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The Admirals Refute Sec. Gates

May 7, 2010

The admirals strike back after the US Defense Secretary calls for less dependence on multi-billion-dollar warships. Explaining why we need aircraft carriers, or, we need aircraft carriers, why? This should put the SecDef in his place!

17 Comments leave one →
  1. Roddy permalink
    May 10, 2010 5:45 am

    Such a shame these guys haven’t been on the telly in ages. A perfect presentation of all the relevant points :)

  2. Mike Burleson permalink*
    May 9, 2010 5:10 pm

    “why not just say we may not need 11 carriers and put carrier proponents on the defensive? ”

    I think he did say that, but more to the point, he planted the seed. Actually the number of carriers are set by law, so thats all he can do is suggest, hint, consider. These are sacred vessels and many jobs at risk here. Aircraft carriers are the battleship of the late 20th century and today. They are more than weapons, but symbols and ideals.

    You could go to war tomorrow, and we lose 5 carriers the first day, and there would still be advocates who consider these essential warships, which we can’t do without. This happened to the battleship, and there are those who would see the dreadnoughts return to service today.

    I’m just saying, this change will not happen overnight, but the costs of these monuments to our military and economic strength are raising doubts, and rightly so in the face of less costly alternatives.

  3. hokie_1997 permalink
    May 9, 2010 10:06 am

    So — SECDEF Gates would’ve voiced his desire to reduce the number of CVNs if it wasn’t for that darn bureaucracy and politics? Man, those Carrier Admirals have their hands in everything!

    Mike, he’s the Secretary of Defense. I’m not saying his word is law in DOD; he still has to contend with Congress. However, if he is all about challenging assumptions, why not just say we may not need 11 carriers and put carrier proponents on the defensive? Gates hasn’t been tame in challenging the needs for big defense programs in the past (F-22, CG(X),etc).

    My take is if he saw a requirement for less than 11 carriers, he’d probably say so. I also think that when he says “…how they’re going to use carriers in a time when you have highly accurate cruise and ballistic missiles…” he might be talking CONOPS vice force structure. Air-Sea Battle, that type of thing. Again, my admittedly loose interpretation of his comments.

    Actually from what I saw of the Secretary’s remarks he is more concerned about trimming overhead — headquarters staffs, excessive flag billets, health care costs, so we can keep the operational forces we need. Admirable goals.

  4. Mike Burleson permalink*
    May 9, 2010 8:01 am

    “how exactly are you inferring all that from his most recent quote?”

    Just that you can’t put your faith in politicians or the military to bring about reform. Even they eventually have to adjust to the realities of warfare, but also to the budget realities.

    I am not saying he is lying, but as a bureaucrat, he does have to use expediency. I might say “lets cut the carrier to 5 or 6”, but as a servant of the people, Gates can’t be so flippant.

  5. hokie_1997 permalink
    May 9, 2010 7:40 am

    With all due respect Mike, how exactly are you inferring all that from his most recent quote?

    My impression of the Secretary is that he is a pretty straight shooter. If he wanted a force of less than 11 carriers, he’d probably say so.

    After all, this is a guy who was pretty reluctant to remain SECDEF after Obama took over — what’s he got to lose in saying what he means?

  6. Mike Burleson permalink*
    May 9, 2010 6:19 am

    Hokie-the Key point in the quote is not about carriers, but when he said “I’m not crazy”. Thats politics.

    Kinda like saying “I’m not going to send your sons to any Foreign Wars”. These things usually work themselves out later.

  7. hokie_1997 permalink
    May 8, 2010 10:37 pm

    In a conversation with reporters Friday, Gates sought to temper any claims that he was aiming to reduce the nation’s fleet of 11 aircraft carriers.

    “I might want to change things, but I’m not crazy. I’m not going to cut a carrier, OK,” Gates said. “But people ought to start thinking about how they’re going to use carriers in a time when you have highly accurate cruise and ballistic missiles that can take out a carrier that costs between 10 and 15 billion dollars and has 6,000 lives on it.”

    *****

    It sounds like SECDEF Gates is being refuted by…. SECDEF Gates. Or did the nefarious and omnipotent Carrier Admirals get to him as well?

  8. Guess who? permalink
    May 8, 2010 12:08 am

    I always thought the ones with the Army General were much better!

  9. Jerry Hendrix permalink
    May 7, 2010 8:55 pm

    Talking about laughing until I cried. I have got to find a way to drop this into a brief for my boss. Of course, since he is 88, I can’t have him laughing too hard.

  10. Mike Burleson permalink*
    May 7, 2010 6:03 pm

    You’re right, MatR! We must keep building carriers so we can maintain the ability to build carriers! Around and around we go…

  11. MatR permalink
    May 7, 2010 5:48 pm

    If we don’t build those carriers, BAE Systems can’t make money from the boondoggle! Where’s your sense of patriotism, sir!?! Remember the navy’s motto, “BAE expects”.

  12. Anonymous permalink
    May 7, 2010 3:04 pm

    Great find.

    “The british forces need helicopters, armored vehicles and lots and lots of soldiers”
    “Yes, but these things aren’t as sexy as aircraftcarriers”

  13. Mike Burleson permalink*
    May 7, 2010 12:20 pm

    I think the LCS can hold one swimming pool each.LOL!

  14. Jed permalink
    May 7, 2010 12:05 pm

    Superb ! Thanks Mike ….. “what is the point of having 12 olympic swimming pools in there…”

  15. Mike Burleson permalink*
    May 7, 2010 12:01 pm

    I cut my teeth on Brit humor! PBS!

  16. Jed permalink
    May 7, 2010 11:58 am

    But it’s British humour, will you get it ? :-)

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