Skip to comments.The Navy Is Dropping Down to Just Two Deployed Carriers
Posted on 01/25/2014 7:09:17 PM PST by ClaytonP
The U.S. Navy is about to cut in half the number of aircraft carriers it keeps ready for combat. Starting in 2015, just two American flattops will be on station at any given time, down from three or four today.
The change is spelled out in a presentation by Adm. Bill Gortney, head of Fleet Forces Command. The U.S. Naval Institute published the presentation on its Website on Jan. 24.
The new Optimized Fleet Response Plan represents an effort to standardize training, maintenance and overseas cruise schedules for the Navys 283 front-line warships, in particular the 10 nuclear-powered carriers.
The OFRP is also meant to save money and keep the Navy functioning under budget cuts mandated by the sequestration law. But to be clear, even after the change the Navy will still deploy more, bigger and better ships than any other maritime force in the world.
Warships will adopt a 36-month calendar. In each three-year cycle, a ship will sail on patrol once for eight months. All required maintenance, training, evaluations and a single eight-month deployment will be efficiently scheduled, Gortney claimed.
That means less than a quarter of the combat fleetpossibly fewer than 70 shipswill be deployed at any given time, down from 81 today. The Navy keeps around two-thirds of its combat power in the Pacific, equal to around 45 deployed ships under the OFRP.
Fewer frontline ships will be on patrol under the new plan, but those shipsand their crewsshould be in better condition, having spent more time at home for training and refit, Gortney claimed. The Optimized Fleet Response Plan has been developed to enhance the stability and predictability for our sailors.
Sailing less often also helps the Navy shift funding into ship maintenance, a traditionally under-funded but vital activity that ensures vessels can serve for their entire 30-to-50-year planned lifespan.
But the undeniable fact is that there will be fewer Navy ships near potential hot spots starting next year. Based on historical patterns, its likely the Navy will keep one aircraft carrier in the Western Pacific near China and another in the Indian Ocean and Persian Gulf to watch over Iran.
U.S. flattops will be routinely absent from the rest of the worlds oceans, although the Navy will also be able to deploy two assault ships carrying helicopters and Harrier or Joint Strike Fighter jump jetsmini-carriers, in a sense.
Moreover, the OFRP standardizes and enlarges carrier strike groups, concentrating the smaller deployed fleet into fewer but bigger formations. These CSGs will be composed of seven to eight, vice current three to four, surface combatants, Gortney explained.
The concentration will be achieved in part by shifting ballistic-missile-defense shipscruisers and destroyers fitted with missiles and radars for shooting down enemy rocketsaway from independent patrols. Instead, many of the BMD ships will sail alongside the carriers.
The addition of missile-defense ships to the carrier groups could help the flattops defend themselves against Chinese-made DF-21D carrier-killer rockets in the event of a major war.
But Gortney stressed that some missile-defense patrols will need to be independentmost likely, those conducted by the Navys new four-ship destroyer squad in Rota, Spain. Those four ships are meant to patrol the Mediterranean, where American aircraft carriers will rarely venture.
The handful of destroyers carrying Scan Eagle drones and Fire Scout robot helicopters could also be exempted from carrier-group duty, Gortney added. These vessels frequently sail alone along the East African coast in order to gather intelligence for Special Operations Forces secretly working ashore.
The new plan will mean fewer but more powerful Navy deployments, but does not mean an end to routine, small-scale humanitarian and goodwill cruises. Rather, those softer naval missions are increasingly the purview of the quasi-civilian Military Sealift Command, which operates more than 100 lightly-armed specialist ships alongside the frontline Navy.
The Navy recently bought MSC 10 small, speedy catamaran transports and four Mobile Landing Platform sea base ships specifically so that those cheaper vessels could handle soft missions. Sealift Command ships might become a more common sight across the globe at the same time that aircraft carriers become rarer.
David Axes new book Shadow Wars is out. Sign up for a daily War is Boring email update here. Subscribe to WIBs RSS feed here and follow the main page here.
That’s about enough of a navy to maybe defend Canandaigua Lake.
All those dormant flattops will make great section 8 housing for the underprivileged.
Shades of the fading British Empire about 55 years ago.
All part of the left’s plan to put the U.S. on an equal footing with other nations.
It’s just not “fair” for us to have more military might than, say, Angola. What’s so special about us?
Active Duty ping.
3rd world military here we come, wearing turbans and pink berets and rainbow sashes
Hey, wouldn’t want to put our enemies out with too many targets.
Si vis pacem, para bellum
Heck, they may even invited them in on the plunder of the spoils.
