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The aircraft carriers depicted here in a graphic are drawn to to scale.
The aircraft carriers depicted here in a graphic are drawn to scale. says there are currently 31 aircraft carriers in the world's navies and the folks at Wikipedia say 37. That's partly a consequence of definitions, with Wikipedia including one South Korean ship, two Japanese ships and three French ships in the aircraft carrier total that Global Security excludes.

Each of the icons in the graphic is an accurate depiction of the flight deck as seen from above, all drawn to the same scale. Each of the middle column of ships is roughly the size of the Empire State Building.


An aircraft carrier is a ship that is capable of operating fixed wing aircraft, including jump-jets such as the Harrier. America has nearly twice as many aircraft carriers - 19—as the rest of humanity combined—12—and America's aircraft carriers are substantially larger than almost all the other's aircraft carriers. The Navy likes to call the big Nimitz class carriers "4.5 acres of sovereign and mobile American territory"—and all nineteen American carriers of all classes add up to nearly over 65 acres of deck space. Deck space is probably a good measure of combat power. The rest of the world's carriers have about 25 acres of deck space, approximately one third that of America's [until 2011, this number was only 15 acres, but new Chinese and Italian vessels upped the total appreciably]. [...]

Japan was a pioneer in carrier based aviation prior to the Second World War, but has not operated aircraft carriers since that time, as they are considered offensive rather than defensive weapons. In recent years, Japan has built a succession of small "carrier-like" vessels, including four "13,500 ton" [light] but nothing approaching an actual aircraft carrier. Japan is currently building a pair of 22DDH helicopter destroyers that are aircraft carriers in everything but name, with a larger flight-deck [though not displacement] than the aircraft carriers with which Japan attacked Pearl Harbor. [...]

Sometimes it is difficult to understand the scope of American military power relative to that of the rest of the world.

Not depicted on the graphic above is the Ford-class, USS Gerald R. Ford, which was launched last year but is still under construction and has yet to take to the high seas. The most recent estimated cost to the taxpayers the Ford is $12.8 billion, 22 percent more than the 2008 budget set for it. That's twice the 2014 fiscal year budget of New Mexico. Plus, there was $4.7 billion spent on research and development for the carrier. When it finally comes into service, the U.S. will have 20 carriers afloat.

Originally posted to Meteor Blades on Tue Apr 15, 2014 at 12:07 PM PDT.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (167+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Gooserock, ypochris, jakedog42, JeffW, AoT, Shockwave, amyzex, Eric Nelson, annieli, MKinTN, FogCityJohn, Greyhound, Doctor RJ, Lady Libertine, kevinpdx, 420 forever, RandomNonviolence, HedwigKos, skepticalcitizen, PrahaPartizan, jwinIL14, bear83, enhydra lutris, bobswern, chuckvw, twigg, Gary Norton, allenjo, jes2, Laurel in CA, Glen The Plumber, cybersaur, GAS, Choco8, unclebucky, ontheleftcoast, jfromga, puakev, Lepanto, deben, UncleCharlie, CwV, markdd, Dood Abides, fToRrEeEsSt, Ginny in CO, Thinking Fella, deha, stvnjon, LillithMc, lotlizard, The Jester, Steven D, Buckeye54, ferg, Habitat Vic, JayBat, yoduuuh do or do not, eeff, Dodgerdog1, oldpotsmuggler, Knucklehead, Egalitare, Superpole, jayden, unfangus, ColoTim, dradams, AdamR510, pat bunny, collardgreens, buckstop, here4tehbeer, Redfire, veritas curat, kfunk937, Lefty Ladig, Brian82, CitizenOfEarth, thomask, ModerateJosh, psnyder, lineatus, xaxnar, frostbite, KJG52, happymisanthropy, NonnyO, jamess, Kevskos, pickandshovel, itzadryheat, paradise50, anodnhajo, davidincleveland, Jim P, PeterHug, antirove, bigbenny, wader, Bollox Ref, pixxer, skybluewater, eagleray, Texknight, oofer, martinjedlicka, Steveningen, PeteZerria, TKO333, Regina in a Sears Kit House, eztempo, IndieGuy, chrississippi, Sonnet, YucatanMan, Simplify, 207wickedgood, BusyinCA, mookins, Ignacio Magaloni, joynow, sailmaker, tiggers thotful spot, walkshills, begone, WakeUpNeo, camlbacker, jacey, basquebob, Burned, wxorknot, Tinfoil Hat, ChemBob, MartyM, OllieGarkey, Siri, Carol in San Antonio, kurt, rocksout, Arfeeto, RUNDOWN, sciguy, debris54, JML9999, LeftOfYou, rodentrancher, crose, LarryNM, Einsteinia, dharmasyd, Notreadytobenice, Liberal Thinking, Jay C, BMScott, Dan Nott, nirbama, rexxnyc, Tonedevil, defluxion10, Hirodog, GreyHawk, jbsoul, sunny skies, 2questions, METAL TREK, Cadillac64

    Don't tell me what you believe, show me what you do and I will tell you what you believe.

    by Meteor Blades on Tue Apr 15, 2014 at 12:07:26 PM PDT

  •  Wake Me (32+ / 0-)

    --well, my grandchildren--

    when the Cold War ends.

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Tue Apr 15, 2014 at 12:11:45 PM PDT

    •  by now the war is a perpetual motion machine (8+ / 0-)
    •  Its WWII we are waiting to have end (7+ / 0-)

      and since we have been engaged in more or less continuous warfare since the French and Indian Wars its not too surprising that our military has a larger chunk of our economy by at least one order of magnitude than everything else combined. I got a total of 41 aircraft carriers spread over 5 different hull types.

      Much of our military spending is concealed as civilian spending such as Eisenhower's road building, the National Defense Highway System, that committed us to see the USA in our Chevrolet; gas guzzling cars and trucks, gas stations, big energy, steel, whats good for General Motors (and General Electric, and General Dynamics etc;) is good for the USA.

      Hollywood Action Movies and propaganda have sort of sold the idea that the way we support our troops is to give them bigger and better weapons of mass destruction, nuclear aircraft carriers being only the centerpiece of our 430 ship navy, 50 ship army (down from over 1000 pieces of "floating equipment" manned during WWII) 17 ship Air force, then of course there is also our coast guard, our merchant marine, our auxiliary vessels such as floating cranes, barges, barracks craft, floating prisons, read the list its fascinating

      Live Free or Die --- Investigate, Incarcerate

      by rktect on Wed Apr 16, 2014 at 02:53:03 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  and it's a form of economic stimulus--ONLY (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        kalihikane, socal altvibe, rexxnyc

        in this case the capital goes into the coffers of many Halliburton-type cronies.  

        Imagine if this kind of capital went into public schools, research and infrastructure.

        Separation of Church and State AND Corporation

        by Einsteinia on Wed Apr 16, 2014 at 07:17:16 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Not 41 Active Carriers (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Tennessee Dave

        The U.S. does not have 41 active carriers spread over 5 different hull types per the link you provided.  Most of those carriers have been pulled from active service and have been mothballed, turned into museums, or sold for scrap.  None of the vessels in the CV, CVA, CVHE or CVS class are still in service.  The U.S. naval vessels defined as aircraft carriers for this article that are currently on active service are all CVN class (10), LHD class (8) or LHA (1).

        My father served of five carriers on the list during his naval career from 1962 to 1985, with the inactivation of the Enterprise in 2012, none of the ships he served on are still in service.  The other four have all been stricken from the Naval registry.  My father-in-law served on the Oriskany in the 50s, it is now functioning quite nicely as an artificial reef on the floor of the Gulf of Mexico.

        Once construction of the LHA class ships America and Tripoli  and the CVN Gerald Ford the U.S. could have as many as 22 aircraft carriers, assuming none of those currently in service age out and are decommissioned.

        •  Thank you for your correction (0+ / 0-)

          I know we have fleets of ships "mothballed" for potential future reuse should we ever have an enemy or enemies willing to invest resources in trying to compete with our dominance of land sea, air and space, but at this point we don't.

          When we nuked our Pacific fleet after WWII we might have expected that civilian needs were seen as more of a priority than maintaining large navies in time of peace but fortunately we managed to invent a cold war to justify building more and keeping the armies of civilians who had achieved prosperity following the Great Depression by working to make us the worlds number one arms dealer from having to return to their mideast dustbowls and rustbucket Great Lakes ore carriers.

          If your father were to be asked would he say the Oriskany's service as a floating reef serves a more urgent need than having another portable patch of US acerage?

          Live Free or Die --- Investigate, Incarcerate

          by rktect on Thu Apr 17, 2014 at 03:45:29 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  The Oriskany (0+ / 0-)

            My father-in-law served on the Oriskany.  He was a propulsion technician and worked in the boiler room of the ship.  He wasn't even interested in going to see it in Corpus Christi as it was being prepared to be sunk.  

            As to my father's thoughts, he would probably say it was an obsolete piece of junk.  He served on the Roosevelt (the one named after FDR) in the mid 60's and said "FDR" stood for "Filthy Dirty and Rusty," he has no qualms that a 40 to 50 year old ship is mothballed then converted into a museum sold for scrap, or sunk to serve as an artificial reef, to him that's simply part of the life cycle of any ship.  Ships, like cars wear out, and eventually they are no longer cost effective to maintain, upgrade or restore.

            Incidentally, the Oriskany was part of the mothball fleet at Bremerton, Washington when my dad was stationed there in the late 70's.  It was moored alongside the USS New Jersey and the USS Missouri, that was before Reagan brought those two vessels back on active duty.  We drove past it many times during the time we lied there.  The two battleships are now serving as museums.

            If you're interested, there's an excellent documentary on the sinking of the Oriskany.

    •  It has ended, it is just that (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      someone forgot to tell the USA. Or at least the DOD.

