Thursday, July 28, 2011

So Logically ...

The Navy needs numbers. Too few hulls, no matter how good, can't be everywhere they are needed at the same time. I've said we need to pick a number and then figure out how to use the money we have (not the money we hope to have) to reach that number. The Navy has picked a number, at least:

Admiral Jonathan W. Greenert, Vice Chief of Naval Operations, U.S. Navy: On current ability to meet needs of commanders in field, “To meet Combatant Commanders needs unconstrained, doing some analysis, I need about 400 ships. I have 285 ships.”

So we've got that. But the Navy still wants all the big deck carriers it can retain. That isn't choosing. We can have 400 hulls or we can have eleven super carriers. We can't have both. We might not be able to have either, actually, but we do have to choose to move one way or the other. Eleven carriers means fewer other ships we can actually maintain; or getting closer to 400 total ships in the battle force means we have significantly fewer than 11 super carriers on active service.

Well actually, the Navy is choosing. It is choosing to have too many ships to maintain properly and having too few ships to do all we need. The Navy can choose to evolve the fleet wisely or let it evolve on its own. We're seeing that already.

The Navy shouldn't pretend it can get all the money it needs from Congress to buy all the ships it wants at the price it pretends our shipyards can deliver them. Effects follow logically from the choices our Navy makes--or doesn't make. We can count on that.

Can we not learn a lesson from the Russians who foolishly clung to their Soviet-level arsenal for far too long in the vain hope that somehow the money would show up to keep that massive force alive?