“But I think Governor Romney maybe hasn’t spent enough time looking at how our military works,” the president said. “You — you mentioned the Navy, for example, and that we have fewer ships than we did in 1916. Well, Governor, we also have fewer horses and bayonets because the nature of our military’s changed. We have these things called aircraft carriers where planes land on them. We have these ships that go underwater, nuclear submarines.”If Admiral Greenert, the Chief of Naval Operations (CNO), was watching, he must have done a facepalm that practically broke his neck. In nearly four years as President, Obama hasn't learned a thing about the Navy. All those tours and briefings went in one ear and out the other.
For one thing, as Jonah points out, our ships don't exactly use the latest technology.
There’s another problem. What innovation does he have in mind? Many of our warplanes and nearly all of our major naval vessels are much older than the pilots and sailors flying and sailing them. It’s great to talk up the benefits of innovation, but that argument starts to sputter when you realize we are often relying on the innovation of older generations.Here's a list of our carriers and their commissioning dates, taken from the US Navy website.
|USS Enterprise (CVN 65)||25 Nov 1961|
|USS Nimitz (CVN 68)||3 May 1975|
|USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69)||18 Oct 1977|
|USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70)||13 Mar 1982|
|USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71)||25 Oct 1986|
|USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72)||11 Nov 1989|
|USS George Washington (CVN 73)||4 July 1992|
|USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74)||9 Dec 1995|
|USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75)||25 July 1998|
|USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76)||12 July 2003|
The Eisenhower, for example, dates back to this ad.
Not quite the point the President was trying to make.
More importantly, Obama, after years of briefings by his military, has failed to ingest a crucial concept about the Navy. Carriers and amphibious assault ships don't go anywhere alone. They need escorts and support ships if they're going to survive. That's why the Navy has been telling Obama they need 300+ ships. Far from successfully mocking Romney, Obama's response showed a total ignorance of basic facts about the Navy.
|The Eisenhower Carrier Strike Group. Notice all the ships that aren't aircraft carriers.|