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08 September 2011

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This is a very bad idea. It only means longer deployments for the Carrier Force.

I cannot but agree that, ceteris paribus, the carrier battle group forces would face longer or more frequently deployments if the fleet were reduced to eight. I doubt that the resulting personnel tempo would be sustainable. But I'm not suggesting that it should even be attempted..

Rather, I'm proposing that the government stop deploying two battle groups at once, and instead just deploy at most one. I may not have been completely clear about that in the article above. Here's my proposal, quite specifically. To begin, there's no reason to routinely send American flotillas to the Mediterranean; indeed, there's not much reason for a robust Sixth Fleet. This hasn't been done for some time, and without ill effect, so it shouldn't be restarted.

For the time being, there is a perceived need to send one to the Arabian Sea, but that need will abate after American involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan winds down.

In the long run, there may not be enough reason to routinely send American flotillas from San Diego or Puget Sound to the western Pacific. There's a carrier group in Japan to cover that area. There might be reason to send one occasionally, but the full deployment cycle may not be necessary.

But whatever the case, the suggests that a little operational discipline from the top will solve the problem. Just stop steaming back and forth. Given the infrequency with which the immediate presence of those groups has been critical, it's just not worth the money.

You are not watching carefully what China is doing, or Russia are you. We are rapidly loosing our capability to respond. Moth balling carriers, not till they can be replaced. Building will depend on the economy. My thoughts are, we need a very strong, military, with the latest tecnology to keep America safe. We have four main enemies, possibly five.

It is not only the Navy, but also the rest of the armed forces also. A strong military will mke aggressors think twice.

Thanks for your comments. By my count, the Chinese Navy has one carrier that isn't fully operational. The Russian Navy has one carrier, but I consider the Russians a rather implausible opponent, and one with which the navies of European NATO can deal quite effectively. Moreover, I'm suggesting that the US Atlantic Fleet be left with two operational supercarriers, which would have more than twice the aerial firepower of the Russian Northern Fleet's one. So, I'm arguing that outnumbering one's opponents two- or six-to-one is pretty adequate.

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  • James Hasik is a senior fellow at the Brent Scowcroft Center on International Security at the Atlantic Council, and an associate professor of the practice of industrial studies at the Eisenhower School for National Security and Resource Strategy, a college of the National Defense University in Washington DC. Since September 2001, he has been studying global security challenges and the economic enterprises that provide the tools to address them. His opinions are not necessarily those of the NDU, the Defense Department, or the US federal government at all.

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