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Author Topic: Romney and Ships
Pete at Home
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quote:
Originally posted by AI Wessex:
[Pete:]
[Pete:] "Why do you suppose that naval capacity is about some sort of beauty contest against other countries?"

Show me where I remotely suggested anything to justify that insult.

Was not meant as an insult. And I did provide the exact statement that I was responding to, but here it is again:
quote:
In 1916, the US controlled roughly 11% of the world’s naval power. This is an impressive number that ranks the US third in naval strength behind the UK (34%) and Germany (19%), and just ahead of France (10%). What about the US navy in 2011? In 2011, the US controlled roughly 50% of the world’s naval power putting it in a comfortable lead in naval power ahead of Russia (11%).
Your error was using comparative percentages as the SOLE factor to decide whether we have "enough" Navy. Either that's bad thinking, or you've expressed yourself poorly -- both of which happen to everyone here from time to time so please don't beat your chest; it's not an "insult" to have your arguments questioned. I'm surprised at your response, since of all people here, you're one of the ones who seems to have best dialed down your Defcon level after elections.

Do you acknowledge that the US has certain naval imperatives such as deterring the PRC from Taiwan, deterring North Korean aggression, keeping oil boats safe through the Gulf of Hormuz, and combating piracy off Somalia and in the Pacific, all of which require grossly disproportionate Naval power?

If Navy is a reasonable place to trim, (and it very well may be!) then the only intelligent place to start is to review Navy operations, determine which operations can be discontinued because they aren't worth the cost, and then determine if what cuts can be made to the Navy while without putting critical missions at risk.

But discussing the matter purely with percentage comparisons seems stoopid to me. Please give it some thought.

quote:
"Enough for what, Al?"

Exactly. Who gets to decide, Obama, legacy decisions made by Bush, the Joint Chiefs then or now, or people like Noel?

I'm not sure how that's "exactly" what I said. I never addressed WHO made the decision; I talked about what factors should be considered in the decision-makers. The answer to your question is that ultimately, the House of Representatives holds the purse strings to naval allocations. That's what the Constitution says. One hopes that Congress would listen to input from the President and to the Joint Chiefs, but the Constitution places fiscal allocation decisions squarely in the hands of the House. That's Separation of Powers 101.

(That's one reason, btw, that I expressed months ago that Democrats should be more concerned about taking back the House of Representatives.)

[ November 10, 2012, 03:20 PM: Message edited by: Pete at Home ]

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AI Wessex
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I did not mention percentages to suggest this is a "beauty contest". The US controls more of the seas than the rest of the world combined. I pointed that out to counter arguments by Noel (in particular) that the US fleet is weaker than it was when Obama took office, and incidentally to point out that it's not his fault. Noel will have none of that, but I've yet to see him actually concede a significant point in any thread I've engaged him in.

Citing percentages and relative sea power also goes against the argument that counting ships is a reasonable measure. That, in fact, could be considered a beauty contest since virtually no ships of meaningful capacity in this day's navy even existed or could have back in the magic year of 1916. He has given up on that argument (without conceding it) by switching to attacking a particular decommissioning that was authorized by Bush and sought by the JC, still blaming Obama for obvious partisan reasons.

We choose to deploy a large and powerful navy because we have chosen to believe that protecting US interests justifies it. I am not making a judgment at this point in the discussion whether I think that is a good argument or not. First I want to clear away the camouflage and other counter-measures Noel, Romney and others on the right have thrown out without having even been attacked first. Until we get those out these waters aren't safe to have that meaningful discussion.

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velcro
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Noel,

The Pentagon and Chief of Naval Operations disagree with you. No offense, but I think I will go with their opinion instead of yours.

Thank you, have a sparkling day!

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Pete at Home
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quote:
Originally posted by AI Wessex:
I did not mention percentages to suggest this is a "beauty contest".

For what intelligent purpose did you mention percentages (and NO OTHER PARAMETERS)? Please give me some intelligible purpose that was not worth of mockery. Would you feel better if I'd said pissing contest or penis-measuring contest rather than beauty contest?

