Writing in The Hill last week, Steve Cohen asked “Is the US Navy totally at sea?” But a more worrying question is whether the U.S. Navy is fit and prepared for a conflict with an adversary that is at least as well equipped and armed as it is.
Of course, the same question can be asked of the other services — the Army, Air Force and Marines. The difference is that those services have been to war several times since 1945 because those conflicts were waged on and over the land and not at sea. The last big battle the Navy fought was the invasion of Okinawa in mid-1945.
The Navy was engaged in Korea, Vietnam, Afghanistan and Iraq twice. But units going in harm’s way were largely naval aviation, SEALs, the Seabees (Naval construction battalions) and a few sailors like me who fought in brown and green waters and not major sea battles reminiscent of Jutland and Midway. During the Cold War, U.S. submarines played a potentially deadly cat and mouse game with their Soviet opposite numbers. But no admirals commanded fleets battling other fleets.
Today, China and Russia have been modernizing their forces. The Trump National Defense Strategy focused on preventing a fait accompli — a Chinese invasion of Taiwan and Russia marching on the Baltic states. Currently, the media is abuzz with speculation about whether the U.S. military could prevent a Chinese takeover of the island regardless of whether the U.S. would go to war over Taiwan, even though the likelihood of that contingency arising is low.
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Source: the Hill