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
VideoWinning the Next War
Chinese and Russian capabilities to exploit vulnerabilities in America's current way of war have grown. Without major changes to how it fights its wars, does the United States...
By Robert O. Work & Chris Dougherty
PodcastWorking National Security on John McCain’s Presidential Campaign
Richard Fontaine spent years advising leading figures in American foreign policy, but working for the late Sen. John McCain was unlike anything he had experienced before. Now ...
By Richard Fontaine & Ilan Goldenberg
CommentaryInterservice rivalries: A force for good
It’s no secret that the military services fight hard to protect their shares of the defense budget. Just last week, Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Michael Gilday made his case...
By Susanna V. Blume & Molly Parrish
PodcastStories from the Backchannel: Season Two Trailer
Now more than ever, Americans are interested in the people working behind the scenes on consequential national security decisions. In Season Two of Stories from the Backchanne...
By Ilan Goldenberg, Richard Fontaine, Susanna V. Blume, Kayla M. Williams, Price B. Floyd, Kurt Campbell & Kara Frederick