In sort, do you suppose that we have navies in order to measure x% over other nation's navies, or do we have navies in order to meet specific objectives of national and global security?

quote:
He has given up on that argument (without conceding it) by switching to attacking a particular decommissioning that was authorized by Bush and sought by the JC, still blaming Obama for obvious partisan reasons.
Who is "he"? Is "He" related to HIM? ( "His Infernal Majesty," from the PowerPuff Girls)

Is your goal to make an intelligent argument or to make a marginally less foolish argument than "He" made?

[ November 10, 2012, 08:29 PM: Message edited by: Pete at Home ]

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AI Wessex
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"For what intelligent purpose did you mention percentages (and NO OTHER PARAMETERS)?"

Because all by its lonesome that is enough to challenge Noel to prove that lowering the number of ships somehow matters. He hasn't done anything but wring his hands that a ship was decommissioned so the Navy is now woefully underrepresented on the high seas. Really? Until he can explain why that is so, I don't need to argue that it is not so.

Really, Pete, you don't see that?

"Who is "he"?"

Noel.

I have already said that I'm not even arguing whether the US has sufficient sea power at this point. I'm only challenging Noel to back up his assertion that we don't. I'm not sure we'll ever get to a substantive discussion at this rate.

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Pete at Home
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Perhaps you could identify when you're speaking to Noel so that I will know not to read or engage those posts.
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Pete at Home
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" I'm only challenging Noel to back up his assertion that we don't. "

Well that's certainly legitimate.

Noel, do you have any facts or sources to show that Navy forces are strained with respect to current national imperatives?

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noel c.
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Al,

I have never used WWI as a point of reference for calculating today's carrier numbers, but let me simplify this for you; it was a Democrat, Carl Vinson, who did see a need for a "Two Ocean" navy shortly following the war to end all wars. He fought in the House to bring this about over his extended career, and his grandnephew, Sam Nunn, carried on the tradition in the Senate.

There was another Democratic House member who came later, by the name of John C. Stennis, who saw that in our modern world it was not exclusively the Atlantic and Pacific sea lanes that our vital national interests would need to be defended on very short notice. He correctly identified naval power, as manifested in carrier battle groups, to be the most cost-effective means of achieving that end... and has come to be known as "the Father of the Modern Navy".

Vinson prepared us for Pearl Harbor, which was the first shot fired in what came to be known as "the Carrier War". Stennis legislated the primary tool (naval power) used to contain the Soviets during an extremely dangerous period of our history, and we are confronting essentially the same alliance of bad actors in the present.

Now Al, I don’t know how closely you followed my last post, but it takes 11.5 carriers to field an average of 2.6 at any given time. How many oceans are important to us?

Aren't you the one that said "they" should have thought about available air resources "before" Benghazi? I personally believe that both Panetta, and Dempsey, are either stupid or lying about air response assets in the Mediterranean (and that will come out), but what would a 500lb LJDAM dropped from a naval F-18 Super Hornet have meant to Tyrone Woods, and Glen Doherty, at 5:25 a.m. on the morning of September 12th?

[ November 11, 2012, 08:23 PM: Message edited by: noel c. ]

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AI Wessex
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That makes no sense to me, sorry. I've read and now again re-read every post of yours in this thread. I find that you are trying to make a numerical analysis rather than a strategic one. You haven't provided any real evidence that the navy is below target strength or that Obama has in any way caused the US naval arsenal to be vulnerable. Since the JC don't seem to be arguing your side on this, I have no reason to believe that you are offering anything other than your own personal opinion using mumbo-jumbo jargon to obfuscate the issue rather than enlighten it. I won't be surprised if you can come up with a hawkish site that deplores anything and everything Obama has done wrt the military, but that doesn't mean anything.

Prove that Obama has caused the military, specifically the navy, to be vulnerable in ways that matter. Note that reducing the number of ships in the fleet, in particular citing a ship that was commissioned in 1961 that you agree is obsolete, doesn't make your argument any stronger.

Please make the case instead of making an argument because you simply dislike Obama and want to make him the scapegoat for whatever topic we happen to be discussing.

"Aren't you the one that said "they" should have thought about available air resources "before" Benghazi?"

No, I didn't say that. Try to read my posts without transforming it through your own semantic filter. I was referring to long term decisions because commissioning or decommissioning a vessel is a long term process. I know that is an incredibly hard thing for you to do, but if you could restate my argument in a way I recognize it then I would be willing to engage you further on this thread. If you continue to misconstrue and misinterpret what I am saying I won't continue to respond to you.

