On the eve of America’s entry into World War One, Senator Hiram Johnson warned that “the first casualty when war comes is truth.” It turns out that the truth about some military programs is obscure even in peacetime. Consider the question of aircraft-carrier vulnerability. In 1994 the Pentagon’s Office of Net Assessment sponsored a wargame in which China used space-based sensors and long-range missiles to wipe out the Seventh Fleet. Since then it has been an article of faith among proponents of military transformation that America’s carriers are becoming sitting ducks.
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