      We have only just begun and none too soon.

      by global citizen on Wed Apr 16, 2014 at 06:47:39 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  The DoD budget dropped 30%... (4+ / 0-)

      at the end of the Cold War. In constant-dollar terms, it fell by almost a third between 1989 and the mid-90s - as it should have.

      Then it went back up after 9/11.

      What we need is to do what happened after the World Wars and at the end of the Cold War: a Return to Normalcy.

      Art is the handmaid of human good.

      by joe from Lowell on Wed Apr 16, 2014 at 06:58:22 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Sadly, we never demobilized from the Cold War (0+ / 0-)

        As soon as the Cold War "ended", George H.W. Bush and Dick Cheney decided that now the American military had to be able to fight two simultaneous wars on two fronts.  

        It was all a ruse just to maintain the MIC.

        Shirley Chisholm was right. Our Republic is in deep trouble.

        by Big River Bandido on Thu Apr 17, 2014 at 09:29:43 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  France had more Maginot lines than anyone else (26+ / 0-)

    as well.  Luckily those stout lines of defense were impregnable, (although that sounds like something that the AFA and Nat. Org of Marriage would find offensive, simply because of the word) or we might have seen some Austrian Colonel who painted water colors do some damage to civilization.

    What we call god is merely a living creature with superior technology & understanding. If their fragile egos demand prayer, they lose that superiority.

    by agnostic on Tue Apr 15, 2014 at 12:12:23 PM PDT

    •  I think there are a lot of assumptions about (23+ / 0-)

      what the intended use of aircraft carriers are. They would be incredibly easy for a nation like China to destroy in the event of war, but their main use is to fight smaller powers. With the advent of ballistic missiles they became mostly obsolete for larger conflicts.

      In fact, Even the navy says so.

      No War but Class War

      by AoT on Tue Apr 15, 2014 at 12:31:23 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Hitler was actually a Corporal. n/t (8+ / 0-)

      The Stars and Bars and the red swastika banner are both offerings to the same barbaric god.

      by amyzex on Tue Apr 15, 2014 at 12:34:12 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  True, but self-promotion is something (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        amyzex, ColoTim, ChemBob

        that the AFA and NOM do so well.

        What we call god is merely a living creature with superior technology & understanding. If their fragile egos demand prayer, they lose that superiority.

        by agnostic on Tue Apr 15, 2014 at 12:42:29 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Post War (0+ / 0-)

          Hitler worked for the Intelligence Services of the Bundswher, as a propagandist and agitator, allied with the FreiKorps Militias against the Socialists.

          •  Hitler Survived WW2? Hoocoodanode! (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            bear83, chuckvw, frostbite

            If Hitler worked for any German military services post-WW1, it would have been the Reichswehr.  For Hitler to have worked for the Bundeswehr, he would have had to survive WW2.  Of course, there was a lot of confusion in Berlin in May 1945.

            "Love the Truth, defend the Truth, speak the Truth, and hear the Truth" - Jan Hus, d.1415 CE

            by PrahaPartizan on Tue Apr 15, 2014 at 01:51:07 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Yup, wrong Army (0+ / 0-)

              Reichswehr Abseiling I b/p under Captain Karl Mayr

              •  That should be (0+ / 0-)

                Abteilung 'branch, division, department'.  Specifically, Abteilung I b/P of Reichswehrgruppenkommando 4.  According to an old issue of Der Spiegel, the unit was variously called the Nachrichtenabteilung, Presse- und Propagandaabteilung, and Aufklärungsabteilung.  The first is normally translated signals unit in a military context, but here intelligence division is probably better.  The second is pretty self-explanatory, and the third is reconnaissance division.  Apparently one function of the unit was to keep an eye on extreme political groups.

    •  The Alpine Line (14+ / 0-)

      In the south of France, despite being stripped down to only 25,000 defenders, and with most of the Fortifications incomplete, stopped the Italian Invasion cold.

      In the south east, a handful of Maginot Line emplacements were lost to German attacks, at a cost to the Germans of hundreds of thousands of casualties, this, despite the line being stripped of weapons, men and ammo to defend the Northeast.

      In the northeast, there was no Maginot Line, as originally, Allied Belgium was support to fortify the Border with Germany, but they pulled out in 1937 and declared neutrality. There was no time for France to fortify the northeast, and other than some upgrades to existing Forts, the Belgians left the French Flank open.

      Given the top down attack ballistic missiles that Russia and China are working on, Aircraft Carriers are probably not very useful in a Powers War, but then, in all the Cold War Gaming, the best the World ever did, was manage three days of conventional war before the nukes started flying.

      Carriers are great at projecting power, intimidating and beating up Second World and Third World Nations, as most Carrier Groups have more firepower and much more advanced systems than most Nations Militaries.

      So , the US will keep building them and deploying them as long as they have the money.

      •  I would say that aircraft carrier, in term of (6+ / 0-)

        actual war, is not that useful.

        In term of a humanitarian ship that have some war capability, it's pretty nifty.
        Essentially, it's a floating city, with all the amenities thereof (electricity, "airport", cargo/people space, hospital). Any time there's a natural disaster, a carrier can fill in for most of the infrastructure that's wiped out in the interim.

        •  depends upon who the war is against (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          ColoTim, happymisanthropy, frostbite

          Against most countries, they would be incredibly useful. Most countries can't do anything about them.

        •  RoRo Cargo ship with lots of supplies (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Kevskos, frostbite

          would likely do better.

          Some sort of shallow draft RoRo(Roll On Roll Off with lots
          of excavators, containers with tents, supplies.

          show up and 24 hours later, start operating a tent city.

        •  They are hugely expensive (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          A Siegel, METAL TREK

          for humanitarian operations. One of them costs more than the entire expense of humanitarian assistance for the Syrian civil war.

          What they are useful for is stopping or shortening wars by use of air power, such as in the Balkans in the 90's and Libya more recently. They have a place in stopping wars, but we don't need ten of them.

          The military doesn't do humanitarian assistance especially well. It just seems that way since they have 10x or 100x the resources of everyone else. But the actual experience is that the cost of delivering assistance by the military ends up being higher when you factor in all costs, the nuance of relief without distorting economies and societies is lost, and pretty much all they are good at is logistics. Logistics is half the battle, but the truth is, most people in famines die of disease and not hunger, and the military is not well suited to do health.

          Their role should be separating the bad guys, and creating and policing humanitarian zones such as no-fly zones.

          “If the misery of the poor be caused not by the laws of nature, but by our institutions, great is our sin.” Charles Darwin

          by ivorybill on Wed Apr 16, 2014 at 06:06:51 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  True. They're expensive since they're warship (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            ivorybill, A Siegel

            in the first place.
            Still, its a warship that happens to have pretty good function as on-the-spot relief. And due to the fact they're essentially stationed around the world oceans, they pretty much have the "first on the scene" advantage.

            My point is that the carrier happens to have a secondary purpose. If they're not being used to blow-up people, it's pretty good that they do fairly decent as a first response to disaster.

            To put it in another way, instead of looking at the cost as "this is how much we're paying to have a mobile air-force", look at the cost as "we're paying to have a mobile air-force that also functions as a emergency response unit".

            Granted, it may still be expensive for the military and humanitarian purpose it serves.

          •  Disaster relief and modern warfare both need (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            A Siegel

            the capacity to move mind-boggling amounts of stuff to the other side of the world and deliver it the last couple of hundred miles without any infrastructure.

            Bello ne credite, Americani; quidquid id est, timeo Republicanos et securitatem ferentes.

            by Sura 109 on Wed Apr 16, 2014 at 07:23:59 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

      •  stopped the Italian invasion cold (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        Yes, but stopping Italian invasions cold in WWII was not exactly difficult. As I recall, the biggest problem facing the tiny British force in North Africa was how to house all the Italian prisoners they were taking. The Afrika Korps, on the other hand....

        "Something has gone very wrong with America, not just its economy, but its ability to function as a democratic nation. And it’s hard to see when or how that wrongness will get fixed." Paul Krugman and Robin Wells

        by Reston history guy on Tue Apr 15, 2014 at 07:30:41 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  did he get promoted from Corporal? n/t (0+ / 0-)

      When I cannot sing my heart. I can only speak my mind.

      by Unbozo on Tue Apr 15, 2014 at 12:48:46 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  You took my message (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      happymisanthropy, JeffW, YucatanMan

      We have proven yet again that we are very good at fighting the last war...

    •  I hate it when people get the Maginot Line wrong (7+ / 0-)

      The Maginot Line worked. It did exactly what it was supposed to do: deny the Germans freedom of movement and force them to attack in a known area where French, British, and Belgian would be prepared to meet them.

      The reason for the Maginot Line was the French had lost so many during the First World War that, even with conscription, there simply weren't enough bodies to adequately defend their entire border, so the Line was built allowing a much smaller force to hold the border. The overall strategic plan was that if the Germans attacked, they wouldn't be insane enough to go up against the forts and so would, once again, swing north, forcing them to go through Belgium. Once they attacked Belgium, British and French forces would rush forward to pre-planned positions. Although there was no formal military alliance, a great many British and French officers had taken pleasant vacations in Belgium and (entirely coincidentally) had run into Belgian officers out for a pleasant day in the country and, you know, people talk shop.

      By forcing the Germans to attack in the north, it brought them closer to the Channel, which meant the British could get troops across and into the fight quickly.

      It didn't work for two reasons: the fall of Eben Emael and the subsequent British panic. Not the usual story you hear, is it?

      Eben Emael was a Belgian fortress, something like a Maginot Line fort on steroids. It was a key link in the strategic defensive plan: either the Germans stopped to take it, which would allow more time for British and French mobile forces to get into the battle, or the Germans bypassed it, meaning they would leave a huge honking threat in their rear.

