The Risk Adverse Navy
The Navy refuses to consider small, common warships, even though such craft would be extremely useful in most of the functions currently required from 21st century seapower. While major war is always a possibility it isn’t eminent, while sundry and important roles like anti-smuggling, anti-piracy, search and rescue, and deterring Third World dictators from bullying their neighbors are ongoing needs.
Recalling the old proverb “the perfect is the enemy of the good” the admirals would rather have nothing than consider the good enough. So we endure drastically shrinking force structures, shipyard closings or the ones we have rusting and stagnating, while essential shipbuilding skills are lost due to lack of work.
Also interesting is the fact that our wondrously impressive, technically costly superships are not built to fight but to deter war. If the Navy was serious about preparing for conflict at sea, she would be deploying many small and lethal missile ships, backed up by stealthy submarines. Fast and easy to build catamaran and trimaran ferries which cruise on top if the waters like a jet-ski, yet can carry large cargo and troops, seem to be a major revolution in seapower which we aren’t excited enough about. Also, numerous and naturally stealthy craft would be best for surviving the massive precision rocket barrages likely in the next war.
Today they say they are ready for the “next war” so they have no need of small ships, because such short range and lightly armed craft cannot stand up to a real peer opponent, whoever that might be ( obviously a potential peer Navy thinks otherwise). Yet, when war eventually does come, they will use the same excuse to withhold their giant monuments to our technological prowess from harm. Risking their high-tech, high-priced Big Ships in a real war at sea means they could “lose the war in an afternoon“, fearing the tin-pot dictators whom they have held at bay for so long with the awesomeness of our fleet will have free reign on the world’s oceans, since we built no small cruisers to contain them. Instead sparse funds have gone disproportionately to the “all battleship navy” with no margin left for error.