By The Heritage Foundation’s Mackenzie Eaglen and Eric Sayers
House Armed Services Committee Chairman Representative Ike Skelton [D-MO] recently expressed his concern about the state of the United States Navy, noting that since the Cold War ended, the U.S. “…forgot that we are a maritime nation. We forgot that lesson of history that only the nations with powerful navies are able to exert power and influence, and when a navy disappears so does that nation’s power.”
In The Heritage Foundation’s Jan 28/09 publication “Quadrennial Defense Review: Building Blocks for National Defense,” we argued that:
“The U.S. has 11 aircraft carriers, and that number should increase to 13 over the longer term. The number of cruisers and destroyers should increase from a projected 88 to 100, and the number of attack submarines should rise from 48 to at least 60. This should be facilitated, in part, by reducing the projected number of littoral combat ships from 55 to 20. Further, the QDR should at least consider recommending that the Navy proceed with DDG-1000 procurement instead of extending the construction of DDG-51 Arleigh Burke destroyers by ensuring that the DDG-1000s will have both air and ballistic missile defense capabilities.”
This article is set within the context of Heritage’s overall QDR recommendations, which were necessarily brief. It expands on the strategic, tactical, and industrial rationales behind the choices that we believe a secure America will require, within the context of Heritage’s belief that America needs consistent defense budgets around 4% of national GDP.