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  • A Shrinking Navy

    The United States is a maritime nation. The military is the nation’s guarantor of freedom of the seas and protector of global sea lines of communication. The military ensures the safe transit of international commerce along trade routes that allows our local grocery store and Wal-Marts shelves to remain stocked everyday. Protection of the sea lines allows all of us to use the internet at will and on demand, as well.

    As Heritage highlights in “The State of the U.S. Military,” this week , the U.S. Navy’s fleet today contains the smallest number of ships since 1916. Worse, the fleet is projected to shrink further due to President Obama’s plans to cut the defense budget over the next ten years.

    Washington’s self-imposed budget restraints on defense raise significant questions about the future of the U.S. Navy, composition of the fleet, and ability of the military to carry out fundamental responsibilities we’ve all come to take for granted.

    The Pentagon officially claims a goal of building a 313-ship Navy. Yet the investment dollars just don’t add up and the U.S. is, in reality, building a 220-ship Navy.

    Because the Navy fulfills its mission so successfully and has not fought a naval battle at sea since World War II, it could be easy for some to overlook this critical mission or to focus on less important priorities.

    To meet its global responsibilities, the Navy will need to invest across a wide range of capabilities to maintain a robust fleet-both in the quantity of ships and in the quality of technologies. Only Congress can save the Navy now, and Americans should demand nothing less.

    Posted in Security [slideshow_deploy]

    3 Responses to A Shrinking Navy

    1. Mike Burleson says:

      Mackenzie, is there any surprise that we are shrinking when in the last several decades, despite there being no peer threat, we have ONLY built multi-billion dollar battleships, like the Burke destroyers? Meanwhile, our primary adversaries have been pirates in speedboats that run rings around our exquisite space age fleet. The LCS is only a nod at the problem since it isn't too far below the billion-dollar price tag, even while possessing a patrol boat armament on a hull the size of a frigate.

      Money is not the answer but a sea-change in the way the Navy buys and build ships, because we have been awash in funds for decades. Buy patrol ships and corvettes, conventional subs and HSVs, to work alongside our giant battleships, to fill out the numbers. The Big Ships being so much more capable thanks to new weapons, logically we can do more with less of them. But hulls in the water for the Navy are like boots on the ground for the Army. In other words, ships are her life, and they don't all need to be high tech and exquisite, just available when needed.

    2. Rich Stewart, Carlis says:

      I'm guessing you folks at Heritage have more interesting and vital research topics than you know what to do with in the area of national security. Nonetheless I would like to suggest something you might want to look into as a way to explain the importance of maintaining a U.S. Navy second to none. Do an analysis of post Korean War to the resent situations where the fleet has been called upon to get to the scene of an international incident in the making, or one already in progress, as well as other things such as major relief effort situations. Toss in a little what if analysis about how we are going to respond to these requirements with pre-World War I size Navy.

      The world remains a very dangerous place. When and the exact nature of the next situation that will cause a President of the U.S. to turn to the Navy and ask how many ships can you have at location A within X number of days/hours may not be known, but that it will happen is something you can take to the bank. Unless Obama takes over the banks; in which case you may not want to take anything to the bank. The point is that some really bad situations likely would have been much worse had we not had the capability and the will to show force or project power on short notice. Nothing gets the attention of two bit dictators, ne'er do wells, and international thugs (or lifts the spirits of their victims) like a U.S. Navy battle group coming into view over the horizon.

      The next President is going to have to fix this mess. Having crisp, focused analysis to back him or her up on the value of and need to be able to call on the U.S. Navy in these types of situations is going to be of vital importance. It took years for the Reagan initiatives to turn a deteriorating armed forces situation around. This President will only accelerate the decline. The next President will have no time to waste in turning the situation around.

      Having experienced first hand the demoralizing mess that was the Carter era and the long hard slog back through the Reagan era, I pray that today's Navy has what it takes to do push through a situation painfully reminiscent of what we went through.

    3. Carl says:

      Why do you openly lie about basic facts. Obama has no plans to cut the military budget, and it will continue to grow 2% a year whilst the nation goes bankrupt. It seems the terror threat will grow by 2% a year.

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