Professor Robert Farley offers a balanced meditation on whether America really is suffering from a “carrier gap.” In so doing, he reminds os of the high cost in dollars and people that each carrier represents.
I am a navalist of long standing (“speak softly and deploy a big fleet”), and I have a soft spot for flat-tops, born perhaps of my long studies of the Second World War. Yet in the face of evolving military technology and doctrine, it is getting harder to see these incredible machines as anything other than large, very expensive targets.
The Navy needs to do some soul-searching about the carriers, and we as citizens need to get over our sentimental attachment to these beasts the same way we had to fall out of love with battleships 75 years ago. Only then do our political leaders have a hope of overcoming the politically powerful naval aviation community and the huge contractors who make a fortune building carriers, carrier systems, and carrier-based aricraft.