Thursday, September 22, 2005

We Own the Oceans

Strategypage has a good review of our Navy and starts out:

For some years now we have been hearing claims from some people that the U.S. Navy (USN) is “too small” to meet the nation’s maritime defense needs. Quite frequently, comparisons are made with some date in the past; “The Navy today has fewer ships than it did in 1930.”

Strategypage addressed this topic with a similar post some time ago, beating me to the punch in discussing ship size, which I addressed here. To me, our ships today are much more capable relative to the average than they were back prior to Pearl Harbor. Those destroyers of 1941 were truly tiny ships. Our destroyers now are extremely capable.

But back to the fleet size, even if having most of our ships major warships instead of mostly being tiny escort types was irrelevant to a comparison, it is ridiculous to argue that because our fleet is smaller today it is too small:

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.

I will repeat what I've said before, I want a Navy supreme at sea, undersea, and in the air. And I can understand that naval proponents fear that we could lose focus and lose our superiority over time. Look at the decline of the Soviet navy as it became the Russian navy. In less than a generation it is a shadow of its former glory.

But let's not overstate things here and so lose credibility. Talk about how we need to maintain our superiority--not how we need to reclaim lost dominance or that we are on the verge of losing superiority. Our Navy rules the waves until you get about 12 miles from an enemy coastline. Add in the navies of our allies and our side is so supreme that I wonder why potential enemies even bother to build anything that floats.

The world is our Turkey Shoot, people. Celebrate it--don't deny it.