Would not be unexpected
I guess I can forget everything I ever learned...like “haze gray and underway.”,and the prime directive...”sailors belong on ships and ships belong at sea.”
So two carrier task forces deployed at any given time means one off the East Coast and one off the West Coast, right?
No. It means one in the Western Pacific and one in the Indian Ocean / Persian Gulf region.
There is sonething fundamentally wrong with our foreign policy.
If these cuts are occurring during a time of “economic recovery,” imagine what shape the armed services will be in at the next downturn.
Two rubber duckies
With the Dhimmis in charge, there will never be an economic downturn. Remember, under Stalin, the USSR never had a downturn. (/sarc)
Mr. Hagel, you didn’t ask me, but, you’ll be sorry you allowed us to lower our defenses to this light level. The Chinese are doing the exact opposite.
I couldn’t spell seneka.
At one time this would never fly the GOP congress critters would not allow it to happen.
So who in the GOP will say no..Cruz..Paul..somehow I doubt it.
Well, considering how much we hear about "white privilege" and since Hispanics and Asians and se Asians are still considered "white", that only leaves one ethnic group as "underprivileged".
I get very angry when I see this drawdown in the military, and Obama flies his damned wife on a separate Osprey and his dog on a different one.
This just makes steam come out of my ears. I can’t stand it.
I can’t stand it. I am okay with cutting back on defense spending if we are required to spend money we don’t have, BUT ONLY IF THEY CUT BACK EQUALLY EVERYWHERE ELSE!
Grrrr. I hate these grifters running our government with a white-hot passion.
The sad truth is that we cannot afford a military force that is the present size. If we demand that the federal government must stop spending money that it does not have, then the military will have to be downsized and all branches of the service will have to make painful choices.
No just liked visiting and thought that lake might be defendable with Obama’s two ship navy.
but then again, after eight years of Hillery, maybe never
America really, really needs to bring back American manufacturing, to America.
Don’t buy stuff which is all made in China.
What do Barry and his ‘RATS call this? Oh yeah, “fundamental transformation”.
However, from a strategic point, could we not maintain a fleet based on min max. Rotate the manpower around each battle group keeping the manpower at a optimal low and the rotated hardware at an optimal high with reserves being trained in the process.
War through weakness. It’s inevitable.
Yes. Very beautiful. In sept and October anyway.
Damn it guys, that dough is needed to fund welfare benefits for the millions of new illegals who will flood across the border if the morons in congress even THINK about reforming the so-called “system”.
You just don’t understand.
Yes the leaves are amazingly pretty. Outsiders wouldn’t understand but it’s true!
It’s all part of the plan to knock down the USA so they can implement their New World Order.
Armed with a single M2 .50 caliber Browning, this much feared naval vessel carries up to 30 rounds of aluminum piercing ammunition. It is the first in an entirely new naval architecture class -- technically, clitoral (not to be confused with littoral) -- being pushed on the Pentagon by the defense minded wussies in the Obama Administration as a cost-saving measure. If you look closely, you can see the heavy-duty seat restraint which prevents the pilot/gunner Kamakazi Kowalski from leaping from the vessel prior to engaging the enemy. The 12 V trolling motor which lacks a reverse function -- propels this sophisticated craft forward at a top speed of 4 knots. Reverse travel at approximately 35 knots -- is achieved by firing the Browning.
The no-bid contract to build 200 of these fearsome warships was to have been awarded to Obama-Soros-Emanuel Shipbuilding and Stormdoor Manufacturing (formerly General Dynamics) and will be administered by trusted Obama associate and former Chief-of-Staff Rahm Emanuel who commented that, at $12 million each, they are a bargain. They will be constructed exclusively at the companys facility in Kenya with major subcomponent production (rivets and miscellaneous fasteners) at the companys Harlem and Skokie plants. Delivery is expected to begin in 2024 (or as soon as the subcontractors funds are safely in the contractor's Swiss account).
The British Empire ruined itself by too many commitments, too many allies, too many interventions. They did not heed the wise warnings of the great Conservative PM, Lord Salisbury, of the danger of national exhaustion through endless involvements in foreign strifes.
America needs to bring back American manufacturing.
We are shrinking.
Our military budget is maxed out. We need to grow.
Going the path of the UK!
To keep “ANY” ship combat & crew ready they must spend considerable time underway for both the crews readiness sake and the ships systems. Many situations can only be trained for at sea.
This is like closing up your house and living in it only once every three years for eight months. Not lived in houses do not fair well in the long run nor do non deployed ships. Every Captain worth his salt is eager to get his ship out of the yards and back underway because the ship is most efficent and top operational doing so. Granted there is needed down time as well. Even Junior Enlisted sailors are smart enough to understand this.
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.