Saturday, February 9, 2013

Navy: Lincoln Refueling Delayed, Will Hurt Carrier Readiness

Rep. J. Randy Forbes (R-Va.) chairman of the House Armed Services Seapower subcommittee called the delay, “another example of how these reckless and irresponsible defense cuts in Washington will have a long-term impact on the Navy’s ability to perform its missions. Not only will the Lincoln be delayed in returning to the Fleet, but this decision will also affect the USS Enterprise (CVN-65) defueling, the USS George Washington (CVN-73) RCOH, and future carrier readiness.”--Navy

The cascading effect of delaying the refueling of a single carrier will have profound effects on carrier readiness for many years to come.  Our current and future enemies are watching this with interest.  The carrier fleet remains the primary means of the US to project power in a global environment.  If the carriers are unavailable, so to is power projection.  Drones aren't the same thing.  A single missile strike does not (at least not year) strike fear into to the hearts of despots the way a carrier battle group does.

This is a calculated risk that does not bode well for the United States and her allies.  Britain can barely keep its forces funded and global ventures may be out of the question for them in the very near future.  No other country has really stood with the United States and without the British, there really is little other allies would or could bring to the table.

Also of interest to this discussion is now the rumor that Hegel may only have a 50/50 chance of becoming the next Secretary of Defense.  If he does, his testimony has demonstrated he may be one of the least prepared individuals to take over at the Pentagon.  If he does not get confirmed, who then will the Obama administration appoint?  Panetta has already loudly criticized sequestering so it will be unlikely that he would be asked to remain.  No alternates to Hegel have appeared at this time.  The only other vet is Kerry who has already taken the helm at State.  Perhaps McCain but he would bring much of the same baggage that is stalling Hegel's nomination.

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