Last week, after more than five decades of service during which she became the US Navy’s most iconic and revered warship, the USS Enterprise was decommissioned. It was the Big E’s uniqueness is what made her so special.
Since taking office, President Donald Trump has vowed to increase spending to improve the nation’s defenses, grow the US economy and toughen security along the America’s borders. With military spending to increase over the coming few years, it’s vital to invest in a more capable Coast Guard given the service’s key role in supporting Trump’s aims.
In the early 1990s, any time you asked US Navy leaders how many aircraft carriers American had, their answer was “not enough.”
Today, the same thing can be said about the Navy’s submarine force.
At the moment, America has 52 nuclear attack submarines. That’s more than any other nation in the world, but still not enough to support US global needs.
Despite rising Russian and Chinese investment in newer, more capable and quieter submarines combined with more powerful and longer-range cruise and ballistic missiles that hold land bases and surface ships at risk, Navy leaders several years ago decided 48, more modern subs are enough.
As Congress considers more changes to how the Pentagon buys goods and services, lawmakers should read DoD’s latest annual report on the performance of the defense acquisition system.
The report illustrates consistent efforts by Pentagon leaders over the past eight years are paying off: cost growth on major programs is now at a 30-year low.
That’s a remarkable achievement for senior leaders like Defense Secretary Ash Carter and Pentagon acquisition chief Frank Kendall who made cost control a priority by curbing requirements, mitigating risk, increasing competition, improving acquisition workforce professionalism and making decisions based on data rather than emotion.
The combination is saving billions of dollars a year.
You’d think that such progress would be rewarded by Congress. Instead, the future of Kendall’s office – created by the landmark 1986 Goldwater-Nichols legislation to bring oversight over out-of-control military programs – is, again, in jeopardy.
For years, China hawks have warned that Beijing is playing a very sophisticated multipronged strategy make good its territorial claims in the region.
Two of China’s levers are well known – an increasingly powerful military to intimidate its neighbors and tremendous economic leverage that it can use we either reward or punishment.
The third, according to analysts, is Beijing’s financial support for politicians across the region who once elected will steer their nations toward a pro-China path. Russia has employed similar tactics, bankrolling alternative movements across Europe to undermine NATO and the EU.
And the new Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte is one of those candidates.
The USS Zumwalt, commissioned over the weekend in Baltimore, is a revolutionary step forward for the US Navy in terms of stealth, ship systems and firepower that will shape future warships.
For that to happen, the Navy must keep investing in the class — rightly seen as a key transitional step to the future — while using them as operational units and developmental test beds for new systems and weapons.
Every two years since 1969, the US chief of naval operations has invited his global navy and coast guard counterparts to attend a three-day, closed-door symposium on seapower.
Between Sept. 20-23, representatives from more than 100 nations answered the call from Adm. John Richardson and descended on the Naval War College in Newport, R.I. (Full disclosure: we were invited to provide exclusive video coverage of the event.)
To critics, meetings like these amount to little more than military tourism, junkets for senior leaders and their spouses.
But the reality is: interpersonal relationships are critical among all leaders, especially military ones that hold jobs for a few years at a time. Every little bit helps build a network of bridges for use during future crises when knowing the guy on the other end of the phone makes all the difference. This year, spouses and families were encouraged to attend as well, expanding opportunities for networking beyond those in uniform.