I’ve long thought that the Navy has been adrift in the DOD sea for a while now– risk averse, politically correct and chasing after strange gods. Here are a few recent pieces that tend to support my beliefs:
The first is a skewering of the “Great Green Fleet” and its predictable implications. “For the surface Navy, an effective way to cut fuel consumption would be to remain pierside. While fighting wars, however, cutting corners and decreasing underway training time can cost lives. Metaphorical sweaters and cold showers decrease the Navy’s capability and do not meet the secretary’s intent.” Not good. You know who doesn’t have designs on cutting corners and decreasing underway training time? The Chinese Navy, that’s who.
Next is this debacle: “US Destroyer Hits Japanese Tanker.” At-sea collisions have never been un-heard-of, but am I correct in thinking that they’ve been more common of late? And am I far off base when I suggest that risk-aversion and a cost-cutting mentality that decreases underway time almost inevitably result in ships that can’t keep station without becoming menaces to navigation?? You know who’s laughing about this? The Chinese Navy, that’s who. Laughing and taking notes.
Finally, there’s this: “Ambitious Diplomacy, Fading Firepower.”
The unchecked ambition and material weakness of Obama’s diplomacy have opened up still wider breaches in U.S. defense policies. Obama announced belatedly, in January 2012, strategic defense guidance that no longer supports two wars simultaneously in the Middle East and Asia. He then ordered a “pivot” of American military forces to Asia — which will eventually deploy 60 percent of American ships to the Pacific — at the very moment his administration was ratcheting up sanctions and positioning additional naval forces against Iran in the Persian Gulf. The implausibility of cutting and increasing forces at the same time escapes no one. Obama has to protest that “reductions in U.S. defense spending will not — I repeat, will not — come at the expense of the Asia Pacific.” And he restates his determination to defend Israel by adding, “I don’t bluff,” as if someone doing the counting might wonder how he will defend Israel and pivot to Asia at the same time.”
The United States is still a maritime nation, and still must patrol and secure the great global commons. We can’t do that when the fleet is pierside, critical seas are left ignored, and the ships that do sortie can’t keep station effectively. The Navy needs to harden the F up. What will be the cost of that? And who’ll do it?