      But then the Germans pulled off two suicidally risky actions that worked. The first was the advance through the Ardennes. The reason why this was strategically risky was that if they'd been caught in time, the narrow roads could have been easily blocked, creating a massive traffic jam of separate advancing columns unable to support one another that could have been defeated in detail, or at least held. The second thing they did was an airborne assault on Eben Emael. Remember, at the time airborne forces were still  a new concept, and the engineers and planners had simply not considered the possibility of someone landing on top of the fortress and compromising it that way. If they had prepared machine gun positions and some AA guns, it would have been a different story.

      So Eben Emael falls, the Germans sneak through the Ardennes, France is doomed, right?

      Not quite. Although the Germans initially had the advantage and caught the French off-guard, they had assembled units that were fighting back, and in some encounters had successfully fought them to a standstill. There was still the possibility of stopping the bleeding...but then the British got spooked. They pulled back out of the positions they'd advanced to according to the initial plans because they were worried that the French were about to fold. It became a self-fulfilling prophecy. Their retreat opened gaps in the line, which allowed the Germans to rush in and circumvent the successful French blocking positions, forcing them to retreat in turn, which gave more room for the Germans to maneuver, and then it was all over.

      So, basic summary: the Maginot Line, in the planning sense, did exactly what it was supposed to do. It was not, in fact, a failure. It was the other parts of the plan that failed.

      •  The Absolute Worst Against the Absolute Best (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        A Siegel, Solarian

        French deployment decisions pre-assualt also heavily influenced the outcome of the battles along the Meuse that May 1940.  The French, believing their command leaderships' statements that the Meuse was impenetrable deployed distinctly third-class troops along the Meuse.  Does anyone think that the second-line reservists making up the French 9th Army could be fairly matched up against the battle-tested panzers the Germans were sending through the Ardennes?  Even as it unfolded, the French fought stalwartly, with a single French tank holding up the Germans in the battle for Stonne for a half day, but a single tank can do only so much.  For three days world history pivoted on the two pontoon bridges the Germans had thrown over the Meuse at Sedan to support the panzers on the west bank.  The pity is that the French has war-gamed a German assault through the Ardennes and the French gamers made it through in the same 2-3 day time the Germans achieved, not the week long period French doctrine had decreed.  The rest is history.

        "Love the Truth, defend the Truth, speak the Truth, and hear the Truth" - Jan Hus, d.1415 CE

        by PrahaPartizan on Wed Apr 16, 2014 at 08:49:42 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  We need more than anyone else. (10+ / 0-)

    There are a lot of American corporations people around the world that may need protection.

    Most of the people taking a hard line against us are firmly convinced that they are the last defenders of civilization... The last stronghold of mother, God, home and apple pie and they're full of shit! David Crosby, Journey Thru the Past.

    by Mike S on Tue Apr 15, 2014 at 12:14:12 PM PDT

  •  And those carriers don't go to sea by themselves. (6+ / 0-)
  •  A 17.4 billion dollar ship (17+ / 0-)

    that can be easily sunk with a million dollar missile or torpedo. The plane carrying the torpedo doesn't even have to come within sight of the ship. And it isn't like everyone doesn't know exactly where each and every one of these are, in the era of satellites.

    Surface naval power is obsolete, other than against third rate powers. The purpose of these craft isn't self defense, it is to dominate and control poorer countries.

  •  Fighting the last war... (7+ / 0-)

    ...they worked so well in WW2.

    My father-in-law began his career as a young officer fresh out of the Naval Academy serving on the USS Enterprise (CV-6). The Lucky E would be considered a helicopter carrier in today's terms, and he told me once that while the fixed-wing flattops are 5 times larger than the Enterprise, they only carry twice the personnel. Refueling only consists of taking on more JP-4, but they're working on that, too (he was, amongst other things, refueling officer).

    Og course, if Romney had won, we'd be building Dreadnoughts again!

    Float like a manhole cover, sting like a sash weight! Clean Coal Is A Clinker!

    by JeffW on Tue Apr 15, 2014 at 12:31:03 PM PDT

  •  The ships in the leftmost column (18+ / 0-)

    are amphibious attack ships or as we called them in the Navy "gator freighters," used for getting Marine aircraft and ground units into position.  There is some dispute whether they should be classified as aircraft carriers and they do not have battle groups built around them the way fleet carriers (the middle column) do.  Nevertheless the visual representation of their size is striking.

    The Stars and Bars and the red swastika banner are both offerings to the same barbaric god.

    by amyzex on Tue Apr 15, 2014 at 12:36:18 PM PDT

  •  Force Projection (16+ / 0-)

    The number of carriers will stay the same, since the Ford Class is meant to replace some of the older carriers.

    When the USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN-78) is commissioned, it will take the place of the USS Enterprise (CVN-65), which was just decommissioned.

    • USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN-78) replaces the USS Enterprise (CVN-65)
    • USS John F. Kennedy (CVN-79) replaces the USS Nimitz (CVN-68)
    • USS Enterprise (CVN-80) replaces the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN-69)

    From BBC News:

    The logic for carriers is very simple. It allows a nation to take air power around the globe without having to worry about countries in between who might refuse the use of ground bases or airspace.

    Bosnia was such a case, says former Royal Marine Major-General Julian Thompson.

    "The Italians said you aren't going to fly from our airfields or over Italy." And he points out that the only enemy planes shot down by British aircraft since WWII have been by the Fleet Air Arm based on carriers.

    But have things changed in the age of the nuclear submarine, precision missiles and the unmanned drone?

    Unlike "pointless" frigates, carriers are still as relevant as ever, says Lewis Page, a former naval officer and author of Lions, Donkeys and Dinosaurs: Waste and Blundering in the Military. The drone might be all the rage but you still need somewhere to launch it from.

    Nuclear submarines are "excellent" at many things. Their Tomahawk cruise missiles flew hundreds of miles to knock out Colonel Gaddafi's air force.

    "But a submarine can't tell you where the targets are. And they can't be easily rearmed apart from at a naval base."

  •  But carries are cheap. They only cost... (6+ / 0-)

    ...$22 billion per life-cycle not including the planes they carry and all the ships needed for a carrier battle group.

    Carrier battlegroup photo Carrierbattlegroup_zps5fc72cf0.jpg

    Daily Kos an oasis of truth. Truth that leads to action.

    by Shockwave on Tue Apr 15, 2014 at 12:38:36 PM PDT

  •  nothing but expensive targets (9+ / 0-)
    A photo depicting an American nuclear-powered submarine poking its periscope above the waves—within shooting distance of a British aircraft carrier during a war game—is a useful reminder of one of the most important truths of naval warfare.

    For every sailor who’s not in a submarine, submarines are real scary.

    Stealthy and heavily-armed, subs are by far the most powerful naval vessels in the world for full-scale warfare—and arguably the best way to sink those more obvious icons of naval power, aircraft carriers.

    The public may not fully appreciate submarines’ lopsided combat advantage, but the world’s leading navies sure do. Today Chinese, Russian and American submarines, among others, are busy sneaking up on, tracking and practicing sinking rival fleets’ flattops.

    Warning - some snark may be above‽ (-9.50; -7.03)‽ eState4Column5©2013 "I’m not the strapping young Muslim socialist that I used to be" - Barack Obama 04/27/2013 (@eState4Column5).

    by annieli on Tue Apr 15, 2014 at 12:38:42 PM PDT

    •  The Diesel-Electric Submarine Threat (11+ / 0-)
      To put it simply, if naval exercises in the last two decades involving foreign diesel-electric submarines had been actual combat, most if not all, U.S. aircraft carriers would be at the bottom of the ocean: as many as 10 U.S. aircraft carriers have been reported “sunk” in these exercises.

      The analytically conservative Congressional Budget Office was alarmed enough to officially report that “some analysts argue that the Navy is not very good at locating diesel-electric submarines, especially in noisy, shallower waters near coastal areas. Exercises with allied navies that use diesel-electric submarines confirm that problem…[For example,] Israeli diesel-electric submarines, which until recently were relatively old, are said to always ‘sink’ some of the large and powerful warships of the U.S. Sixth Fleet in exercises. And most recently, an Australian Collins-class submarine penetrated a U.S. carrier battlegroup and was in a position to sink an aircraft carrier during exercises off Hawaii in May 2000.”

      There have been many such exercise “sinkings” since then, including aircraft carriers Reagan and Lincoln.

      Moreover, the problem stems not just from the latest, 21st-century diesel-electric submarine technology from the West, it occurs in the form of various earlier technology submarines built in Russia, operated by China, and/or available to various lesser navies, such as Peru’s, and throughout the world.

      The latter navies include North Korea’s and Iran’s. The problem was dramatically demonstrated when a Chinese Song-class submarine surfaced—previously undetected—in the middle of a U.S. carrier battlegroup much too close for comfort to the USS Kittyhawk in 2006.

      Nor is this problem new. When the U.S. Navy still possessed diesel-electric submarines (until 1990), aircraft carrier and major surface combatants were routinely “sunk” in exercises—unless carrier advocates had the exercise ruling reversed for the sake of appearances.

      Warning - some snark may be above‽ (-9.50; -7.03)‽ eState4Column5©2013 "I’m not the strapping young Muslim socialist that I used to be" - Barack Obama 04/27/2013 (@eState4Column5).

      by annieli on Tue Apr 15, 2014 at 12:41:45 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  UH? (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      bear83, Dr Swig Mcjigger, Shockwave

      I don't think so. The only way a diesel sub is going to catch a carrier group, carrier don't go alone, is if goes over him. It can happen in small seas like the Med but not very likely. The Chinese subs are mostly mediocre at best

    •  IIRC 2 subs accompany each CV group. (0+ / 0-)

      Attack subs, these aint no Ohio type Boomers.

