On October 6, Secretary of Defense Mark Esper unveiled his outline of what the future U.S. naval fleet should look like. Called Battleforce 2045, there would be more of everything, except for large-deck, nuclear-powered aircraft carriers. When it comes to big carriers, Esper thinks the Navy might get by with as few as eight, rather than its present 11. That would mean only two supercarriers forward on a typical day, but Esper says the Navy should fill the resulting gap with up to six light carriers. Unfortunately, the light carriers he has in mind can’t really fill the gap. Compared with Nimitz or Ford class carriers, they are less agile, less lethal, less versatile, less survivable and less sustainable. Thus, Esper’s proposal is a bad idea. I have written a commentary for Forbes here.
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