Hampton Roads Daily Press:
A draft Pentagon blueprint renews a plan to shrink the Navy’s fleet of aircraft carriers, barely a month after Congress blocked the move.
Excerpts of the draft Quadrennial Defense Review, conducted every four years to guide military strategy, call for a fleet of 11 aircraft carriers – or one fewer than exist today.
The Navy pushed hard last year to reduce the fleet by mothballing the USS John F. Kennedy, based in Mayport, Fla. But Congress saved the carrier last month by mandating a 12-carrier fleet in the final version of a defense authorization bill.
I understand that the JFK is not in the greatest shape and that a ton of money could be saved by avoiding a major overhaul by retiring her early. I don’t know if the Kitty Hawk is up to it, but how about compromising by retiring the Kennedy now but extending the life of the Kitty Hawk and keeping her active after the George H.W. Bush comes on line? That would get us down to eleven for the short term, saving some money at a time when Iraq is stretching everything tight. But in a few years, as China’s military begins to get dangerous, we’d be back up to twelve.