      .................expect us......................... FDR 9-23-33, "If we cannot do this one way, we will do it another way. But do it we will.

      by Roger Fox on Tue Apr 15, 2014 at 02:37:22 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  "U.S. Navy still in search of Japan's Navy" (6+ / 0-)

    I heard something like that several years ago.
      We haven't had to fight on the sea since WWII.

    "The oppressors most powerful weapon is the mind of the oppressed." - Stephen Biko

    by gjohnsit on Tue Apr 15, 2014 at 12:40:48 PM PDT

    •  Funny how IJN in WW2 (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      was always looking for that decisive battle in WW2, maybe a desire to achieve victory like they did when they crushed the Russian Navy in 1905.

      So in the context of your comment, right, the US Navy is looking for the WW2 IJN, like in WW2 the IJN was looking for the Russian Navy of 1905.

      BTW the Pacific Theater was won by Depression era ships. Yorktown was launched in 1935, Enterprise in 1936. The age of the carrier peaked in June of 1942, Battle of Midway.

      .................expect us......................... FDR 9-23-33, "If we cannot do this one way, we will do it another way. But do it we will.

      by Roger Fox on Tue Apr 15, 2014 at 02:49:25 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Age of Carrier Warfare (0+ / 0-)

        No, it wasn't just Depression era carriers which won the war in the Pacific Theater.  That statement could apply only to the carrier versus carrier combat which occurred early in the war when Japan still had carriers.  Even so, the US suffered setbacks during the various naval battles surrounding the Guadalcanal campaign.  It was the dozen or so Essex-class carriers which took the battle deep into Japanese held territory to sink the remainder of the Japanese fleet  and pulverize their island bases so that the American fleet and armies could move on the Japanese home islands.  Those new carriers, and the light carriers converted from light cruiser hulls and the escort carriers made from transports, didn't start deploying until 1943 at the earliest.

        "Love the Truth, defend the Truth, speak the Truth, and hear the Truth" - Jan Hus, d.1415 CE

        by PrahaPartizan on Wed Apr 16, 2014 at 09:08:20 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  It's an old saying (0+ / 0-)
      Generals are always ready to re-fight the last war.
      Or words very close to that...

      Shirley Chisholm was right. Our Republic is in deep trouble.

      by Big River Bandido on Thu Apr 17, 2014 at 09:34:16 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  The US National Debt is approximately equal (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Shockwave, Kevskos, frostbite

    to what we have spent on Nuclear  Weapons.

    Plus what it will cost to clean up the wreckage.

  •  Just a note on "super carrier reality" (9+ / 0-)

    3 or 4 are actually deployed at any given time. They operate in a 32 month cycle during which, in a perfect world, 8 months would actually be spent deployed. It's more like 10 months these days.

    Up until 2002 when we had 12 active carriers 2 - 3 were deployed at any given time. After 2002, well, you know what happened then...

    Right now, the Lincoln (CVN-72) is being refueled but the Washington's (CVN-73) refueling and the defueling of the Enterprise are on hold as a result of the "sequester".

    It's possible CVN-73 will be taken out of service rather than undergo the $3 Billion refueling overhaul scheduled for 2016. That will happen in 2016 if the sequester is not eliminated. The Nimitz is scheduled to be decommissioned in the same time frame as the CVN-73 refueling finished so we could easily end up with 8 carriers in the 2020 time frame.

    •  I dont like the naming of Carriers these days (6+ / 0-)

      Give me the great names of historical battles like Yorktown, Saratoga, Lexington any day.

      .................expect us......................... FDR 9-23-33, "If we cannot do this one way, we will do it another way. But do it we will.

      by Roger Fox on Tue Apr 15, 2014 at 02:56:24 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  or name them after sea phenomena (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Roger Fox

        Hurricane, Cyclone, ,,,

      •  Why are Submarines named after States? (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        hypernaught, Roger Fox

        Because fish don't vote.

        If you ask me, our capital ship naming conventions are an absolute disgrace.

        o caminho d'ouro, uma pinga de mel: Parati

        by tarkangi on Tue Apr 15, 2014 at 04:41:37 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Not a surprise. (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Roger Fox, annieli, JeffW

          Most American World War II submarines were named after species of fish. Most early nuclear-powered submarines were named after World War II submarines. For example the submarine USS Tunny in World War II was designated SS-282. The nuclear-powered fast attack submarine USS Tunny was designated SSN-682. The first generation of nuclear-powered ballistic submarines were named after famous Americans. Most Los Angeles-class fast attack submarines are named after U.S. cities, with the exception of the USS Hyman G. Rickover. Most Ohio-class guided missle and ballistic missile submarines are named after U.S. states, with the USS Henry M. Jackson being the exception. The Virginia-class fast attack submarines are mostly named after U.S. states. The lone exception as of January 2011 is the John Warner, which is expected to be delivered in 2015.

          In the USN they are generally code-named after Fish or other marine life- for example USS Whale ( SSN-638) USS Nautilus ( SSN-57l- first Nuclear sub) USS Ling ( SS-297) there are were several Sharks, and different types of sharks-both the Squalus ( latin for Shark) and Thresher ( a type of Shark with a large tail) were involved in fatal accidents the latter being an all-hands disaster, the first Nuclear sub involved in a fatal accident.

          The Navy isn't ignorant of politics either; the John Warner and other submarines and ships named after key individuals in the Navy and the Government were typically supportive of the Navy and military in general while serving on Congressional Armed Services Committees. -wiki answers.

          "Wealthy men can't live in an island that is encircled by poverty. We all breathe the same air. We must give a chance to everyone, at least a basic chance." - Ayrton Senna

          by USA Driver on Tue Apr 15, 2014 at 07:15:58 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  Agree completely (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Roger Fox

        Naming them after presidents is the worst. The Navy should be ashamed of itself for such obvious groveling at the feet of politicians. Imagine having to serve aboard the USS Ronald Reagan — would be repulsive hearing that name constantly.

        Like old names like Enterprise, Hornet, Constitution, Constellation, Chesapeake, etc.  The British Royal Navy is much better at naming their vessels than the USN.

        The all knowing ... knows all

        by hypernaught on Wed Apr 16, 2014 at 04:19:28 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Yorktown & Lexington R my favs (0+ / 0-)

          IIRC 4 ships carried the Yorktown name, with the obvious Am Rev connection.

          .................expect us......................... FDR 9-23-33, "If we cannot do this one way, we will do it another way. But do it we will.

          by Roger Fox on Wed Apr 16, 2014 at 04:47:07 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  Goes Back to the End of WW2 (0+ / 0-)

          It all started when FDR died and they named one of ships in the Midway-class after him.  The Republicans hated it.  Once the US started building the first two generations of boomers named after Presidents, it could be kept under control.  Once that program finished and they named another carrier after JFK post assassination, it was Katy bar the door.  It would be nice to have the policy return to naming them after famous US warships or important battles.

          "Love the Truth, defend the Truth, speak the Truth, and hear the Truth" - Jan Hus, d.1415 CE

          by PrahaPartizan on Wed Apr 16, 2014 at 09:20:36 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  Its way beyond that (7+ / 0-)

    No other country has an aircraft comparable to the US ones, the real carriers. Maybe the French and Russian ones are close to be in the same league. The rest are comparable in any case to the LHA and LHDs.

    Of that list you can cross out several. The Brasilian one is the old old French FOch refitted and again basically an LHD, the Indian one is a an old Russian one good for little (they have 2 new one in plans but $$$$$$ and technology problems grow like mushrooms). Spain only has now the new LHD, same one the Australians have 2 units, they put the baby carrier in moth balls. The Thai one is the same class as the one the Spaniards have retires and is basically in a third of use. The British are having so much financial problems that they are likely going to go French. The Italians have a ton of technical problems. The Chinese one is based on the Russian model that is really a baby carrier.

    So basically there is no aircraft carrier in the world like the US's, none. By far.

    Of all the money wasted in military tough I think this is one of the best options

  •  And what we hear from the right is weakness.. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    pat bunny, Mr Horrible, frostbite

    ..and our war machine is being gutted.

    The most recent estimated cost to the taxpayers the Ford is $12.8 billion, 22 percent more than the 2008 budget set for it. That's twice the 2014 fiscal year budget of New Mexico. Plus, there was $4.7 billion spent on research and development for the carrier. When it finally comes into service, the U.S. will have 20 carriers afloat.
    Acreage. That's a term I'd never heard before.
    So the phrase heard from so many neo-cons justifying our invasion of Iraq (as one example):
    "We must take it to the enemy before they bring the war to our shores" paraphrased) rings hollow after considering that we are paying billions to literally take American acreage of steel and park it into positions around the globe.

    And we keep building more - Why? It seems to me like an industry on auto-pilot that needs to shut down and re-tool for the future here at home

    Thx MB

    •  On the other hand. Carrier appears to be a (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      bear83, Dr Swig Mcjigger, JeffW

      pretty useful dual use tool.
      On one hand, it's a very expensive floating airport that double as a city.
      On the other hand, it's a mobile floating city, with generator, lots of food and water, airport and hospital rolled into one.
      In short, a mobile disaster response ship. Got a disaster somewhere? Send one over.

  •  A $20 Billion Floating Target that keeps costing (8+ / 0-)

    additional billions every year it exists. But we can't afford to feed, educate, clothe, or shelter all of our citizens.

    Oh I almost forgot, each of these behemoths requires its own fleet of ships to keep it supplied and defended, so double all those numbers and you're still short of the actual costs imposed on the rest of us.

    "Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities." - Voltaire

    by Greyhound on Tue Apr 15, 2014 at 01:33:32 PM PDT

  •  The age of the carrier peaked in June 1942 (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    June 4-7, 1942, the Battle of Midway.

