The following likely sums up everything I do here at New Wars. Why the Navy shrinks, according to British former Chief of the Defence Staff Lord Guthrie at the BBC:
“…We can’t just go for things which are nice to have. We actually need a larger fleet. But one way you won’t get a large fleet is if you have aircraft carriers. What we need are smaller, faster ships, ships to keep the sea lanes open.”
It’s what I’ve been saying all along. Large carriers are nice to have, if you can afford them, but even the USA is having trouble deploying the world’s largest, most expensive warships meant for fighting big wars in an era of many small asymmetrical threats. India, Russia, Britain, and as far as we know, China are all struggling to deploy Big Decks, whose sole purpose seems to be last century status symbols.
Again, you have the Army calling for a larger Navy, for the sister service to keep the oceans clear so the troops can do their job on land. That is just astounding when you don’t hear the same coming from the Navy, who instead ask for fewer exquisite ships designed to keep the fleet smaller, stretched, and over-deployed.
The bottom line has come down to, do you want a navy to protect the sea from current threats and large enough to handle the uncertain future? Or do you want aircraft carriers to fight last century battles, but which might have the seas closed to them for lack of small warships?
Hear the interview for yourself at the link.
Lord Guthrie’s Speech at the Centre for Policy Studies. (pdf)