Until moral improves:
As the Obama administration reorients its military strategy toward Asia and the vital maritime trade routes in the Pacific, the bulk of the responsibility will fall on the Navy, which was largely sidelined during the land wars of the last decade.
But the Navy will have to perform its mission in Asia with fewer ships in coming years than it had anticipated. Under President Obama’s proposed defense budget, the Navy will retire nine ships early and cut or delay the purchases of 16 others over the next five years.
The Navy had long planned to increase the size of its 285-ship fleet to 313 vessels by 2020, but under Obama’s budget it will fall far short. Under the new plan, the fleet will remain at 285 ships over the next five years.
The Navy is hoping to expand to a 300-ship fleet by 2019, but that’s only if the service doesn’t get hit with additional spending cuts, an optimistic scenario.
A real mission, facing a real adversary, at a great distance, who has the advantage of interior lines of communication. With fewer resources.
It’s all of a piece throughout. But at least we’ll have the USS Gabrielle Giffords.