    .................expect us......................... FDR 9-23-33, "If we cannot do this one way, we will do it another way. But do it we will.

    by Roger Fox on Tue Apr 15, 2014 at 02:18:46 PM PDT

    •  actually... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      JeffW, ChemBob

      One could make a case that what the USN did in 1944 & 1945 shows the carriers peaking,there was no way that invading all those Central Pacific Islands,Iwo Jima,Okinawa or Lyete was going to happen without mobile airbases.

      •  IJN lost 6 of 10 carriers in 1st 10 months (0+ / 0-)

        We showed up at the Gilbert Islands in late 43 with 6 Fleet, 7 fast fleet & 8 Escort carriers. Your point is well taken and entirely accurate. But....

        But the age of carrier vs carrier was already over by Guadalcanal.

        .................expect us......................... FDR 9-23-33, "If we cannot do this one way, we will do it another way. But do it we will.

        by Roger Fox on Wed Apr 16, 2014 at 04:43:50 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Turkey Shoot??? (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Roger Fox, JeffW, PrahaPartizan

          Anyways my point wasn't carrier versus carrier but the fact that we needed the power projection capability carriers gave us to prosecute the war to Japan's door step. Now MacArthur did leap frog along New Guinea's north coast to reach Morotai in Indonesia just before Lyete but even at that he the 7th Fleet with attached CVE's but for the Hollandia operation he still needed the Main USN CV fleet to cover the landings.

            We still need this power projection asset today

          •  I dont count the Turkey Shoot (0+ / 0-)

            I'm sure I'm very alone it that regard.

            Our veteran pilots vs mostly real green IJN pilots.

            Coral Sea & Midway was our real green pilots vs the absolute best of the IJN. And the IJN lost about the same number of pilots in Coral Sea & Midway as the Turkey Shoot.

            I'm sure most wont see it my way, but Shattered Sword makes a similar point, by mid June 1942 IJN had lost 400 of its best pilots. By Aug. 1942 IJN lost 6 of 10 carriers, with 2 of the remaining 4 in drydock/rebuilding, all that remained was for the USN to mop up.

            I dont mean to trivialize post 1942 accomplishments, but Admiral Fletchers pilots scratched 6 flat tops in 9 months, no Admiral ever came close to that.

            .................expect us......................... FDR 9-23-33, "If we cannot do this one way, we will do it another way. But do it we will.

            by Roger Fox on Wed Apr 16, 2014 at 05:52:20 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Get down to it... (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              PrahaPartizan, A Siegel

               Our USN pilots were just as expierienced as the IJN ones at the start of the war. The air war over China prior to Pearl Harbor was conducted by the IJAAF not the IJN. You here so many myths about WW2 ,take the Flying Tigers, they used to be credited with mastering the Zero when in fact they never faced any Zero's, they did face IJAAF Type 1 Oscars & Ki-27's but no Zero's. They also shot down only like 119 aircraft during their existence to 15 losses,but for years they CLAIMED 300 kills but after analylizing enemy records post war the ratio ended up at 119 kills to 15 losses.

                You commented earlier about IJN pilot losses at Midway but in actuality ,a lot of their pilots were rescued at Midway but boy did they looses a lot of their maintenance personnel . The Solomon's Campaign is what really killed off their pilot skill. However the 202nd Kentai flying from Timor against Darwin,Australia in early to mid-1943 showed the Japanese skill just didn't end at Midway.

  •  the US military (5+ / 0-)

    the single greatest waste of money the world has ever known.

  •  Than add in the small fleet of misc. support ships (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    that EACH carrier group entails.  There's big $ blown running that whole show.

  •  Retired carriers (0+ / 0-)

    make great museums!

    Election Day is Nov 4th, 2014 It's time for the Undo button on the 2010 Election.

    by bear83 on Tue Apr 15, 2014 at 02:28:33 PM PDT

    •  If they aren't nukes... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      ...the CVN-65 can't be repurposed because of its 8 small reactors, and with be the second flattop named Enterprise  to be scrapped.

      Float like a manhole cover, sting like a sash weight! Clean Coal Is A Clinker!

      by JeffW on Tue Apr 15, 2014 at 06:51:00 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  The F-35 is a huuuge cash travesty... (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Shockwave, Kevskos, frostbite, ChemBob

    ...A total of ONE TRILLION bucks has been committed by our government to Lockheed Martin for it. $400 billion has been spent so far. Production started on it 13+ years ago. 100 have been produced. And, for all intents and purposes, IT STILL ISN'T EVEN CLOSE AIRWORTHY! (It cannot fly in bad weather. It's got a gazillion other problems associated with it, above and beyond that.)

    Read about it for yourself; a true American clusterf*ck!

    Fail! The $400 Billion Military Jet That Can't Fly in Cloudy Weather

    "I always thought if you worked hard enough and tried hard enough, things would work out. I was wrong." --Katharine Graham

    by bobswern on Tue Apr 15, 2014 at 02:35:32 PM PDT

    •  Nah, the F-35's OK (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      I personally heard one of the test pilots say he loves flying it.  It will be built and flown for decades.

      •  Heard that about the B-1, its still a flying brick (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Shockwave, bobswern

        lift surface to weight ration is borderline, particularly during landing approach and right after  take off, micro bursts scare the shit out of its pilots.

        .................expect us......................... FDR 9-23-33, "If we cannot do this one way, we will do it another way. But do it we will.

        by Roger Fox on Tue Apr 15, 2014 at 03:44:22 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I've known a few B-1 pilots (5+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Shockwave, jds1978, JeffW, bobswern, Roger Fox

          They liked the airplane for the most part.

          It's faster on the deck than most fighters and it has enough gas to go fast for a long time.

          They said it would kill you in a heartbeat if you let it. Too much angle-of-attack and the fuselage turns into a lifting-body, causing a severe pitch up.

          If the pilot's good, see, I mean if he's reeeally sharp, he can barrel that baby in so low... oh you oughta see it sometime. It's a sight. A big plane like a '52... varrrooom! Its jet exhaust... frying chickens in the barnyard!

          by Major Kong on Tue Apr 15, 2014 at 04:25:27 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Fully loaded on the deck is an issue (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            The original B-1, mach 3, much lighter. The same plane without afterburners, the same square foot of lift and control surfaces, much heavier, start with those fuel tanks that had to be bigger, and the rest of the production line knew nothing about the extra weight of those gas tanks. Around plane 9 or 10 the compartmentalization broke down, the structural people found out the gas tanks weighed more, so they had to rebuild/refigure. the result was a much heavier airplane.

            I used to manage a hobby shop, a B-1 pilot came in, in describing the landing, he took his wallet out and tossed it at an angle to the floor.... LOL.

            Oh yeah he liked it too, just not fully loaded at low altitude.

            .................expect us......................... FDR 9-23-33, "If we cannot do this one way, we will do it another way. But do it we will.

            by Roger Fox on Wed Apr 16, 2014 at 04:14:03 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

  •  it isn't easy (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    to steal and protect assets for plutocrats across the world.  

  •  And what about Operating Systems... (0+ / 0-)

    on board?

    Still XP?


    Gosh, I hope that MS and Goog aren't party to supplying "battle-hardened" operating systems.

    Oh well, one missile or torpedo could logically do the job that MS and Goog are still "trying" to do right now.

    Ugh. --UB.

    The Republican Party is run by the KOCH BROTHERS.

    by unclebucky on Tue Apr 15, 2014 at 03:05:22 PM PDT

  •  aircraft carriers were great in WW2 (0+ / 0-)

    these days they're sitting targets for any country with minimally decent missile defense systems

    they're still useful to bomb from the air underdeveloped countries with no serious defense systems

    but then the military are notorious for always preparing to fight the previous war rather than the next

    We're shocked by a naked nipple, but not by naked aggression.

    by Lepanto on Tue Apr 15, 2014 at 03:05:30 PM PDT

    •  ???? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      You think though that just might apply to the USN's enemies too? Good for only bombing 3rd world/under-developed countries with no serious systems? Just where have we bumping up against lately?

         A CV force is essential if one wants to power project in today's world.

      •  We'll see how we like it (0+ / 0-)

        If somebody like, oh let's say China, decides to "project power" in the Western Hemisphere.

        If the pilot's good, see, I mean if he's reeeally sharp, he can barrel that baby in so low... oh you oughta see it sometime. It's a sight. A big plane like a '52... varrrooom! Its jet exhaust... frying chickens in the barnyard!

        by Major Kong on Wed Apr 16, 2014 at 05:10:58 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  We have enough military hardware to take... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Shockwave, frostbite

    on the world. Which begs the question why do that if thats not their intent?

    It could just be a pure MIC spending spree, but irregardless  malign reasons or just insane, we spend way too much on military and feel it everyday we try and save social programs from cuts.

    Join the DeRevolution: We are not trying to take the country, we are trying to take the country back. Get the money out of politics with public financed campaigns so 'Of the People, By the People and For the People' rings true again.

    by fToRrEeEsSt on Tue Apr 15, 2014 at 03:12:51 PM PDT

  •  Error on chart? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Iberian, Roger Fox

    The Royal Navy does not have two aircraft carriers. Both HMS Queen Elizabeth and HMS Prince of Wales are under construction. The last aircraft carrier, HMS Ark Royal, was decommissioned in 2010.

    HMS Queen Elizabeth is due to be launched later this year and to enter service around 2020. At the moment the plans are to effectively mothball HMS Prince of Wales and only operate one or to only have one of the two in use. (A similar discussion is going on about the necessity of having two or three nuclear ICMB carrying submarines in order to have one on station all the time).

    The largest ship in the Royal Navy at the moment, HMS Ocean, is undergoing maintenance. That is a helicopter carrier designed for amphibious assault.

