Please join us for Midrats Episode 223: 12 Carriers and 3 Hubs with Bryan McGrath on Sunday 13 April 2014 at 5pm (EDT).

“Where are the carriers?” Regardless of the writing, talking, and pontificating about “Why the carriers?” – when there is a real world crisis – leaders still ask, “Where are the carriers.”

Since we waived the requirement for a floor of 11, we have drifted to the new normal of 10 CVNs – without dedicated additional funding, even 10 isn’t an accurate number. With one undergoing nuclear refueling – you really have 9. Knowing what it takes to deploy, train, maintain and all other preparations – in normal times we require 9 carriers to make three available now – if you are lucky. If you have an emergency that requires multiple carriers on station – you can run out of options very fast, and the calendar gets very short.

Surge? If, as Rear Admiral Thomas Moore said last year, “We’re an 11-carrier Navy in a 15-carrier world.” – what risk are we taking with 9 carriers that can get underway?

Our guest for the full hour to discuss this and more will be Bryan McGrath, CDR, USN (Ret.), Managing Director of The FerryBridge Group. We will use as a basis for our discussion the article he co-authored with the American Enterprise Institute’s Mackenzie Eaglen, America’s Navy needs 12 carriers and 3 hubs.

Join us live at 5pm on the 13th or pick the show up later by clicking here.

If you are feeling daring, you can even join us in the chat room.




Posted by Mark Tempest in Aviation, Hard Power, Maritime Security, Navy, Soft Power


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  • P.S. Wallace

    Though it didn’t work out well in practice, I still think there is nothing wrong with the basic idea of an “Atlantic Conveyor”-type auxiliary CV supplementing the CVN (like CVLs did). Certainly the CVEs of WWII proved their worth, and with the F-35B, there will be a 5th gen aircraft able to operate off of an improvised platform. Might also be able to off-load the CVN helo squadron to it (to put more pointy nose on the CVN), or get a dedicated ASW ACV. Might also help to have a platform out there capable of acting in the “fleet ocean tug” role, as well as another target source to confuse enemy operators (two Exocets into Atlantic Conveyor are two Exocets not into Hermes or Invincible…and back when I was a Sonar Tech on the Ustafish, I thought a good ASW defense would be to put as many ships (i.e. sound sources) in the battle group as possible, to force the sub to close to vis range to identify the *real* high value targets (or fire blindly at long range). Figure out how to attack the mind of the sensor operator, that sort of thing.)

    Arguing numbers for budgets is one thing. Making sure you can win the war with what the politicians actually give you is another. Airpower is flexible–it can be based a lot of places. What is truly critical is mass, notwhere the mass comes from.

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