Earlier, some ex-Navy and Marine Corps hands fired a budgetary shot across the bow in trying to make the case for more Navy in the country’s future. The real agenda is this: to make a public case to cut the Navy and Marine Corps less than the other services.
An article at AOL Defense says the Navy must (and will) change and here’s why:
Although all U.S. service branches face this [budgetary] challenge, the Navy is feeling it the most acutely. In short, the Navy can’t afford the fleet assets it has today, and the cost to maintain them going forward is growing much more rapidly than the rate of inflation.
The article’s author, a Booz Allen Hamilton guy, suggests a non-traditional approach, acquiring weapons systems that are designed for affordability. After all, what’s the use of a great weapon system if you can’t afford to operate, maintain, or train on it, let alone deploy it? Historically the budget problem might result in more lobbying, more liaison with the legislators/staffs, a more full-court feel-good public affairs campaign, or just sitting back and taking the budgetary lumps.
The cost to operate and maintain our weapons systems is immense. Assuming all else is equal (it isn’t but you have to start somewhere), consider the cost of nuclear deterrence as a for-example: is it cheaper to base nuclear weapons on rockets in the ground (ICBMs), in the air (bombers), or at sea (in submarines)? While this rhetorical question is just part of the overall deterrence calculus, operating costs for all systems need increasing consideration as a “dependent variable.”