    "Come to Sochi, visit the gay clubs and play with the bears" - NOT a Russian advertising slogan.

    by Lib Dem FoP on Tue Apr 15, 2014 at 03:16:53 PM PDT

  •  That's Called the Blue Water Navy (0+ / 0-)

    You better not mess with them.

  •  Echoing the words of the immortal ... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    James Morrison ...
    Out of sight!
     The lights are getting brighter
     The radio is moaning
     Calling to the dogs
     There are still a few animals
     Left out in the yard
    But it's getting harder
     To describe sailors
     To the underfed

    Lyrics from The Soft Parade, by the way.

  •  Spain (0+ / 0-)

    Interesting that Spain has two. Did we help them obtain those?

  •  Know What Submariners Call Aircraft Carriers? (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    The Wizard, Magnifico, Egalitare, Kevskos

    Expensive ones, at that.

  •  Tempting target for a nuke (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Kevskos, frostbite

    In a war with a major power it has been suggested that tactical nuclear weapons would be used at sea long before their use on land.

    That's due to less potential for collateral damage at sea and the concentration of expensive assets in a carrier battle group.

    If the pilot's good, see, I mean if he's reeeally sharp, he can barrel that baby in so low... oh you oughta see it sometime. It's a sight. A big plane like a '52... varrrooom! Its jet exhaust... frying chickens in the barnyard!

    by Major Kong on Tue Apr 15, 2014 at 04:30:33 PM PDT

    •  Once you open Pandora's box... (0+ / 0-)

      If the other side didn't have nukes maybe. But you attack your enemy's ships with a nuke then your enemy feels like he can nuke you back, and he is not going to nuke your ships. There was a time that they issued also tactical nukes to be shot with artillery.

      I don't think China o Russia will risk using one just to take out one carrier group.

  •  the days of the aircraft carrier are over anyway (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    happymisanthropy, Kevskos, Roger Fox

    With armed unmanned drones, the entire big expensive vulnerable carrier group can be replaced with a single cheap  modified cargo ship carrying a few hundred drones.

    In the end, reality always wins.

    by Lenny Flank on Tue Apr 15, 2014 at 04:37:21 PM PDT

    •  Until someone jams the data-link (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      jds1978, Kevskos, JeffW

      Or spoofs it.

      The Iranians already claim they can do this. Not sure if I believe them but I wouldn't be surprise if we can it. I wouldn't put it past China either.

      Just call me old-fashioned but I don't think drones are the be-all and end-all of military solutions.

      If the pilot's good, see, I mean if he's reeeally sharp, he can barrel that baby in so low... oh you oughta see it sometime. It's a sight. A big plane like a '52... varrrooom! Its jet exhaust... frying chickens in the barnyard!

      by Major Kong on Tue Apr 15, 2014 at 04:42:11 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I dunno . . . I think maybe you jet-jockies just (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        view "flying" drones as not as much fun as flying the real thing . . . .


        In the end, reality always wins.

        by Lenny Flank on Wed Apr 16, 2014 at 08:14:18 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I wouldn't mind if I could telecommute (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Lenny Flank

          As long as I could fly it while sitting in my bathrobe and my fuzzy slippers while drinking a cup of coffee.

          But why stop at aircraft? Why not build drone tanks and ships as well? Why should jet jocks be the only ones on the unemployment line?

          If the pilot's good, see, I mean if he's reeeally sharp, he can barrel that baby in so low... oh you oughta see it sometime. It's a sight. A big plane like a '52... varrrooom! Its jet exhaust... frying chickens in the barnyard!

          by Major Kong on Thu Apr 17, 2014 at 06:11:44 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  Battle of Midway June 1942, the peak IMHO (0+ / 0-)

      Yeah day of the carrier is long gone.

      Coral Sea & Midway, really the only great carrier battles, in late 43 we showed up at the Gilbert Islands with 21 brand new spanking carriers, no contest.

      IIRC the IJN lost 6 of 10 carriers in the first 10 months of WW2. Entirely at the behest of Admiral Blackjack Fletcher.

      .................expect us......................... FDR 9-23-33, "If we cannot do this one way, we will do it another way. But do it we will.

      by Roger Fox on Wed Apr 16, 2014 at 04:36:48 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Yep. im a huge fan of drone tech. (0+ / 0-)

      As a companion to a well armed, highly advanced infantry, we have the best most flexible warfighting force, sans nukes.

      Everything else DOD does, from tanks to jet fighters to carriers, is quite stupid.

      •  yep. we are still preparing to fight the Cold War (0+ / 0-)

        with the USSR, because we never got to have our big glorious gotterdammerung. I think the brass miss that.

        Talk about "re-fighting the last war" . . . .

        In the end, reality always wins.

        by Lenny Flank on Wed Apr 16, 2014 at 08:10:34 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  So basically a (0+ / 0-)

      Carrier but with robot planes. Cause you still will need the group to protect your "cargo ship" or a guy in a jet ski with an RPG is sending your costly drones to visit Neptune.

      Also drones need operators, a hundred of them will need a control tower, plus mechanics, data people, personal to feed them, a few marines to protect the ship... damn it sounds a lot like a carrier

      •  well, except: (0+ / 0-)

        The guy on the jet ski with the RPG won't know your particular cargo ship from the thousands of others in any given area. But if that's really a concern for you, the Japanese pioneered aircraft-carrier SUBMARINES half a century ago. Any US sub can carry and launch a few hundred drones. I doubt any jet ski can reach them.

        As for the operations center and lunch to feed everyone, that doesn't even need to be on the same continent that the drone is in. Drone operations in Afghanistan are routinely "flown" by operators in Nevada or Virginia, who have lunch at the local McDonalds afterwards, with the data and computer guys.

        In the end, reality always wins.

        by Lenny Flank on Wed Apr 16, 2014 at 08:08:10 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Unsinkable! (5+ / 0-)

    Foreign Policy: The New Rules of War

    Swarming has also gained some adherents. The most notable has been Marine Lt. Gen. Paul Van Riper, who famously used swarm tactics in the last great Pentagon war game, "Millennium Challenge 2002," to sink several aircraft carriers at the outset of the imagined conflict. But rather than accept that something quite radical was going on, the referees were instructed to "refloat" the carriers, and the costly game -- its price tag ran in the few hundred millions -- continued. Van Riper walked out.
    From Lessons Not Learned: The U.S. Navy's Status Quo Culture
    The author of the 1987 book War Games, Thomas B. Allen, described this navel censorship during an interview with the American NPR network in 2003: "The Navy had a kind of unwritten rule: You can't sink an aircraft carrier in a war game. And if you talked to any submariner who had been in either an exercise or a war game, you get a whole story about how many times they really sank aircraft carriers."
  •  Ian Morris on NPR today on the reasons for (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    nation building .. truly fascinating. He is promoting his new book War! What Is It Good For?: Conflict and the Progress of Civilization from Primates to Robots  which discussses the role of war in promoting civilization! and he explains the US current role in ruling the world. How we are actually doing a much better job of colonizing than the Brits did in India or how the world was reshaped in WWII.

    "Morris argues that armed conflict is not at odds with stable societies, but has been used to make the world safer. Now, however, war itself is changing, and to understand its new dangers, we need to study its past benefits."  Link

    Wish I could go to his talk tonight at Book Passage. I only caught a few minutes of the interview but it was truly enthrallling.

    If you're not terrified into action by the IPCC's 5th Assessment , you're not human.

    by boatsie on Tue Apr 15, 2014 at 05:02:42 PM PDT

  •  "The American lifestyle is not negotiable" GHWB (0+ / 0-)

    muddy water can best be cleared by leaving it alone

    by veritas curat on Tue Apr 15, 2014 at 05:25:29 PM PDT

  •  Thanks to Meteor Blades AND to those who commented (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    I'm a pacifist, but found the discussion of the purposes, usefulness and potential vulnerabilities of carriers in the modern era riveting.


  •  It should be noted that China's carrier is a (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Meteor Blades

    barely-functional hulk that's used for training purposes.

    It's a retired Russian carrier.

    An Fhirinn an aghaidh an t'Saoghail.

    by OllieGarkey on Tue Apr 15, 2014 at 05:45:11 PM PDT

  •  Misleading definition of aircraft carrier (0+ / 0-)
    An aircraft carrier is a ship that is capable of operating fixed wing aircraft, including jump-jets such as the Harrier.
    I doubt anyone would confuse an  amphibious assault ship with an aircraft carrier even though that is a Harrier ground-attack aircraft in the corner of the Essex's flight deck.

    The two classes of ships serve totally different roles and conflating the two serves only to make a unnecessary and misleading point. If only modern super carriers are considered, the contrast with the rest of the world is greater.

    I have no idea what is intended by comparing acreage. That carries no concept of firepower or function.

    Framing is everything.

    I'm thinking someone at gets paid by the word.

    I'm a Vietnam Era vet. I'm also an Erma Bombeck Era vet. When cussing me out and calling me names please indicate which vet you would like to respond to your world changing thoughts.

    by Just Bob on Tue Apr 15, 2014 at 05:58:17 PM PDT

    •  PS "What Orwell Didin't Know is highly recommended (0+ / 0-)

      I'm reading it now.

      I'm a Vietnam Era vet. I'm also an Erma Bombeck Era vet. When cussing me out and calling me names please indicate which vet you would like to respond to your world changing thoughts.

      by Just Bob on Tue Apr 15, 2014 at 06:17:58 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  There are two kinds of ships (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JeffW, frostbite

    Submarines, and targets.

    Or so it says on t-shirts sold in New London, CT.

    In a full-on shooting war, carriers make terrific targets and they're not too inconspicuous the rest of the time; that's why so many resources are devoted to protecting them.

