Pilot Editorial: Carrier numbers demand careful consideration

https://pilotonline.com/opinion/editorial/article_47e2ff9a-4141-11e9-a20f-af82e6495b53.html

The editors ask a dumb question:

“For one thing, is it really cost efficient to get only half the expected life from an expensive carrier, just because the government doesn’t want to pay for its planned maintenance?”

12 thoughts on “Pilot Editorial: Carrier numbers demand careful consideration

  1. Yes it is. Once designed, built, tested and fielded, operations and maintenance, plus the logistics required to sustain them, are the only costs of a weapon system. But since every penny of defense spending is a deadweight loss to the economy at large (in “butter” or “plowshares,” if you will), canceling the O&M/logistics expenditure is inherently cost-efficient.

    The only questions that matter relate to doctrine, a technical term among military planners. You might suggest, as The Pilot incompetently does, that cost efficiencies arise when comparing one weapon system against another in pursuit of a particular doctrine. But this doesn’t really happen to any substantial degree.

    It doesn’t happen because our adversaries have military doctrines, too. And those doctrines shape our own. The necessary comparisons are inherently technical, not economical. You could say that, for technical reasons alone, when you need a particular weapon system you just plain need it.

    Here’s a fascinating video on the topic of supersonic anti-ship missiles that illustrates the point:

    Why Does the US Not Have Supersonic ASMs? (Anti-Ship Missiles)

    The Pilot editors should heed their own advice if they are unable to bring any true insight to the table: “These are decisions that seasoned Navy leaders are best equipped to make.”

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  2. Military-Indusrial complex mumbo jumbo. Our “doctrine” should be to live peaceably with everyone and stay out of foreign conflicts all while maintaining a credible nuclear deterrence capability. Aircraft carriers are an anachronism and a classic example of how the Generals and Admirals are always preparing to fight the last war. We do not have any actual threat to nationals security that our multiple aircraft carrier battle groups protect us against.

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    1. RE: ” Aircraft carriers are an anachronism and a classic example of how the Generals and Admirals are always preparing to fight the last war.”

      How quaint. Maybe we could just fly our fighters to wherever we need them.

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      1. And just where do we need them?

        Trumpkins want to have it both ways. Applaud Trump for backing away from global commitments, spitting in the face of allies and demanding to be paid like we are a bunch of Hessians while at the same time doubling down on increasing military bloat.

        What is wrong with that picture?

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        1. RE: “And just where do we need them?”

          Currently, that would be Afghanistan, the Middle East, and the Western Pacific, to name just three places.

          Your idea that all we need is nuclear deterrence is stikingly naive. It would mean our diplomacy has no option except to indiscriminately kill large numbers of people when negotiations fail.

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          1. You have failed to explain why we need fighter aircraft in any of those three places.

            A vibrant economy gives us more diplomatic clout than any threat to backward countries that an aircraft carrier battle group might provide. And, of course, our military waste is a gigantic dead weight on our economy.

            What is really naive is a belief that a threat of war against other countries is anything but diplomatic folly. It might cow a Grenada or Panama but not China, Russia or Iran. You also display a weird idea about the role of nuclear weapons. They are not to be deployed when this or that negotiation fails. They are to deter military aggression against us, not to be used aggressively.

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          2. “ It would mean our diplomacy has no option…”

            And there is the problem. The military-industrial complex has through policy and politics made us trigger happy. The classic “when you the biggest hammer, every problem looks like a nail”.

            Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan are all examples of “shoot first”, negotiate later”.

            Three monstrous failures costing many trillions of dollars and millions of lives.

            Major weapons makers make sure to have parts manufacturers or designers in almost all 50 states to keep Congressmen beholden with working constituents/voters in their districts. Talk about political influence.

            Not to say we should pitch our DOD. But $750 Billion is way beyond ridiculous.

            I agree with Paul that the best defense is a very strong economy that has lucrative worldwide multilateral trading agreements that encourage growth in the rest of the world. If we are the biggest buyer, that is fine too. People that sell to us won’t shoot us. And they will also have less incentive to migrate since they are too busy making and selling goods and services.

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          3. RE: “I agree with Paul that the best defense is a very strong economy that has lucrative worldwide multilateral trading agreements that encourage growth in the rest of the world.”

            Wouldn’t it be nice if economic relations were sufficient to prevent war? But the world is not so. Warfare itself is a special category of economic activity. Hence foreign exchange itself is less prophylactic than we might wish.

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          4. “Warfare itself is a special category of economic activity. ”

            Uh, with all due respect, that is pure rubbish or based on such a broad definition of “economic activity” as to be meaningless.

            Hypothetically, if we were to cut our military spending in half who would say . . . Great – let’s attack?

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          5. RE: “You have failed to explain why we need fighter aircraft in any of those three places.”

            The answer should be obvious. We need them there because we want to kill people and break things in those places. Killing people and breaking things is the ultimate diplomatic clout, far more powerful than a vibrant economy.

            RE: “What is really naive is a belief that a threat of war against other countries is anything but diplomatic folly.”

            Not naive. The solution is to actualize the threat by going to war, assuming you are capable. This, for example, was Churchill’s solution to the diplomatic follies that failed to deter Hitler’s agressions.

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          6. “Killing people and breaking things is the ultimate diplomatic clout, far more powerful than a vibrant economy.”

            “When goods don’t cross borders, armies will.” Attributed to Bastiat

            It is very unlikely that we will get into a shooting war with China. For one thing, we are their biggest customer.

            We might with Russia, but unlikely. Russia still does a lot of energy business with Europe.

            Iran and NK are possible because we don’t allow commerce with either. And yet the folly of invading Iran or NK is beyond stupid.

            However, there is some rumbling about attacking Iran from the administration.Nothing new or even just a Trump idea. But the folly would be enormous. Iran is not Iraq. It is huge, much more populated and a pretty powerful military.

            The Iran nuclear deal could have been a stepping stone to normalizing relations with a long time adversary. Difficult and painstaking diplomacy, particularly with both Saudi Arabia and Israel sabotaging such a deal.

            You are coming from the position of diplomacy, then if that doesn’t work, war. Trouble is that with the military-industrial complex we have, diplomacy will probably get short shrift. Just look at the rush to invade Iraq. The neo-cons pushed so hard because they knew if we waited, the public would get more and more information and say no.

            Since you were part of the MIC, I believe your vision is narrowed by that relationship.

            IMHO

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          7. RE: “Since you were part of the MIC, I believe your vision is narrowed by that relationship.”

            I used to think as you do. I believe my eyes were openned in the course of my career in the MIC. No one dislikes war more, or is more careful and thoughful about it than a warfighter.

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