One of the most persistent fashions in military circles is predicting the demise of the aircraft carrier. However, the demand signal from regional combatant commanders suggests carriers are becoming more important to national security, rather than gradually relinquishing their roles. It isn’t hard to see why that might be the case. First, carriers are less vulnerable than land bases because they are always moving. Second, carriers are becoming more lethal and survivable with the arrival on deck of the stealthy F-35C fighter. Third, carriers are becoming more available, thanks to a new Fleet Response Plan and the completion of the first Ford-class carrier. Fourth, carriers are more economical than other ways of waging war because of their flexibility and ability to use low-cost munitions rather than pricey missiles. Finally, carriers are more politically acceptable than having to bargain with unsavory local leaders for basing access. I have written a commentary for Forbes here.
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