On the morning of December 7, 1941, the USS Arizona, with 13.5 inches of armor at her waterline, 18 inches of armor on her turrets, and watertight compartments throughout her hull, was one of the most survivable ships in the world, that today continues to rest upon the bottom of Pearl Harbor with over a thousand honored dead still onboard. The USS Cole, equipped with the Aegis defense system, represented a $1.3 billion dollar investment in survivability in today’s dollars. She was designed to defend herself and other ships around her against the latest in air, surface and subsurface threats. Yet on October 12, 2000, a small motorboat filled with explosives nearly sank the ship as she refueled in Yemen.
There is no such thing as invulnerability. Many defense investments are misplaced, but near the top of the list are the billions spent chasing the illusion that ships can take a hit in a modern, hypersonic warfare environment and keep fighting. DOD must face the unpleasant reality that we will never build an indestructible ship.
Read the full article at Information Dissemination.
More from CNAS
ReportsInvesting in Great-Power Competition
Executive Summary This report asks whether the 2021 U.S. defense budget request is aligned with the 2018 National Defense Strategy (NDS) in selecting priority capability inves...
By Susanna V. Blume & Molly Parrish
VideoThomas Harker performing duties of DoD Comptroller
Bob Hale, Adjunct Senior Fellow at the Center for a New American Security, discusses how Thomas Harker will continue as Navy Comptroller while performing duties of the Under S...
By Robert F. Hale
VideoThe Pitch: A Competition of New Ideas
On June 17, 2020, the Center for a New American Security (CNAS) hosted its premier event to elevate emerging and diverse voices in national security. Sixteen applicants made t...
By Richard Fontaine, Michèle Flournoy, Michael J. Zak, Loren DeJonge Schulman, Shai Korman, Carrie Cordero, Kristine Lee, David Zikusoka & Cole Stevens
VideoThe Bottom Line
Although lawmakers and the public frequently debate the size of the U.S. defense budget, a fundamental question usually receives less attention: What does U.S. military spendi...
By Susanna V. Blume