Thursday, October 3, 2013

Where Are The Carriers?

"Great Satan is an 11 carrier nation in a 15 carrier world..."

 “Regardless of the number of carriers national leadership decides to maintain,” wrote retired Navy Commander John Patch, “because they remain the U.S. Navy’s preeminent capital ship and a symbol of American global power and prestige, they are a potential key target for both unconventional and conventional adversaries.”


However, one inexplicable aspect of the “carriers are vulnerable!” argument, particularly versus the Chinese DF-21 ballistic missile threat, is that while the carrier’s vulnerability is trumpeted, there is little mention of the fact that every ship suffers from similar, if not greater, vulnerabilities – particularly ships built to commercial standards and simply painted haze-gray.

This includes platforms on the various lists of options if the Navy were to stop building carriers. It also ignores enhanced passive and active systems––e.g., the cruise- and ballistic-missile defenses provided by the Navy’s Aegis cruisers and destroyers––that are designed to defeat tomorrow’s threats.

Finally, to put the entire vulnerability issue in context, land bases, which never move, are much more vulnerable to attack than are mobile naval forces at sea.