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Does Strategy Drive the U.S. Defense Budget?

Investments in smaller, technologically advanced naval systems must be matched by investments in capital ships.

by
Seth Cropsey

Bio

April 12, 2014 - 12:04 pm
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Strategy is linked to less costly and smaller systems as well.  And here there is, for now, a better picture.  The forward defense that American seapower provides depends on technology that is sufficiently adaptable to meet the needs of combat ships.  Those needs change.  Fuel becomes very expensive.  The possibility of separating hydrogen and carbon dioxide from seawater and then transforming these elements into useable fuel offers future cost savings along with certain increases in security at sea were the vulnerability of current underway replenishments to be eliminated.

Again, warfare at sea changes ceaselessly.  As missiles improve in performance and proliferate, change is required. The electromagnetic-powered rail gun now scheduled to be tested at sea in two years could fire a projectile at seven times the speed of sound.  The weapon would significantly multiply ships’ defenses against ballistic and cruise missiles as well as enemy aircraft’s offensive capabilities.  Developing this weapon requires sustained investments in research and development. Similar investments are required to build and deploy the radars that will warn ships against ballistic missiles that come from overhead and planes and cruise missiles which travel closer to the earth’s surface.  Known as air and missile defense radar (AMDR) this particular technological advance is an imaginative response to the decreasing cost and increasing availability of ballistic and cruise missiles as well as other potentially ship-killing missiles launched from land.

In its first demand — for protection against the elements — a household is similar to a nation.  A well-run household cuts travel and entertainment in tight times.  It does not fail to repair a leaking roof or replace dangerously aging electrical circuits.  A nation’s first requirement is for the protection that its defenses offer.  A well-run nation hews to the strategy that has served it well.  The U.S. is failing to do this with the cloud that the Defense Department has positioned over the future of USS George Washington.

The Navy is succeeding where it continues with its plans to develop and deploy such systems as the rail gun and AMDR that assure offensive and defensive capabilities of the seapower that has succeeded for over a century in projecting combat power at a sufficient distances to keep trouble from approaching our own coasts. When the prudence demonstrated by investments in the smaller systems applies equally to increasing our capital ship numbers, American strategy will live up to the advice that President Washington offered in his farewell address, “that timely disbursements to prepare for danger frequently prevent much greater disbursements to repel it.”

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Seth Cropsey is a Senior Fellow at Hudson Institute in Washington, D.C. He served as a naval officer for nearly two decades and as deputy undersecretary of the Navy in the Reagan and George H. W. Bush administrations. He is the author of the recently published MAYDAY: The Decline of American Naval Supremacy.

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Remember your history. In 1939, NAZI Germany had the cutting edge, high tech, unbeatable military machine. Problem was, it was very expensive and time consuming to produce those high tech, cutting edge tanks, planes and ships. It was also very expensive and time consuming to maintain and repair those assets, especially after combat damaged those assets. otoh, when they worked, those machines were unbeatable. Then, there was the highly educated, trained and experienced cadre. An unbeatable combination.

Sound familiar?

Once we cut off the NAZI's oil supply and started bombing their factories and maintenance depots...and once that cadre suffered losses in sustained combat, all we had to do was show up with a lot of mass produced second and third rate machines and a bunch of under-educated lower class hillbillies - and townies from the wrong side of the tracks ...and guess who won.

Again, once the war began, every German with an idea and some influence with the NAXI PTB (and a few German Marks to spread around) wanted a piece of that government pork so that he could manufacture his own high tech 'magic bullet' that would win the war for the Fatherland.

Sound a little bit familiar?

We've quite probably grabbed onto the wrong strategy, here, folks.
14 weeks ago
14 weeks ago Link To Comment
See, our "Leader" doesn't "get" what any of this is all about preserving capabilities, because you may need them some day.

These characters don't even get it, this is just a line item in their heads.
14 weeks ago
14 weeks ago Link To Comment
"But aircraft carriers are inseparable from the U.S.’s strategy of preserving stability abroad"

I think we should concern ourselves less about the Afcrapitsans of the world and more about our own borders and the tens of millions of invaders here right now.

"to avoid having to defend the nation along its 95,000 miles of coastline"

An Illogical equation which fewer and fewer Americans are buying. BTW, 95,000 miles of U.S. coastline seems just a bit excessive by any rational measure.
14 weeks ago
14 weeks ago Link To Comment
Two words for you, Joe: Hawaii and Alaska.
14 weeks ago
14 weeks ago Link To Comment
I said rational measure. Counting every little island and every inlet and bay is not rational. It's an ObamaCare type count and then some.
14 weeks ago
14 weeks ago Link To Comment
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