    What they are really good for is projecting force, the "Big Stick" that can be positioned as needs dictate. And as long as you're going up against opponents with no naval attack capabilities (subs, surface fleets, aircraft with shipkiller missiles, etc.), it's not a bad capability to have.

    An observation sometimes made about this is that it's insane in one regard for the U.S. to spend so much on weapons systems that would be taken out very quickly if the balloon went up. True - but there are quite a few other things to consider, including the likelihood of the balloon going up at all.

    For one, the rest of the world does not have as many carriers because some of them are our allies, and they expect us to use them for their protection. It would be nice to think we get comparable value in return.

    For another, the deterrence effect is not an inconsiderable asset.

    And the carriers don't operate in isolation; you have to consider them as one element in the entire U.S. military system. The services have gotten a lot better at working to together and acting as force multipliers.

    "No special skill, no standard attitude, no technology, and no organization - no matter how valuable - can safely replace thought itself."

    by xaxnar on Tue Apr 15, 2014 at 06:09:14 PM PDT

    •  The size of our military is simply idiotic (0+ / 0-)

      Even at half its size, no country in the world would ever think of attacking the USA.

      Our thinking that small countries with a military budget less than a tenth the size of ours would ever think of starting a war with the US is nutty. We probably think that way because of racism and religious hatred that blinds everyone. We have demonized every known non-WASP leader the world.

      War is costly. Peace is priceless!

      by frostbite on Tue Apr 15, 2014 at 07:42:10 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Projecting Force (0+ / 0-)

      means beating up on small countries and taking their lunch money.

      If the pilot's good, see, I mean if he's reeeally sharp, he can barrel that baby in so low... oh you oughta see it sometime. It's a sight. A big plane like a '52... varrrooom! Its jet exhaust... frying chickens in the barnyard!

      by Major Kong on Wed Apr 16, 2014 at 05:08:52 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Looks like Big E is on the list (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Roger Fox

    even though it's been inactivated.

    (Enteprise is 2nd column, bottom.)

    "Much of movement conservatism is a con and the base is the marks." -- Chris Hayes

    by raptavio on Tue Apr 15, 2014 at 06:14:05 PM PDT

  •  Ah, Dreadnoughts, Aircraft Carriers........ (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Roger Fox, JeffW

    Expensive to build, expensive to run and expensive to maintain.

    Very few ever saw or see action, so a huge waste of money.

    Be of good comfort, Master Ridley, and play the man; we shall this day light such a candle by God's grace in England as shall never be put out.

    by Bollox Ref on Tue Apr 15, 2014 at 07:08:06 PM PDT

  •  In related news: The Pivot to Asia (0+ / 0-)

    Typical of Chinese Aggression, the Chinese increased their military budget after the US announced we'll be shifting six of our Peace-Amplifying Carrier Groups to be permanently off their coasts. (not to mention selling a rebuilt carrier to Malaysia, selling two nuke reactors to Vietnam, etc.)

    The bastards are threat to us, I'm telling you!

    When the Oceans rise, what's the plan for moving the nuke plants? Anyone?

    by Jim P on Tue Apr 15, 2014 at 07:31:05 PM PDT

  •  We're number 1!! (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Roger Fox


    I distrust those people who know so well what God wants them to do, because I notice it always coincides with their own desires. - Susan B. Anthony

    by pajoly on Tue Apr 15, 2014 at 07:43:18 PM PDT

  •  We're supposed to believe all this will be used (0+ / 0-)

    … only selflessly, in the service of others' greater good.

    The U.S. Navy's "Magnetic Mangler"

    AFRICOM goes to war on the sly

    Torture is mainstream now

    The Dutch kids' chorus Kinderen voor Kinderen wishes all the world's children freedom from hunger, ignorance, and war. ♥ ♥ ♥ Forget Neo — The One is Minori Urakawa

    by lotlizard on Tue Apr 15, 2014 at 10:33:35 PM PDT

  •  Jeez, the rec list has this graphic and (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Roger Fox, Iberian

    a video of "Cat vs Printer"  I'm pretty sure I have gone back in time about 6 or 7 years.

    The first time I posted the graphic was on Digg

  •  Jobs, jobs, jobs. (0+ / 0-)

    Progressives have been demanding government investment on jobs, so I don't get why they get upset at defense contracts that employ thousands of people.

    And don't give me that rhetoric about "bridges and wind farms", for there is only so much that can be spent on infrastructure and green energy.  If you want government spending on jobs, the defense contracts is going to be a big part of that, that's just math.

    •  Too bad none of the numbers bear out your (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:


      Defense jobs, more pay less jobs. Infrastructure is 3.6 trillion behind, 9 billion a year for 4 years just to get even fixing what we have, that creates 20 million jobs, and we have 27 million under/unemployed.

      The F-35 is worth 10k jobs

      We all learned that back when Nixon started bombing North Vietnam. , as the war escalated, the average Joe didnt get a job. That 100k engineer meant 5 guys didnt make 20k, which was damn good money in 1972.

      .................expect us......................... FDR 9-23-33, "If we cannot do this one way, we will do it another way. But do it we will.

      by Roger Fox on Wed Apr 16, 2014 at 04:26:40 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  It is ironic that the bloated useless military is (0+ / 0-)

      indeed the ONLY Keynesian economic stimulus spending that both parties will accept.

      Since most of this junk will never be used anyway, it has the same economic effect as paying people to dig holes in the ground then fill them in.

      In the end, reality always wins.

      by Lenny Flank on Thu Apr 17, 2014 at 05:41:25 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  The problem being that military keynesianism... (0+ / 0-)

      ...costs more for every job produced than does spending on other programs.

      Don't tell me what you believe, show me what you do and I will tell you what you believe.

      by Meteor Blades on Thu Apr 17, 2014 at 12:22:12 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Defense (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Defense is a good thing. Too bad the GOP can't elevate the war on poverty to the same level as their beloved defense contractors.  

  •  It's about jobs that pay obscene saleries. (0+ / 0-)

    And don't forget the share holders who make a fortune if any Defense program is a success or not.
    Ronnie was known to never hate a weapons program regardless of cost.
    Star Wars anyone?

  •  What Do Submarine Captains Call Aircraft Carriers? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:


    "The modern conservative is engaged in one of man's oldest exercises in moral philosophy; that is, the search for a superior moral justification for selfishness." John Kenneth Galbraith

    by LeftOfYou on Wed Apr 16, 2014 at 06:55:14 PM PDT

  •  It's habit and history (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    As long as we want to play the role of superpower, carriers are going to remain in the toolkit.

    They allowed us to project force around the world during the cold war, and habits are hard to break.  In the limited conflicts that have broken out since then, we've found them useful time and time again - where carriers and their aircraft can reach, we don't have to worry about basing agreements and overflight arrangements. And we don't have to worry about turning over any bases when we leave.

    They can be pretty useful for some kinds of disaster relief too.

    Can we afford them? If we still had the tax rates we had under Eisenhower, it'd be a lot easier. They're a giant wealth transfer machine - but also a jobs program. All other things aside, we do front on two major oceans, the Atlantic and the Pacific, so some kind of naval forces make sense - the question is, how big and what kind.

    "No special skill, no standard attitude, no technology, and no organization - no matter how valuable - can safely replace thought itself."

    by xaxnar on Wed Apr 16, 2014 at 07:04:59 PM PDT

  •  This (0+ / 0-)
    4.5 acres of sovereign and mobile American territory
    makes me wonder why no one sanctions us. We are the most aggressive mofos (apol. MTmofo) on this planet and we take that Very Seriously. What happened to us to make us so paranoid, so fearful, so hateful towards the rest of the world? And what could we do with all of that money if we were none of those things?
  •  "I'm The Power Elite (0+ / 0-)

    Me and the 7th Fleet."  Phil Ochs  1964

    As a former Essex class sailor I am in awe at how large
    the newer carriers are.

    I fear no God or lack thereof since neither is the case.

    by post rational on Wed Apr 16, 2014 at 07:20:10 PM PDT

  •  every nation deserves its subs (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Japan’s submarine program produces one new boat every year. The production responsibility is shared between Kawasaki Heavy Industries and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, with each company delivering a new submarine year about.
    The Japanese Self Defence Force (JSDF) operates 18 submarines, although a plan to increase the fleet over time to a force of 22 has been announced. Current JSDF operational submarines classes are the Harushio, Oyashio and Soryu....
    The Soryu is evolved from the Oyashio class submarine. It is 84 metres long, 9.1 metres in diameter and displaces 4,200 tonnes when dived. The hull is officially designed to take the boat to a depth of 300 metres.
    Its propulsion chain is based on two Kawasaki diesel generators, designed in conjunction with MAN, charging batteries that power a 5.9 MW Fuji Electrics main motor driving a seven bladed propeller. The boat is also fitted with a Stirling AIP system, integrated under a licence agreement with Kockums of Sweden, which can be used to eliminate the need to snort in high threat environments.
    When operating on batteries the Soryu is a very quiet boat. It is coated in anechoic materials to assist in reducing its target strength in active sonar scenarios.

    The combat system is largely indigenous. It has a number of sonar arrays, including bow, intercept, flank and towed - and the submarines are also fitted with optronics masts. The Soryu has six 533 mm torpedo tubes that can fire the Mitsubishi Type 89 Torpedo, the UGM-84 Harpoon anti-ship missile and mines. Consistent with all large hulled submarines, the boat can carry (in submarine terms) a large number of weapons: 30.

    Warning - some snark may be above‽ (-9.50; -7.03)‽ eState4Column5©2013 "I’m not the strapping young Muslim socialist that I used to be" - Barack Obama 04/27/2013 (@eState4Column5).

    by annieli on Wed Apr 16, 2014 at 07:22:06 PM PDT

  •  Ill take a Marine and his rifle. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Best investment in military weaponry one can make. Effective too.

