The Navy just threw tens of billions of taxpayer dollars out the porthole. For the longest time, the Navy begged for a smaller type of warcraft that was fast, light, and able to keep up with and catch pirates. Its wish was granted in the form of nine new heavily armed pint-sized ships at a cost of $4.5 billion to build. Now, the Navy wants to decommission them.
Including these relatively new nine smaller ships, two submarines, and five cruisers, all told, the Navy has 24 ships on the chopping block. They said that the money required to maintain those ships is needed more to help maintain the remainder of the existing fleet and to place an order for some newer modern warships.
The Navy claims that the annual savings would average around $50 million per ship, but considering how China’s massive Navy already far outnumbers the U.S. in terms of ships and personnel, money should not be a motivator for reducing its strength.
Considering how it takes five to seven years to build a battleship if the builders work overtime, scaling back at a time like this probably isn’t a good idea. On the other hand, to keep the Navy’s entire fleet operational while at the same time building new ships takes money America doesn’t have. Joe Biden has us running a little short.
Chief of naval operations, Adm. Mike Gilday, is a proponent of the idea. He believes more emphasis needs to be placed on the future. Ships with long-range missile launchers and state-of-the-art technology are what’s needed just to catch up with the Chinese.
“We need a ready, capable, lethal force more than we need a bigger force that’s less ready, less lethal, and less capable,” said Gilday. He said the retiring ships aren’t equipped to handle the type of threats the U.S is now receiving so it’s best to keep them on the low-down.
The nine smaller warcraft were developed and built following 9/11 to ward off enemies who might approach from the sea. They were also used for tracking down drug smuggling operations and the sort. But as time’s marched on, the Navy is claiming the ships have lost most of their usefulness. The big picture now lies in international waters and the bigger threat is China. The Navy now needs big pimped-out ships to meet its inevitable impending goal of not losing.
The nine smaller ships have always had problems with their propulsion systems. The Navy said it will take mega-bucks to fix them all since they opted out of the extended warranty plan.
Tongue in cheek, U.S. Senate Armed Services Chair Jiminholf said, “Moving forward, the Navy must avoid similar acquisition disasters.”
Tongue out of cheek, U.S. Rep Elaine Luria, D-Virginia, said that decommissioning so many ships that are so new “sucks.” She said, “The Navy owes a public apology to American taxpayers for wasting tens of billions of dollars on ships they now say serve no purpose.”
Defense analyst Loren Thompson at the Lexington Institute said, “It’s not a crappy little ship. It does what it’s supposed to do. What it was supposed to do isn’t enough for the kinds of threats we face today.”
She’s right about that. Technology and weaponry are constantly evolving. But avoiding the issues that the smaller ships were able to fix is only going to cause a resurgence of the devilish activity they succeeded in driving away.
In reality, the Navy is just swapping one problem for another, but also in reality, what choice do they have when the money isn’t there?