As the Department of Defense prepares for the possibility of major spending reductions, budget analysts inside and outside the Pentagon have turned to their perennial pastime of predicting how many aircraft carriers the Navy will have to give up. I say the service won’t give up any — at least, not in the early stages of what looks to be a decade-long debate about deficit reduction. Not only have Navy leaders proven to be politically adept at preserving control of their programs, but the peculiar dynamics of building and operating carriers make it difficult to save money by adjusting construction schedules. The longer you delay the next carrier, the more it will cost you in the end. You will also end up paying more for other programs performed in the same shipyard. I have written a commentary on why Navy carriers aren’t likely to be cut anytime soon for Forbes.com that can be found here.
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