The United States is the only country with a sizable fleet of large-deck, nuclear-powered aircraft carriers. Nobody really doubts their value as combat systems, and the cost to build and operate them is only a fraction of one-percent of the federal budget each year. However, some observers question whether such high-value targets might be vulnerable to attack. The answer is that unless enemies intend to use nuclear weapons, they aren’t. First, large-deck, nuclear-powered carriers are fast and very resilient. Second, they are equipped with formidable defenses against everything from torpedoes to cruise missiles. Third, they operate as part of a strike group providing additional layers of protection. Fourth, they employ tactics that minimize risk. And fifth, the Navy is investing heavily in new offensive and defensive technologies to keep up with emerging threats. I have written a commentary for The National Interest here.
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