When there is a crisis anywhere in the world, the president’s first question often is, “Where are the aircraft carriers?” The modern supercarrier lies at the very center of American national security strategy, and, at over a thousand feet in length and approaching nearly 100,000 tons in water displacement, it is a uniquely American weapon.
The U.S. Navy currently possesses 10 of these behemoths, and while China, Russia, Brazil, India and France each claim a single carrier in their naval inventory, none comes even close to matching the capabilities of an American flattop. When an iconic supercarrier comes within sight of a foreign shore, its citizens know that the Americans have arrived.
But the Navy’s current carrier plan would squander this military advantage — not by squeezing carriers out but by overbuilding them. Right now, the Navy plans to modernize its carrier program by launching a new wave of even larger and more expensive ships, starting with the USS Gerald Ford, which cost $15 billion to build — by far the most expensive vessel in naval history. This is a mistake: Because of changes in warfare and technology, in any future military entanglement with a foe like China, current carriers and their air wings will be almost useless and the next generation may fare even worse.
Read the full article at POLITICO.
More from CNAS
ReportsMake Good Choices, DoD
In a new report, Susanna V. Blume and Molly Parrish offer a deep dive into how the U.S. Department of Defense makes decisions about what the U.S. military needs, what to buy a...
By Susanna V. Blume & Molly Parrish
VideoResults of the second Pentagon audit
Bob Hale discusses takeaways from the Department of Defense’s latest audit, and the impacts it’s having on the agency’s culture.Watch the full conversation on Government Matte...
By Robert F. Hale
CommentaryThe Enduring Relevance of Reagan’s Westminster Speech
Editor’s Note: This is the third in a series of three essays, commissioned by the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation and Institute, examining the legacy of Reagan’s Westmin...
By Richard Fontaine
On the Roundtable episode of the Defense & Aerospace Podcast, Robert F. Hale joins Todd Harrison, the director of defense budget analysis and the Aerospace Security Project at...
By Robert F. Hale