The Nimitz-class aircraft carriers USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74), and USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76) (rear) conduct dual aircraft carrier strike group operations in the U.S. 7th Fleet area of operations in support of security and stability in the Indo-Asia-Pacific in Philippine Sea on June 18, 2016. Courtesy Jake Greenberg/U.S. Navy/Handout via REUTERS
Loren B. Thompson, National Interest: U.S. Overseas Bases Are Much More Vulnerable Than Aircraft Carriers
There has been a raft of commentaries recently about how countries like China and Russia are pursuing so-called anti-access/area-denial strategies aimed at driving the U.S. Navy from nearby seas. Some of the more colorful accounts describe a "line of death" in places such as the Western Pacific that U.S. aircraft carriers can't cross without being in imminent peril.
These fears are greatly exaggerated. U.S. aircraft carriers are extremely resilient, and among the most densely defended assets in the world. In addition, they are always on the move, meaning it is hard to find them when they are at sea and even harder to target them. In a few minutes, a nuclear-powered carrier can be many miles from where it was first spotted -- U.S. carriers can outrun most submarines -- and in a shooting war, U.S. forces would immediately move to blind hostile sensors capable of tracking our warships.
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WNU Editor: I can understand that since bases are fixed targets .... they can be easily taken out. While aircraft carriers .... by virtue that they are mobile .... are hard to track and be targeted. But in such a major shooting war I have a suspicion that the big concern and focus of our political and military leaders will be on the use of nuclear weapons .... not targeting and sinking aircraft carriers.