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World Order
Trump’s Plan For World Order

President-elect Donald Trump and the Navy are preparing the biggest boost to American seapower since the Cold War, the AP reported over the weekend:

The Navy’s 355-ship proposal released last month is even larger than what the Republican Trump had promoted on the campaign trail, providing a potential boost to shipyards that have struggled because budget caps that have limited…funding for ships.

At Maine’s Bath Iron Works, workers worried about the future want to build more ships but wonder where the billions of dollars will come from.

“Whether Congress and the government can actually fund it, is a whole other ball game,” said Rich Nolan, president of the shipyard’s largest union.

Boosting shipbuilding to meet the Navy’s 355-ship goal could require an additional $5 billion to $5.5 billion in annual spending in the Navy’s 30-year projection, according to an estimate by naval analyst Ronald O’Rourke at the Congressional Research Service.

Last week, the Pentagon said it hopes to close an order for a dozen new nuclear submarines by the inauguration. The cost of that program is estimated at $128 billion.

These developments send a much stronger signal to Russia than do any tweets expressing skepticism about allegations of Russian meddling in the election. In Moscow and Beijing, you can be sure that officials are paying close attention to what happens to the U.S. Navy. Intelligentsia types who would prefer not to think about military strategy tend to forget that the America’s ability to secure global order is first and foremost dependent on seapower. Like the British Empire and the Dutch empire before it, American supremacy is a maritime phenomenon.

The conversation about whether Trump is going to subordinate America’s security and global power to his narrow business interests would benefit from acknowledging his plans to enlarge and strengthen the military. Assuming Trump goes ahead with it, this naval build-up would be a clear signal that he understands U.S. power in global terms. This is not a Fortress America policy of retreat; the strength of the U.S. Navy will determine our ability to continue missions like promoting the safety and freedom of the seas for the commerce of all nations. It’s a bigger deal than most of the headlines America’s top newspapers are running with these days.

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  • QET

    Good! The amount may be excessive, but at least providing a military force is one of the federal government’s enumerated responsibilities, unlike so much they prefer to occupy themselves with these days.

    Next up — augment our air power (including a few new A-10 squadrons!) and deploy space weapons.

    • CapitalHawk

      A-10 squadrons should be increased, I agree. They should also be transferred to the Army, since the Air Force isn’t interested in them, and the Army is.

      • lurkingwithintent

        I want an A-10.

        • ljgude

          Me too, just to repress my next door neighbours who are always popping off at me with their AKs.

    • f1b0nacc1

      Much as I like the A-10, we are better off doing the maintenance on the ones we have (get them all up to the A-10C standard, for instance) than buying new ones. The Army needs better CAS, but AH-64Es provide that at a better cost, and give us a more flexible asset as well. Finally, AH-64s are under the Army’s control, so we don’t have to worry about the Air Force grounding them because they would rather have something stealthy.

      We need to upgrade much of our military, and rehab almost all of it, given the last 8 years of not terribly benign neglect under the Obama administration. End the wasteful LCS and F-35 programs, and use the money saved to make some real improvements.

      • Frank Natoli

        The Army needs better CAS, but AH-64Es provide that at a better cost, and give us a more flexible asset as well.
        One of the lessons of the invasion of Iraq was that Army helos were NOT survivable over a non-suppressed battlefield, unlike the A-10, which despite meriting its moniker of “Warthog” and “Thunder-ugly”, moved fast enough to accomplish its mission and survive.

        • f1b0nacc1

          I must disagree. What Iraq demonstrated was that using Apaches as ‘cavalry’ (i.e. charging in directly against infantry without taking advantage of cover, without using stand-off weapons, etc.) was suicidal and foolish, something that numerous observers (including myself, I will point out with some small degree of self-aggrandizement) Of course A-10s did fine against jihadis with no AA weapons, but there is little reason to believe that they would be much more survivable against a near-peer.

          Both weapons are useful, but the Apache is far more flexible, and is likely to be much cheaper to upgrade to meet changing threats. Please don’t mistake me, I want to keep A-10s in the mix (actually, I would like so see them upgraded past the A-10C configuration, but that is probably too far in the weeds for this thread), but they are hardly a panacea for our CAS needs. Right now the Army faces a lack of Air Force interest in the CAS mission, and that isn’t likely to change anytime soon. To deal with that, and the certainty that the A-10 is likely to be available only in small numbers no matter what is done, we need to supplement it with Apaches and second and third generation drones, which with time will be more survivable in a non-permissive environment.

          • Frank Natoli

            No doubt we are in accord, especially that it’s not an “either / or” situation.
            It is true that the Air Force sees no laurels in keeping the A-10s flying, the A-10s for all intents and purposes being a ground forces CAS weapon, not strategic, not air superiority, not stealthy, not any of the glamor.
            What is also true is that the A-10’s 30mm cannon, its loiter time, its FOD protected engines, its fixed wing, make it overwhelmingly the very best CAS weapon in the inventory today. Bombs and/or missiles will not replace THAT cannon for the foreseeable future.
            So, for the sake of the guys on the ground, the A-10 stays, with upgrades, with whatever is necessary to keep them overhead, until we have something better.

          • f1b0nacc1

            Once again, I am NOT suggesting that the A-10 isn’t a fine aircraft, or that it doesn’t provide a valuable benefit in the CAS role. With that said, it is largely overhyped in terms of its unique capabilities.

