, the neglect of the United States Navy has been a multi-decade scandal. Romney is to be commended for proposing to rectify this disgraceful situation, although the 313-ship-force level is still only a little more than half the total of the 600-ship Navy that was able to send six carriers to the Persian Gulf for Operation Desert Shield/Desert Storm. In this case, Romneys proposed build-up is a starter home for rebuilding the Navy but much more will need to be done.
Harold Hutchison is the author of the novel Strike Group Reagan.
My recently retired Father built nuclear subs, then surface ships for Litton Ind for 30 years. Then he built them for Northrop Grummand for five more before he retired.
You don’t want to hear what he has to say about Northrop! Could he be a little old school and grumpy? Maybe, but he still has the same opinion after a few bourbons which means he’s telling the truth!
See, Obama knows about submarines. He really has been paying attention at those intelligence briefings! Take that, you Obama-bashers!
The Modern DECLINE of MY United States Navy BEGAN with George HW Bush and HIS SEC DEFENSE CHENEY.
I was happy to hear Romney point out that the strategy used to be that we could fight two wars simultaneously, but since the 0bama regime took power, one is the limit. I was disappointed that it wasn't pointed out that our troops have been stretched to the limit with many having served 5, 6 or more deployments to the combat zones.
456 P-3s to be replaced by 40 P-8s (if that many). Mine warfare ships to be eliminated. Good luck with that.
Pretty embarassing lack of knowledge by the author here; CGX has been dead for years, and the cruisers will be replaced by the DDG-51 Flight III with the AMDR radar, currently being designed with construction beginning in 2016.
There are a lot of flaws with Flight III (it's going to be incredibly cramped as the DDG-51 hull isn't big enough, and it won't be remotely as capable as CGX) but if you're writing about the Navy for a major website like NRO you should know this stuff.
As much as this guy may be right overall, he loses all credibility the moment he talks about how the Enterprise is being retired early.
The ship was designed for a 25 year service life and is now 50 years old. Her infrastructure is deteriorating, with the worst part being the brittleness in her reactor vessels.
I know people who have recently served on the Ghettoprise. Or the Enterprison. Or the Mobile Chernobyl. The ship has performed phenominal service to this nation far beyond what she was designed for. She’s been rode hard and will be put away wet. The only shame if the situation is that she won’t be saved as a museum.
Sponsoring FReepers are contributing
$10 Each time a New Monthly Donor signs up!
Get more bang for your FR buck!
Click Here To Sign Up Now!
In addition we led the charge for open homosexuality in the services
Will they have the “Richard Danzig” requirements fulfilled? Specifically coed quarters, reduced standards for the females, and I suppose the “Maubus” areas so the sodomites can service each other while out to sea?
That is correct. This is a bi-partisan effort.
Submarines are not ships. They are boats.
And the crossdressers and transsexuals are vying for military service.
Yes, I know the reason (it's impossible to remove the reactor vessels without slicing the hull up) and the logic is sound. I don't care. The ship should be saved, if for no other reason than to atone for the national sin of scrapping her namesake USS Enterprise CV-6.
RE: Submarines are not ships. They are boats.
But aren’t ships, boats?
All ships are boats but not all boats are ships.
Dictionary definition: A boat is a watercraft of any size designed to float or plane, to provide passage across water.
Navy 101: Ships have a pointy end and a blunt end.
Exactly like the previous Obama, Jimmy Carter. The saying we he had back then was “the two things a naval officer needs to learn are Russian and life boat drill”.