After serving 22 years in the U.S. Army, it is time I make this formal admission. It is maritime power – a strong navy — not an army — by which a nation extends and projects its power.
It’s a known fact that goes back to the ancient Phoenicians. The Spartans were renowned as a formidable land force, but the Athenians ruled the Aegean. It was a lesson that the Romans learned and invested heavily in order to defeat the Carthaginians and rule the Mediterranean. Even the nations of Europe, first the Portuguese, the Dutch, the French, and of course the British realized its importance in being a dominant power. And during the major wars of the 20th century, Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan understood its worth if their designs of global hegemony would be achieved. And we, America, learned early as a nation in facing the Barbary pirates and eventually built a formidable fleet.
A powerful navy is vital for trade and the protection of the sea lanes of commerce, which is vital to a nation’s economic prosperity. Yep, I guess since Army hasn’t beaten Navy in football since 9-11-01 we need to acquiesce.
However, let history remind us, it is our U.S. Army that has conducted more amphibious landing assaults — the largest, Operation Overlord (D-Day landings at Normandy) and one of the most strategically brilliant, planned by Army General MacArthur — the Inchon landing.
Perhaps someone needs to send this current Obama administration to the U.S. Naval War College up in Newport Rhode Island because they just don’t get it.Last week, what we’ve been sharing here, the decimation of our U.S. Army, finally became a news item. We’ve seen recent reports on Fox News about the horrific situation regarding U.S. Marine Corps F/A-18 fighter jets, and likewise for U.S. Air Force B-1 Bombers and F-16 fighter aircraft. Now, we see the devastation of our U.S. Navy.
As the Washington Free Beacon reports, “The U.S. Navy is suffering from an inability to deploy ships to key international conflict zones due to rising maintenance issues on an aging fleet, that is increasingly being sidelined for lengthy repairs, according to military experts and a new government investigation. Heavy demand on the Navy’s fleet during the past decade has compromised the operational conditions of many ships, forcing military leaders to sideline these vessels for lengthy repairs that experts say will severely limit the Navy’s ability to respond to emerging threats in the Persian Gulf and Asia-Pacific regions.
Critical maintenance was completed on time on just 11 percent of the Navy’s aircraft carriers in 2015, causing these vessels to lose around 181 deployment days, according to the latest projections by the Government Accountability Office.
The situation is worse for surface combatant ships. Maintenance on these vessels was completed on time in just 28 percent of cases, causing the fleet to lose around 391 total deployment days, according to the GAO latest report.
Military experts told the Washington Free Beacon that the “Navy crunch” is not expected to end anytime soon, raising questions about the United States’ ability to respond on multiple fronts in key conflict zones.”
We previously shared here the abysmal story about the U.S. Navy “gapping” CVBG (Carrier Battlegroup) coverage in the Persian Gulf last year — the first time in some seven years. These United States of America had to ask the French Navy and its on-station CVBG to provide coverage — and the ensuing result was a drop in aerial strikes against ISIS.
Yes, I know, many of you will say, “why should I care, we don’t need this large force.” Perhaps that may be true, but what you do need is a deterrent capability and a power projection platform, which is what maritime capability provides.
And perhaps, we could have been better positioned so we wouldn’t have had Americans abandoned to die in a foreign land. Funny thing — it was years ago that America landed a Marine Corps force under the leadership of Lieutenant Pressly O’Bannon in Derma, Libya — history always teaches us a lesson.
From the high point of the Reagan administration where we maintained some 560 surface combatant vessels, we’ve dropped to 283 and potentially could go as low as 230. And the recent days have not been very kind to our Navy — witness the capture by the Iranians of our Riverine assault boats with our Sailors on their knees at gun point. Along with the incessant “buzzing” of our US Navy Destroyer in international waters of the Baltic Sea — hardly, indicators of maritime superiority and strength. Then again, perhaps this is part of the “fundamental transformation” of America. It would appear that Commander-in-Chief Obama is more concerned with bathroom use and social egalitarianism than our maritime capability.
I would think no U.S. president would want such abhorrent conditions to have occurred on their watch — then again, these are not normal times and this is not a normal presidency. “Extended maintenance availabilities and schedule overruns compress the time available for training, deployment, and sustainment, thereby jeopardizing the Navy’s ability to meet its goals in these areas,” the GAO said in its latest report.
In one instance, “the 2015 planned maintenance availability for the USS George H. W. Bush (CVN 77) exceeded its six-month availability by more than two months,” the investigation found. “To accommodate the increase, the Navy reduced the ship’s employability to operational commanders by three weeks and compressed its scheduled training by five weeks.” As of January 2016, only 15 of the 83 cruisers and destroyers had completed their new maintenance regimen, according to the report. None of the U.S. aircraft carriers have done so.
“Adm. Michelle Howard, Vice Chief of Naval Operations, testified this year that only one of the three required Carrier Strike Groups are ready to deploy within a month,” Mackenzie Eaglen, a longtime defense adviser and expert in military readiness, told the Free Beacon.
“Extended maintenance availabilities and schedule overruns compress the time available for training, deployment, and sustainment, thereby jeopardizing the Navy’s ability to meet its goals in these areas,” the GAO said in its latest report.
In one instance, “the 2015 planned maintenance availability for the USS George H. W. Bush (CVN 77) exceeded its six-month availability by more than two months,” the investigation found. “To accommodate the increase, the Navy reduced the ship’s employability to operational commanders by three weeks and compressed its scheduled training by five weeks.” As of January 2016, only 15 of the 83 cruisers and destroyers had completed their new maintenance regimen, according to the report. None of the U.S. aircraft carriers have done so.”
It is a matter of naval tradition that its carriers are named after former presidents. At this rate, the USS Barack H. Obama will be a tugboat.
The sad reality is that just as it was after the horrific four years of President Jimmy Carter, a U.S. Naval Academy graduate and submariner, Ronald Reagan, dedicated efforts to rebuilding our military force. I for one was a recipient of his vision. We can rebuild our military in a fiscally responsible manner. However, Reagan did it after just four years of Carter. Obama has had eight years to do his damage — the effort will have to be Herculean, but it must be done. Or else, we relegate our future generations to a less safe and secure world. And we place our Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, and Marines in harm’s way.
Folks, this is a result of following the pied piper community organizer into the promised land of unicorns and rainbows.