Ask for Life Vests, Get an Aircraft Carrier!
A while back we posted on David Axe’s comment concerning the USN carrier George Washington and what business it had doing a frigate’s job on a good will tour of South America. Axe wrote:
…is a lumbering, $15-billion aircraft carrier group, with
more combined destructive power than most of the world’s militaries, the right
choice for exercising alongside the tiny coastal navies of South America? That’s
a mission that might best be performed by smaller, cheaper warships,
Now it seems not only the journalist is complaining about over-kill and scaring the life out of our allies around the world. Now the Philippines are worried about the USS Ronald Reagan’s visit as well:
Bush made the commitment to visiting Filipino President Gloria Arroyo who had asked for life vests and inflatable lifeboats. She got an aircraft carrier instead…Sen. Rodolfo Biazon, a Philippine Military Academy “mistah” and an expert on modern warfare, is aghast that the US would send such a formidable military machine to the Sibuyan Seas to help save lives. The Ronald Reagan is not the appropriate vessel for rescue operations, Biazon said, asking: “What will the F-18 [jet fighters] do for the Princess of the Stars?” Strafe the offices of Sulpicio Shipping?
Another senator, Aquilino Pimentel Jr., a staunch nationalist, said the arrival of the carrier could violate the Constitution and national sovereignty.
Again we fault the Navy for sending battleships to do missions more relevant to smaller littoral ships. The admirals talk a good talk when it comes to the wars we are fighting now, but it appears that 7 years into the War on Terror they are affected with a terminal case of “Next-war-itis” as described by Sec. Gates. Meanwhile Galrahn reports:
We already know Al Qaeda is building naval terror cells, you can bet they are looking at the Tamil Tigers and MEND as models to build on. There is absolutely no evidence at all the shipbuilding budget or greater resource budget is even mildly prepared to posture forces against this type of threat. That is a very bad sign, probably one aspect of the global energy calculations being considered by the energy speculators. This was both the wake up call and the learning experience for everyone, next time will not go as well.
We have to wonder how long the navy leadership will continue to fit the War on Terror into their own outdated Mahanian views of war at sea, rather than steer the navy towards a new era of combat as the Army after much trial and error has in Iraq. We need a leaner, meaner, and bigger navy which can do a few important things well, rather than a force attempting to do many missions, none of them adequate.