So reported US Navy Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Research, Development, and Acquisition Sean Stackley to Congress this week. What does it mean?
Simply, we have a huge gap in our carrier task force capability for the first time in modern history. Where we should have carriers deployed in operating theaters around the world, we don't. Why? Budget constraints! Right now, there is half of our fleet of carriers going through refits/overhauls/refueling. To put that in perspective, consider "that the fleet's carriers won't be able to get back to the prescribed readiness levels—two carrier strike groups deployed at all times, with three additional strike groups ready to deploy if there's a need for a "surge"—until 2018." Shocking, and in the opinion of your scribe, treasonous on the part of our administration. For the first time since 2007, the US will NOT have a carrier strike group in the Middle East right as the stakes get increasingly higher. Now there's a strategy for you!
And how about this: The USS Gerald Ford, the next US aircraft carrier, is being built to replace the now-retired USS Enterprise, which was deactivated in 2013 after more than 50 years of service.
|USS Gerald Ford|
|USS Gerald Ford undergoes "blast testing" prior to commissioning|
The reduced fleet size means longer deployments for the ships we have operational and the resultant longer, often delayed maintenance yard periods for those same ships.
You just can't fix stupid!
Until next time,