"I personally believe that both Panetta, and Dempsey, are either stupid or lying about air response assets in the Mediterranean..."

Of course you do, of course you do. Your personal belief that these people are stupid or mendacious carries no weight in an argument like this, unfortunately. What it does is make clear that you view this entire issue with the same common sense detachment that you view Obama, Hillary and everyone else in the Administration. I can simplify it for you: they are Democrats, and that is a very, very bad thing to be.

[ November 11, 2012, 08:39 PM: Message edited by: AI Wessex ]

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noel c.
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Al,

How many oceans would you like to have American dominance in... and why not?

... And who ever said the Enterprise was "obsolete"? Honestly Al, that is among the most inane comments that I have ever read from you.

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Pete at Home
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quote:
Originally posted by noel c. [To Al]:
Aren't you the one that said "they" should have thought about available air resources "before" Benghazi? ... what would a 500lb LJDAM dropped from a naval F-18 Super Hornet have meant to Tyrone Woods, and Glen Doherty, at 5:25 a.m. on the morning of September 12th?

While that was addressed to Al, I consider that a partial answer to my question to Noel.

I look forward to Al's response.

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LinuxFreakus
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quote:
Originally posted by noel c.:
Al,

How many oceans would you like to have American dominance in... and why not?

... And who ever said the Enterprise was "obsolete"? Honestly Al, that is among the most inane comments that I have ever read from you.

Um, a lot of people, including the military leadership. A lot of the infrastructure of the Nimitz class is not even made anymore. They've been fighting a battle of obsolescence on these old ships for years, and probably will be still for many years to come as it will be a long time before the last of them can be decommissioned. I would imagine that the older decommissioned ships could be cannibalized to help keep the others going though.
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noel c.
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Pete,

What was the other part of your question?

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noel c.
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LF,

The Enterprise is a "one-off". There are no other ships in her class, and never have been. There is nothing to "cannibalize" from, and it is the Enterprise, not the Nimitz, that was taken out of service.

These "old ships" are not maintained from a bone-yard. Replacement parts are either fabricated on-board, or by specialty contractors.

The problem encountered in maintaining readiness for our carriers is not inability to upgrade, but large subsystems that have a useful life of approximately fifty years. To be sure, Enterprise does not have many years left on her, but that is not an issue of obsolesence. The "Big E" certainly could last until CVN-78 (which Obama has delayed) is commissioned.

[ November 11, 2012, 10:05 PM: Message edited by: noel c. ]

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AI Wessex
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"How many oceans would you like to have American dominance in... and why not?"

Sorry, Noel. I want to hear your explanation why decommissioning one ship reduces the US supremacy in the seas to the point that we are unable to fulfill our mission. In what way have the JC misunderstood the requirements? Where have the military leaders provided an analysis that indicates that we do not have that capacity?

"And who ever said the Enterprise was "obsolete"? Honestly Al, that is among the most inane comments that I have ever read from you."

Seriously, Noel, you fashion yourself as some sort of expert in this area. Why would it be decommissioned otherwise?

"The problem encountered in maintaining readiness for our carriers is not inability to upgrade, but large subsystems that have a useful life of approximately fifty years. To be sure, Enterprise does not have many years left on her, but that is not an issue of obsolesence. The "Big E" certainly could last until CVN-78 (which Obama has delayed) is commissioned."

Then why did the military want it to be decommissioned? This is from the military's web site:
quote:
Q. Can the ship’s life be extended? Why can’t she support another deployment?

A. The USS ENTERPRISE has been in service for over 50 years. Many of the major components and other equipment are nearing the end of their useful life, and it is not cost effective to further extend ENTERPRISE for combat operations.

What do you know that they don't? I've read that it will cost between $600M - $850M to maintain it. Is that a reasonable cost?

According to Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Gary Roughead:
quote:
“We really need to take Enterprise out of service,” he told Navy Times. “That ship is old, and it has served extraordinarily well. It has served longer than any aircraft carrier in the history of the United States Navy. And it’s time. She’s safe. She’s going through an availability now. But Enterprise deserves to go to pasture.”


[ November 11, 2012, 11:11 PM: Message edited by: AI Wessex ]

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noel c.
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Al,

The ship is "safe", and able to sail as fast, and as far, with the same aircraft (albeit in slightly smaller numbers) as any of the Nimitz class. For that matter, she performs comparably well with the new class Gerald R. Ford, which is built on a Nimitz hull.

What the Navy "knows" is that their budget is being cut. This weighs heavily into judgements of "cost-effectiveness".

Two questions for you:

- Will you answer Pete's last post?

- Will you speculate on Obama's motive for making national security subject to sequestration cuts?

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LinuxFreakus
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quote:
Originally posted by noel c.:
LF,

The Enterprise is a "one-off". There are no other ships in her class, and never have been. There is nothing to "cannibalize" from, and it is the Enterprise, not the Nimitz, that was taken out of service.

These "old ships" are not maintained from a bone-yard. Replacement parts are either fabricated on-board, or by specialty contractors.

The problem encountered in maintaining readiness for our carriers is not inability to upgrade, but large subsystems that have a useful life of approximately fifty years. To be sure, Enterprise does not have many years left on her, but that is not an issue of obsolesence. The "Big E" certainly could last until CVN-78 (which Obama has delayed) is commissioned.

OK, didn't realize enterprise was even older than I thought, you're right not even a Nimitz... but you still pretty much agreed that it is obsolete.
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AI Wessex
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"What the Navy "knows" is that their budget is being cut. This weighs heavily into judgements of "cost-effectiveness"."

I accept that as your opinion, even though it contradicts what the CNO says about it.

"what would a 500lb LJDAM dropped from a naval F-18 Super Hornet have meant to Tyrone Woods, and Glen Doherty, at 5:25 a.m. on the morning of September 12th?"

It's pointless to speculate without a complete set of facts surrounding the circumstances, which we don't have. Why do you think that was that the proper response without that information?

"Will you speculate on Obama's motive for making national security subject to sequestration cuts?"

He was unable to get a raise in the debt ceiling, where the refusal to raise it was an unprecedented and improper power grab by the House GOP. Without that the government would have defaulted on its debt obligations; the effects would have been disastrous, yet the GOP refused to allow it.

In order to get even a temporary raise Obama acquiesced to a deal with Boehner that would require the GOP to put forward a budget that met various spending criteria that they had already demanded. The GOP won that battle handily. The one concession that Obama extracted was a smart move: if Defense hadn't been included in the BCA the GOP would have simply laughed the whole deal off and raised the stakes in subsequent budget or debt ceiling negotiations.

Republicans in the House supported the BCA in much greater numbers than the Democrats, which indicates that even his own party thought Obama should not have given in to GOP demands. In other words, the BCA was a Republican plan. They overreached in their belief that it would give them total negotiating control in the subsequent budget discussions.

Who could have expected the GOP to risk defense spending for the sake of preserving tax cuts? Despite their rhetoric it's clear that they value tax cuts more than national defense, otherwise they would have put forward a suitable budget long before now. I think Obama failed to appreciate that the GOP would refuse to put the nation's fiscal requirements ahead of their ideological demands.

If you think it was dumb of Obama to agree to it (I don't, but then again I would have expected the GOP to be motivated by the impending cuts to act responsibly), then it is outrageous that the House GOP has been unwilling to compromise to find a way to avoid it.

The larger and more fundamental problem is that GOP is completely out of step with the rest of country in believing that ideology is more important than practical governance. More voters elected the Democrats in the House than Republicans, yet through gerrymandering the GOP manages to keep control for at least another two years. They lost this election big time because they simply refuse to accept that the country doesn't view things through the same colored filters that they do.

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noel c.
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LF,

No, the Enterprise is not "obsolete", it is tired. You do understand what the difference is? Perhaps it would help you to visualize this with a realization that no navy, including our own, would fare well in a confrontation with the big E and her group. Most of the few countries that have carriers would be very likely lose their navy in such a scenario.

Al,

Can you bring yourself to say that Obama's sequestration scheme only works if national security is of greater importance to Republicans than Democrats?

You really have no opinion on the relative probability of three fielded carriers being more capable of responding to Benghazi-type events than two?

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NobleHunter
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Noel, thanks for the added info about the Carriers.

I find the statement that no one really has a navy that can deal with a carrier group to be an interesting contrast with your criticisms of the Obama administration.

And unless we have a fair amount of warning (days, at least,) I don't think having one more carrier group deployed is going to make a difference in responding to small-scale actions like Benghazi. Particularly since deployed carriers probably won't be pulled off station for short-term emergencies.

One more deployed carrier group is just as likely to be in the wrong place as the other two.

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AI Wessex
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"Can you bring yourself to say that Obama's sequestration scheme only works if national security is of greater importance to Republicans than Democrats?"

No, that doesn't follow. As I pointed out above House Republicans supported the sequestration in far greater numbers than the Democrats. Wouldn't you assume that protecting defense spending was therefore more important to Democrats?

"You really have no opinion on the relative probability of three fielded carriers being more capable of responding to Benghazi-type events than two?"

No, I'm not a naval military expert. I assume two carriers have more than enough firepower to bomb the hell out of a target that small, but I'm not sure that would have been the right approach in any case. Like I've said repeatedly, Noel, I don't have enough information to know which measures would have been the most appropriate or effective. You haven't given any indication that you do, either. Your criticism of Obama started out as an abject condemnation and you've been shifting the basis for that as facts have emerged without changing your conclusion. I think you're intent on finding him at fault and are focusing on any information you can find to support that purpose.

Have you thought about offering your services to the CNO? He obviously doesn't see the situation with the same degree of clarity that you have.

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noel c.
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Al,

I have never altered my "abject condemnation" of Obama's pre/para/post handling of Benghazi. The facts trickling out have done nothing to soften his culpability. I will be adding those details soon to the other thread. The noteworthy change, in this thread, is that nobody still contends that Barry actually strengthen the U.S. Navy.

NH,

"One more deployed carrier group is just as likely to be in the wrong place as the other two."...

Probability does not work that way, but your comment may be based on a misconception of range capability. A super carrier travels over 800 nautical miles per day at full-speed. The Super Hornet cruises at 777 mph at a range of 1,275 nautical miles. Look at a map of the Mediterranean. None of the foregoing factors include that a Hornet can be refueled in-flight by another Hornet, and that its top speed is mach 1.8+ (1,200 mph)

Carriers are not usually found drifting in the Sargasso Sea, but sea lanes and hot spots. A carrier group located anywhere in the Mediterranean could have responded to an air- support call from Tyrone Woods at 5:25 a.m. on September 12th... if initial calls for assistance from the CIA annex (which began at 9:40 p.m. November 11th, and was video linked to Barry's situation room by 11:00 p.m.) were treated seriously by Obama.

[ November 12, 2012, 12:16 PM: Message edited by: noel c. ]

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TomDavidson
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quote:
A carrier group located anywhere in the Mediterranean could have responded to an air- support call from Tyrone Woods at 5:25 a.m. on September 12th...
I'm curious how many carriers we should deploy so that no American, anywhere, has to die.
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NobleHunter
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I meant something more along the lines of: with more carriers available, would one be in place in the Mediterranean? There's quite a few other places that carriers might want to be hanging around.

ETA: Sigh, Tom is cleverer than I am. Snarkier, but cleverer.

[ November 12, 2012, 12:17 PM: Message edited by: NobleHunter ]

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noel c.
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NH,

Given that our ambassador had repeatedly expressed concern over deteriorating security conditions in Libya, the last one only hours prior to his death, it would be odd if initiative was not taken at many levels to position air resources prior to the attack... a carrier group being one of numerous options.

Many will be surprised to learn what Panetta turned-down, and the length of time that he took to do even that.

He will be resigning, but his boss is ultimately responsible for his detached approach to the entire tragedy.

[ November 12, 2012, 12:34 PM: Message edited by: noel c. ]

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NobleHunter
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That pre-supposes that aircraft-to-blow-stuff-up-with is an appropriate response to the security concerns.
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AI Wessex
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Noel, how strong does the navy have to be for you to be satisfied with the strength? How long does it take to get a new ship commissioned and deployed? Isn't the best Obama could possibly do the slowdown of the decline in force strength that is the result of Bush's policies?
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TomDavidson
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quote:
it would be odd if initiative was not taken at many levels to position air resources prior to the attack... a carrier group being one of numerous options
I can imagine few individual tactical decisions more expensive than deploying a carrier group.
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noel c.
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NH,

Blowing stuff up is the cultural norm for settling problems in that part of the world... if it was otherwise, then the ambassador would not have been engaged in funneling shoulder launched anti-aircraft missiles to Syria.

Al,

It takes seven years, from bid request to delivery, to field a carrier. For that reason it is very difficult to build a carrier force, but quite easy to decommission existing carriers, and delay acquisition of replacements. The current reduction is 100% on Barry's watch.

I think that the three carrier presence reached under Reagan is adequate to cover our interests world wide... especially considering that six can be in place with 30 days notice. Reagan accomplished this with 15 carriers, most of which were conventionally powered. The Enterprise has had four refuelings during its service, and the Nimitz class needs only one during its 50 year life-span. The Ford class will need *none*. Since we always have one carrier out of service for the 33 month refueling process, the situation will change dramatically when the new class is present. I think the current plan is for 7 to be constructed.

When that happens, 12 can accomplish what 15 used to.

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NobleHunter
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Wasn't our involvement in Lybia started because aircraft launched missiles were being used to "settle problems"?
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noel c.
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Yup.

Among the shoulder launch missiles, is the old Russian-issue Gadaffi stockpile.

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Pete at Home
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quote:
Originally posted by TomDavidson:
quote:
A carrier group located anywhere in the Mediterranean could have responded to an air- support call from Tyrone Woods at 5:25 a.m. on September 12th...
I'm curious how many carriers we should deploy so that no American, anywhere, has to die.
Surely you realize that if you had an infinite number of aircraft carriers emitting an infinite number of random morse code streams, one of them would eventually code out the cure to HIV.
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Pete at Home
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quote:
Originally posted by AI Wessex:
Noel, how strong does the navy have to be for you to be satisfied with the strength?

I think I'd want enough to cover our existing needs and commitments at this period in history. In my mind that includes needing enough to dispatch planes at a moment's notice to anywhere in the Persian Gulf region.
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AI Wessex
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Do you think we don't have that capacity, given your understanding of our fleet and landed base strength in that region?
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noel c.
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Al,

Now you understand why Panetta's explaination is so weak.

[ November 12, 2012, 02:17 PM: Message edited by: noel c. ]

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AI Wessex
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No, I don't. I was asking a question. You have to understand that I don't trust your facts or your judgment, since you have a firm and unshakable position in every discussion of actions by or on behalf of Obama that he is at fault for whatever is being discussed. IMO, you want him to be found deficient or dishonest and will filter out any information that doesn't support your attitude. You've already admitted in this thread that nothing can change your mind on this issue.

FWIW, none of that is speculation or an insult, just a statement of history. If someone wants to report me to the Mod for saying these things and if I have the time I will cite some examples for others to ponder, but I don't think that will be necessary.

Unless you can provide solid independent verification I have too little information to form my own opinions. However, don't point me to "educational" sites. Use sites of experts (not pundits or bloggers) who can provide authoritative and expert testimony, people whose knowledge and authority you respect.

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noel c.
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"... none of that is speculation... "...

[Smile] ... And now I better understand how you maintain your unwaivering party line.

BTW, start with the 2011 Rand analysis titled:

"Changing Aircraft Carrier Procurement Schedules" (already cited)

I will walk you through what is not covered there (if you have not already done so).

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Pete at Home
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quote:
Originally posted by AI Wessex:
Do you think we don't have that capacity, given your understanding of our fleet and landed base strength in that region?

I don't know. Were we able to dispatch planes to Lybia on time and if not, why not?
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AI Wessex
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I don't know, but I also don't know if that was the right tactic. The hearings this week should help clarify some of that. I don't expect this issue to go away no matter how clean a bill of health the Administration is given (or how poor one they get). It's too sharp a stick to poke them with since there will always be some judgment and unknowns that can be taken for whichever point of view one wants to pursue.
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noel c.
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Al,

Indecisiveness is what got four Americans killed between 9:40 p.m. November 11th, and 5:26 a.m. November 12th.

In you, it is tolerable. In a Chief Executive it is inexcuseable. If it was preceded by reckless incompetence, and followed by lies... it is impeachable.

[ November 12, 2012, 03:10 PM: Message edited by: noel c. ]

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