  •  US aircraft carriers are essential (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    to keeping the seas open to navigation all over the world.

    You don't have to like it, but the US after the fall of the Soviet bloc was like the UK after the fall of Napoleon: The world's police officer. It is good for the US to have the world be calm and a major reason is the US Navy.

  •  US aircraft carriers are built by union labor (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    A Siegel

    In fact, the Newport News shipyard which is the only US shipyard that can build aircraft carriers today is one of the few factories of any type in the entire south that has a mostly-unionized workforce -- despite Virginia's horrible right to work law. (Lets get a Democratic majority in the Virginia House of Delegates in two years so we can repeal that law.)

    •  And if we stop building aircraft carriers (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ssgbryan, A Siegel

      close the shipyard and disperse the skilled workforce, we will NEVER be able to build another at any kind of reasonable cost.

      Something like that happened in the 1970s when we stopped building heavy lift launch vehicles like the Saturn V. With the end of the Space Shuttle we can't even put a human into near earth orbit today.

  •  We will need those ships. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    One one hand, the thieving capitalist class needs them to project power along the sea lanes. You don't see china floating ships along the pirate coasts, do you?

    On the other hand, china has quite an amount of access to rare earth magnet material, which is used for all sorts of things like motors and hard drives... And in dynamos such as for wind turbine electric power generation and electric car regenerative braking. There is quite a deposit of such rare earth metals to make rare earth magnets in the pacific ocean.

    It is an open secret that there have been wars over the resource of gasoline.
    It is becoming more acceptable to broach the idea of wars over the resource of fresh water - depending on the political ideology of the people around you.
    At some point there will be a 'resource crunch' over the ability to manufacture the necessary infrastructure that will allow self-supply of a nation's energy needs. As in, it doesn't matter if every last person in america is supportive of casting aside all fossil fuels immediately if we do not have the ability to make enough turbines and such to support ourselves. Therefore, we WILL need those ships to make sure that the sea lanes are safe between those resources and our shores.

    No matter which tribe you belong to - capitalist wannabe-king or socialist eco-warrior or somewhere in between - your future has a requirement for secured ocean lanes.

    So lay off the Navy.

    •  Blue water navy is core to projecting U.S. power.. (0+ / 0-)

      but has little to do with mining underwater rare earth elements.
      "The next 100 years" by George Friedman - wiki link:

      Friedman predicts that a third world war will take place in the middle of the 21st century, close to the year 2050. He asserts that the United States will be allied with the "Polish Bloc," Britain, India, and China in this conflict, and will face a coalition of the Turkish and Japanese empires. He asserts that the war will probably be started by a coordinated Turkish-Japanese sneak attack against the United States and its allies
      •  I also read that book. (0+ / 0-)

        What a bunch of nonsense. It's been a couple or few years, but as I recall he projected the rest of the military will become basically secondary to super-mega-fast air power with such speed and long range that we could scramble flights from some place like tennessee to respond to a need in some place in africa like zimbabwe (or some such).

        What. A. Fucking. Crock.

        He talks a good game, but the predictions he made were so unsupported I couldn't consider it as anything more than fiction. It was truly a structure built of cards, too easily blown over.

        And here is where I get abrasive from irritation: You failed to read. You seem to have been in too much of a rush to reply that you failed to slow down and read.

        Go back up and reread my comment. In particular, pay attention to where I stated

        Therefore, we WILL need those ships to make sure that the sea lanes are safe between those resources and our shores.
        I didn't say the navy was going to go mining. I said they were going to keep the shipping lanes flowing. And that is why I am irritated with you to the point of being abrasive.
    •  Rare Earths (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Quite frankly, Rare earth metals are not rare. The problem is that they are so thinly distributed that mining them is impractical in all but a few locations. When you take into account environmental requirements, the cost of mining is too high relative to China for business.

      Arguably, the government should alleviate that price differential to maintain the domestic industry for national security reasons. The idea that we rely on China for essential materials is not a pleasant one. Getting them from the Pacific Ocean would not be much better in wartime.

      What is lacking is policy that would guarantee the reasonable exploration for rare earths in the Americas. Rare earths are essential for economic high-power magnets for things like electric cars, hybrid cars, wind turbines, etc., so it isn't like being dependent on others long term is really an option. At least the Americas have good sources of lithium even if they are not in the United States.

      •  It's the mining. (0+ / 0-)

        In america, the problem is pushing aside all the dirt between us and the prize. And we've seen from mountain top removal and strip mining that the lowest cost method will be used to the detriment of us all.

        However, in the pacific the rare earths are in higher concentrations and are in the silt and mud just waiting to be scooped up and separated. A trio of articles from a few years ago
        from that last link:

        They estimate that a 1-square-kilometre area around the site that has the highest concentration of the elements in its mud holds a cache equivalent to one-fifth of current annual demand — about the same yield as a small mine on land.
        Despite the name, rare earths aren't geologically scarce. But China, which currently produces some 97% of world supply, has put stringent caps on the amount available for export.
        Tying it back to the USN's role in this, it is easy to lose perspective on the actual size of the pacific ocean.

        That is california at the far right 2:00 edge, australia at the far left 7:00 edge, hawaii in the center about halfway between the equator and the pole. The pacific is HUGE.
        The transport of those limited rare earth metals from those higher concentration locations to the california ports is actually a national security issue that requires patrolled shipping lanes.

      •  Americans don't have a clue where their junk... (0+ / 0-)

        comes from.

  •  Picture Worth a Thousand Words (0+ / 0-)

    Okay, now that you've had the patience to read those thousand words, let me just say, 5X.

    The 5X plan would limit U.S. military spending to the combined total of the next five largest military budgets in the world.

    Take a look at the graphic. Then, tell me you wouldn't sign on to 5X. If you're nuts.

  •  we have become (0+ / 0-)

    a pathetic oligarchy that only can do one thing well and that is search and destroy everything we see, other than that we are a complete failure at almost everything else we attempt to do.

  •  I cannot believe... (0+ / 0-)

    ...that I am about to say what I am about to say, but I will suffer the slings and arrows of great objection and say it anyway!  Wow!

    I say this as someone who began protesting nukes during the 1950's Pacific tests and the above ground tests in Nevada and continued in that protest until the present day.

    BUT --- after watching what has been happening in Ukraine for the past X?X? months. I can only say that the assasination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand would not have resulted in WWI if the world had had nuclear weapons.  The same can be said for Hitler's invasion of Poland, Pearl Harbor and other incidents leading to WWII if the world had had nuclear weapons.

    Ukraine is a horror story.  I think the only reason it has not yet resulted in WWIII is because what we know of nuclear weapons and the resultant nuclear winter.  

    That said, we must evolve a better way of relating to each other and solving our problems than belligerence, theft, and acquisition of territory.  So far, the nuclear deterence has held.  For how much longer will it do so.  We shouldn't chance it any further.  We need to grow and evolve NOW beyond war.  We need diplomacy and the sense of sharing of our one and only planet as human brothers and sisters.

    "The only thing needed for evil to succeed is for good people to do nothing." Hannah Arendt

    by dharmasyd on Wed Apr 16, 2014 at 08:46:30 PM PDT

  •  Further proof that the MIC is an exercise in (0+ / 0-)

    waving around our big decks.

  •  I always got a kick out of this figure (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Biggest air force in the world? United States Air Force

    SECOND biggest air force? United States Navy

    Note to DoD: I think we're safe & can spend at least a BIT less money on you, dont you think?

    A village can not reorganize village life to suit the village idiot.

    by METAL TREK on Thu Apr 17, 2014 at 06:50:45 AM PDT

  •  This might not be seen so far down the thread, but (0+ / 0-)

    ... the Ford-class carriers are actually expected to be an improvement budget-wise.

    First off, the Nimitz class carriers have a 50-year service life.  The first one was launched in 1975 and is fast approaching that limit.  The last Nimitz carrier was christened in 2006.  So between 2025 and 2056, we need to build 10 new carriers to maintain our current numbers.

    (As a side note: the other "carriers" in the graphic are actually amphibious assault ships.  One is going to be decommissioned in the next year or so; the other 9 are meant to deploy helicopters or landing craft to get Marines on land.  They can be outfitted with 20 Harrier jets instead of helicopters in a pinch, but they're not quite the same thing as a traditional aircraft carrier, don't play the same role, and aren't as expensive.)

    Second, while the Nimitz class blows away any other country's carrier design by far, it's not particularly efficient.  The Ford class is much more automated - it can run with several hundred fewer sailors on board, and as a result is expected to have a lower total-life cost than the Nimitz class.

    On top of that cost savings, the Ford class has better weapons systems, better launching and landing equipment, an improved nuclear reactor and a smaller radar profile.  It will also be able to sustain more sorties per day than the Nimitz, meaning it should be more effective in combat.  

    If you need to replace your carriers anyway, it's clear that replacing them with the Ford class is the smarter option than replacing them with the Nimitz class.

    Of course, some would argue that we don't actually need a 10-carrier fleet.  But believe me - those 10 carriers are all being used.  At any given time, realistically only about two or three of those can be deployed on an active mission.  Some of them will be in port for maintenance or overhaul; some will be on training; some will be in a stand-down after a deployment; and some will be preparing to relieve the ones on active deployment.  Ten carriers is about the minimum we can have and still be able to deploy two to three whenever they're needed.  Any fewer, and you'd have to extend deployment time, sacrifice maintenance and training, or accept that you won't always have one ready if a crisis should arise.

    •  Another point I forgot (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      As expensive as aircraft carriers may be, they're a hell of a lot cheaper than the foreign-soil bases and infrastructure that we'd need to replace their capabilities.  They're one of the biggest bang-for-your-buck options in military spending - almost nothing can match the versatility of a fully operational airbase that can travel almost anywhere in the world.  

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