Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Does The U.S. Navy Really Need 350 Ships?

Image Credit: US Navy

Franz-Stefan Gady, The Diplomat: Trump’s New Navy: Does the US Really Need 350 Warships?

Defense hawks are embracing Donald Trump’s idea of expanding U.S. naval power.

While we cannot be certain about anything when it comes to Donald Trump’s future defense policies, U.S. defense hawks — in particular advocates for a larger U.S. Navy – have quickly embraced Trump’s victory as a means to expand U.S. military power through a Reaganesque defense spending spree.

U.S. naval power advocates are enthusiastic about Trump’s reported commitment to build a 350-ship Navy (up from 272 ships in service today). Defense hawks are also pleased that Randy Forbes, an advocate for a 350-ship navy and $20 billion annual shipbuilding programs, is allegedly being considered for secretary of the navy – the Department of the Navy’s top civilian job.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: Define the mission .... and then you decide on what you need to accomplish it. But in Washington .... the logic is the other way around .... build the stuff and then look for a mission to use it.


B.Poster said...


Unfortunately your editor comment seems particularly spot on. "Define the mission." If the mission is to continue with shouldering the bulk of NATO, providing security guarantees to nations such as South Korea, Japan, and a host of others then the answer is probably 350 ships is not enough.

If we are going to renegotiate NATO and other defense "agreements", work to improve relations with Russia, renegotiate the trade agreements with China and a host of others, and improve our dilapidated infrastructure then the answer is no we do not need 350 ships. In fact, 272 is probably to many as it is.

Then we move from here and decide based upon our needs what is actually achievable. (I'd like to win the lottery. This is unlikely to happen. As such, it would be unwise in the extreme for me to base my financial future upon such an assumption. Given the odds, it is prudent not to play the lottery!! I'm getting off topic.)

The current realities of America's current position make it impossible for the United States to continue with such commitments as they currently exist with NATO, Japan, South Korea, and a host of others. Furthermore Mr. Trump or the next POTUS (don't be to shocked if some sort of legal challenge is successfully mounted to keep Mr. Trump or a Republican from taking office, if you haven't heard it yet, you are now)is probably going to have to be dealing with the loss of the US dollar as world reserve currency. As such, policies need to be adjusted to fit reality with America's needs and interests.

The main defense threats to America are as follows, in order of potential harm, 1.) an all out nuclear attack by Russia against America. Russian cyber attacks combined with America's aging arsenal may make it impossible for the US to respond, 2.)an attack against the US mainland by Islamic terrorists using either suitcase nuclear weapons or some type of dirty bombs. These would be detonated across multiple metropolitan areas simultaneously during peak times to maximize the casualties. At minimum, tens of millions of Americans would die and millions more would be crucially injured without sufficient resources to treat them, and 3.)a conventional attack against the US mainland by Russia, China, there allies or some combination of these powers. In this scenario, the best that could reasonably be hoped for would be to make the inevitable victory by the invaders pyric enough that they don't consider it in the first place. Combined with more sensible policies and the threat likely becomes lessened.

While the above is the most dangerous scenarios, the most likely to occur would be the Islamic terrorist attack mentioned above. Given the threats and the fact that America is going to need to spend massive amounts of money on infrastructure in coming years, maintaining a fleet of 272 ships let alone 350 is an impossible endeavor even if it did make sense. As such, the answer to whether or not a policy of a 350 ship Navy should be perused the answer is a resounding NO!!

Mr. Trump should stick to what he discussed in the campaign. Renegotiate NATO, renegotiate the defense agreements with South Korea and Japan, and try and improve relations with Russia. Doing this and we have a fighting chance of good outcomes. Pursuing reckless and foolish policies gets us NO WHERE good.

On the last point about trying to improve relations with Russia, we should be prepared to be disappointed. Perhaps the Russians will be unwilling to make any compromises. In which case, our military forces need to be deployed properly with the right types of assets to give us a fighting chance to defend America which is actually a good idea anyway.

Sorry about the length. No, we do not need 350 ships or even 272. We cannot afford it and it adds no utility to our defense.

fazman said...

Actually there is zero evidence that islamic terrorists have access to suitcase nukes.
The most likley of the unlikley scenarios is a dirty bomb which is actually more of a tool of psycological mass destruction rather thsn its very limited physical effects.

B.Poser said...

There have been reports on this. Admittedly it is not "proven." The "proof" will be when they detonate a multitude of these things. Of course Australia is unlikely to be attacked. The primary target will be America. As such, you can afford to blow such things off.

Given the maddening tendency of American leaders to over estimate our capabilities while under estimating those of adversaries and potential adversaries, I think it more likely than not that Islamic terrorists have suit case nuclear weapons. This should the working assumption. From this we can determine how to deal with this.