            The 30 mm gun, for instance, has largely been replaced by standoff weapons, and is valuable primarily because it is reasonably cheap. In terms of effectiveness, it is limited, particularly because of how dangerous the low-altitude airspace is nowadays. Unguided bombs and previous generation missiles cannot match the GAU-8, but modern ones can. The loiter time has been significantly overmatched by modern drones, and while it retains an unsurpassed ordinance capacity, the circumstances where you have single-ship strikes that require that heavy a bomb load in a CAS role are very, very rare indeed. Its survivability is exceptional, though more modern SAMs are rapidly moving to undermine that.

            The A-10 was designed in an era before widely available PGMs (yes, they did exist, but they were rarely used, particularly in a CAS role), before drones, and before SAMs with useful frontal engagement capabilities. It has adapted well to the changing environment, and has a long, useful life ahead of it. With all of that said, the days when it was the only worthwhile platform for the CAS role is long past, and it isn’t coming back. We can leverage our investment in the aircraft, but beyond that, I am less confident.

            Edit: Let me be clear….I agree with you that this isn’t an ‘either/or’ situation, and that we are far better off with an ‘and’ solution to the problem.

          • Frank Natoli
          • f1b0nacc1

            Yes, the “C” upgrades are excellent, but it is hardly the only platform out there that can perform them. Oddly enough, the rise of precision weapons tends to undercut the value of the A-10, since what becomes important now is not the size of the bomb (or missile), but its accuracy, and the sheer number of them that can be carried. The A-10 (like all other aircraft) is limited by the number of hardpoints it has, and even though it can carry bigger bombs on those hardpoints, it still has only so many. Also, given that the A-10 is primarily a ‘low-and-slow’ platform (as befits an excellent CAS aircraft), it is limited in the use of standoff weapons that depend upon gliding, such as the JDAM. It can still use those weapons, but range and effectiveness are not optimal.

            My point is that I share your admiration of the A-10, but even with significant upgrades, it has lots its position as ‘the only game in town’ and must now share the spotlight with other platforms….

  • Frank Natoli

    “Whether Congress and the government can actually fund it, is a whole other ball game,” said Rich Nolan, president of the shipyard’s largest union.
    Well, I guess that’s how a disappointed, traumatized Hillary Clinton voter sounds.

  • Disappeared4x

    So many conversations, so little time to learn if the conversations serve to delegitimize PEOTUS Trump.

    “…The conversation about whether Trump is going to subordinate America’s security and global power to his narrow business interests …” is a conversation started by Anna Wintour, of Vogue:

    “…Vogue editor Anna Wintour told a friend in December that Trump would use his presidency to “profit personally for himself and his family.” https://news.fastcompany.com/what-happened-when-trump-met-conde-nasts-top-editors-on-friday-4028295

    “ “Oh! What a tangled web we weave, when first we practice to deceive” refers to how complicated life becomes when people
    start lying.” https://www.reference.com/art-literature/saying-oh-tangled-weave-first-practice-deceive-mean-ff37d94b08c57b23

    Fair Winds and Following Seas to all future conversations…

    it is Cliché Monday somewhere in America…

  • Beauceron

    This is what I don’t like about Trump.

    We need to continue the withdrawal of American influence and troops from around the world, not wedge ourselves back in.

    If you Lords of Foreign Policy actually think the American population is ready to go and fight and die for Latvia or Poland, you are quite literally out of your minds. The country, in its fighting age citizens, is probably minority European descent at the moment. You think those kids want to go do battle with Russia for some sneering German? I assure you they do not and they will not.

    This is a waste of money. Let Russia do as it will in Europe. Let China do as it will in Asia. Good luck to them.

    I want to focus on the US and its many problems. Not what worries Europeans.

    • Kevin

      It’s early days, but this seems to be a return to Reagan’s policy of a strong military used sparingly rather than a weak one frittered away in a thousand unimportant places around the globe.

      Ever since the Somali adventures of the early 1990s we have been trying to do global social work with the military rather than protecting America with it.

    • Tom

      Yeah…no. The purpose of mucking around in Europe and Asia is to prevent a regional hegemon from arising that can challenge America’s global hegemony.

  • purusha

    How can you give Trump credit for this when he hasnt even taken office yet?

  • FriendlyGoat

    Dynamic scoring can do ANYTHING.

    • Genesis123

      It got us Obamacare. If that turrd got passed, you really can do ANYTHING. Thanks Obama!!!

  • ljgude

    I think that is exactly the right opening move – build up the navy and hope the UK can make a go of Brexit and rebuild the Royal Navy. Building the Anglosphere, in which I include India, into a navy based power bloc beats the dickens out of letting America fade to second rate status and will give the Russians and the Chinese a glorious case of intestinal desperation.

  • mf

    Republicans are a one trick pony: cut taxes, primarily for the rich, and increase government spending, particularly on the defense, while claiming to be for the smaller government. Add to this now “infrastructure spending program”, aka corruption orgy. The problem is, there really is no more room left for this. The public/debt to GDP is at ~100% level. This either is not going to happen or, if it does, will lead the US to the first genuine currency crisis.

  • Jacksonian_Libertarian

    For the price of fielding 1 Carrier Battle Group, America could field thousands of UAV’s.

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