Those of you who watched last night's debate saw the President deliver what he apparently took to be a stinging rebuke to his opponent. In fact it was a shocking argument.
You mention the Navy, for example, and that we have fewer ships than we did in 1916. Well, governor, we also have fewer horses and bayonets because the nature of our military has changed... We have these things called aircraft carriers, where planes land on them. We have these ships that go underwater, nuclear submarines. And so the question is not a game of Battleship, where we're counting ships.
Aircraft carriers and boomer submarines are both good examples of just why a larger Navy is necessary. US power projection is indeed built around these ships, but both kinds of ships require significant support from other ships. If boomer subs lack cover from attack subs, they are in peril. If you send an aircraft carrier into danger without adequate destroyer cover you will lose it. This is why every carrier strike group includes not just the power-projecting carrier and guided missile cruisers, but destroyers and anti-aircraft warships.
That doesn't even touch the number of pure support vessels that are afloat to keep the warships tended. Nor does it treat other means of power projection built around Navy vessels, such as the Marine Corps' 'Gator Freighters.'
Another reason this model of power projection requires a large Navy is that these ships sometimes need maintenance. Testimony on the effects of pending sequestration states that the current deployment model is unsustainable if those cuts go into effect.
It's one thing to say that you want a smaller, less capable American navy for some reason -- or that you are willing to accept a reduced American capacity to project power around the world. It's another thing to suggest that these ships are examples of why we don't need a large Navy. In fact, the model of power projection built around these ships is exactly why we need a large Navy. The ships are evidence for the opposite of the President's argument.
Oh, and just for the record, we actually have morebayonets now than in 1916, when the Army and National Guard were very small compared to European forces. It's a minor point, but given how dismissive the President chose to be about it, it's worth noting that he was wrong on the facts. Both American and British forces have fielded bayonet charges in Iraq and Afghanistan: see the link under "current deployment model" for examples.
Former Paratrooper and Army Officer, "Blackfive" started this blog upon learning of the valorous sacrifice of a friend that was not reported by the journalist whose life he saved. Email: blackfive AT gmail DOT com
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Bill Paisley, otherwise known as Pinch, is a 22 year (ongoing) active and
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Mr. Wolf has over 26 years in the Army, Army NG, and USAR. He’s Airborne with 5 years as an NCO, before becoming an officer. Mr. Wolf has had 4 company commands. Signal Corp is his basic branch, and Public Affairs is his functional area. He recently served 22 straight months in Kuwait and Iraq, in Intel, PA, and senior staff of MNF-I. Mr. Wolf is now an IT executive. He is currently working on a book on media and the Iraq war. Functional gearhead.
In Iraq, he received the moniker of Mr. Wolf after the Harvey Kietel character in Pulp Fiction, when "challenges" arose, they called on Mr. Wolf...
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Deebow is a Staff Sergeant and a Military Police Squad Leader in the Army National Guard. In a previous life, he served in the US Navy. He has over 19 years of experience in both the Maritime and Land Warfare; including deployments to Southwest Asia, Thailand, the South Pacific, South America and Egypt. He has served as a Military Police Team Leader and Protective Services Team Leader and he has served on assignments with the US State Department, US Air Force Security Police, US Army Criminal Investigation Division, and the US Drug Enforcement Administration. He recently spent time in Afghanistan working with, training and fighting alongside Afghan Soldiers and is now focused on putting his 4 year Political Science degree to work by writing about foreign policy, military security policy and politics.
McQ has 28 years active and reserve service. Retired. Infantry officer. Airborne and Ranger. Consider my 3 years with the 82nd as the most fun I ever had with my clothes on. Interests include military issues and policy and veteran's affairs.
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Tantor is a former USAF navigator/weapon system officer (WSO) in F-4E Phantoms who served in the US, Asia, and Europe. He is now a curmudgeonly computer geek in Washington, DC, picking the taxpayers pocket. His avocations are current events, aviation, history, and conservative politics.
Twenty-three years of Active and Reserve service in the US Army in SF (18B), Infantry and SOF Signal jobs with operational deployments to Bosnia and Africa. Since retiring he's worked as Senior Defense Analyst on SOF and Irregular Warfare projects and currently ensconced in the emerging world of Cyberspace.
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A Marine who began his blog in Iraq and reflects back on what he learned there and in Afghanistan. To the point opinions, ideas and thoughts on military, political and the media from One Marine’s View. Email: onemarinesview AT yahoo DOT com
Uber Pig was an Infantryman from late 1991 until early 1996, serving with Second Ranger Battalion, I Corps, and then 25th Infantry Division. At the time, the Army discriminated against enlisted soldiers who wanted use the "Green to Gold" program to become officers, so he left to attend Stanford University. There, he became expert in detecting, avoiding, and surviving L-shaped ambushes, before dropping out to be as entrepreneurial as he could be. He is now the founder of a software startup serving the insurance and construction industries, and splits time between Lake Tahoe, Boonville, and San Francisco, CA.
Uber Pig writes for Blackfive a) because he's the proud brother of an enlisted Civil Affairs Reservist who currently serves in Iraq, b) because he looks unkindly on people who make it harder for the military in general, and for his brother in particular, to succeed at their missions and come home in victory, and c) because the Blackfive readers and commenters help keep him sane.
COB6 spent 24 years in the active duty Army that included 5 combat tours with service in the 1st Ranger Battalion and 1st Special Forces Group . COB6 was enlisted (E-7) and took the OCS route to a commission. COB6 retired a few years back as a field grade Infantry officer.
Currently COB6 has a son in the 82nd Airborne that just returned from his third tour and has a newly commissioned daughter in the 4th Infantry Division.