23 September 2005

Naval Power Overkill

From the Strategy Page (September 22, 2005 entry):

Today, the USN enjoys a "17 Navy standard"; that is, the total tonnage of Uncle Sam’s fleet is equal to the combined total tonnage of the next 17 smaller navies. Even combining the two biggest potential naval competitors (the Chinese and the Russians), the USN still outclasses them by over 3:1 in tonnage, and it has substantially more combat power. Of the world’s 34 aviation power projection platforms (i.e., vessels capable of operating combat aircraft), the US owns 24 (71-percent), eight times more than the second leading navy, the decidedly friendly Royal Navy, which has with three V/STOL carriers. In addition, the US surface fleet carries four times as many VLS (vertical missile launchers) cells as the rest of the world navies combined. The US submarine fleet enjoys better force ratios against the next two most numerous underwater fleets than it did against the Soviets during the Cold War.

The post goes on to note planned expansions in the number of U.S. ships, most notably, a large planned buy of small "littoral combat ships."

The Navy is probably the biggest source of fat in the current Defense Department budget. I'm not opposed to all war or the military in general, although we have made some poor choices regarding which wars we should choose to fight. But, every military has to set priorities, and there are more urgent needs within the U.S. military than maintaining this large a fleet of billion dollar warships.

No comments: