Small Wars Journal

America's Capsizing Naval Policy

America's Capsizing Naval Policy - Wall Street Journal op-ed by Mark Helprin.

... To hold that numbers and mass in war are unnecessary is as dangerous as believing that they are sufficient. Defense contractor Norman Augustine famously observed that at the rate fighter planes are becoming complex and expensive, soon we will be able to build just one. Neither a plane nor a ship, no matter how capable, can be in more than one place at once. And if one ship that is in some ways equivalent to 100 is damaged or lost, we have lost the equivalent of 100. But, in fact, except for advances in situational awareness, missile defense, and the effect of precision-guided munitions in greatly multiplying the target coverage of carrier-launched aircraft, the Navy is significantly less capable than it was a relatively short time ago in antisubmarine warfare, mine warfare, the ability to return ships to battle, and the numbers required to accomplish the tasks of deterrence or war...


A 600-ship Navy is a bold proposal, but seems a bit incomplete without some suggestion of who's meant to pay for it. Sounds less like a call for a "damn the torpedoes" approach than a call for a "damn the taxpayers" approach.