This isn’t an attempt to start another DD(X) vs. BB cage match. I don’t think MO has the bandwidth for all that hot air. What I’m wondering about is the actual legality of the move in the latest budget.
Here’s a snippet from 1996:
National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 1996 (Enrolled as Agreed to or Passed by Both House and Senate)
SEC. 1011. IOWA CLASS BATTLESHIPS.
(a) RETURN TO NAVAL VESSEL REGISTER– The Secretary of the Navy shall list on the Naval Vessel Register, and maintain on such register, at least two of the Iowa-class battleships that were stricken from the register in February 1995.
(b) SUPPORT– The Secretary shall retain the existing logistical support necessary for support of at least two operational Iowa class battleships in active service, including technical manuals, repair and replacement parts, and ordnance.
(c) SELECTION OF SHIPS– The Secretary shall select for listing on the Naval Vessel Register under subsection (a) Iowa class battleships that are in good material condition and can provide adequate fire support for an amphibious assault.
(d) REPLACEMENT FIRE-SUPPORT CAPABILITY– (1) If the Secretary of the Navy makes a certification described in paragraph (2), the requirements of subsections (a) and (b) shall terminate, effective 60 days after the date of the submission of such certification.
(2) A certification referred to in paragraph (1) is a certification submitted by the Secretary of the Navy in writing to the Committee on Armed Services of the Senate and the Committee on National Security of the House of Representatives that the Navy has within the fleet an operational surface fire-support capability that equals or exceeds the fire-support capability that the Iowa class battleships listed on the Naval Vessel Register pursuant to subsection (a) would, if in active service, be able to provide for Marine Corps amphibious assaults and operations ashore.
Now, if I’ve got the right one, this has long been described by battleship supporters to mean that the Navy simply cannot strike the battlewagons until equal or greater naval surface fire support is available to the fleet. That support clearly is not yet available.
So how can the ships be striken?
(Oh, all right…one little DD(X) vs. BB debate is okay…)