Archive for the ‘aircraft carriers’ Category

Taiwan Strait: Tensions Cool

April 17, 2008

By Bill Gertz
The Washington Times
April 17, 2008

The United States sent three aircraft carrier strike groups to waters around Taiwan after China told U.S. officials last year there was high risk of a military incident after Taiwan’s March 22 presidential election, according to Pentagon and military officials.
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One strike group has been redeployed to the Persian Gulf since the failure of an election-day referendum strongly opposed by Beijing, but two groups remain near the island, the officials said. The Chinese warning, described in a March 31 Pentagon report to Congress, said the danger period would continue until the inauguration of the new Taiwan government next month.
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Chinese Embassy Press Counselor Wang Baodong said last night that his government thinks the situation in the Taiwan Strait is “a bit more relaxed” since the defeat of the referendum, which Beijing saw as a step toward independence. “But we still think that the situation is very sensitive and complicated,” he said.
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Mr. Wang declined to comment on the deployment of the three aircraft carrier strike groups, led by the USS Kitty Hawk, the USS Nimitz and the USS Abraham Lincoln.

Read the rest:
http://www.washingtontimes.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080417/NATION/122589302/1001

U.S. Aircraft Carriers Sent Toward Taiwan Before Election

March 19, 2008

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Two U.S. aircraft carriers, including the USS Kitty Hawk, have been sent to the Taiwan region for training exercises during this weekend’s Taiwanese election, a U.S. defense official said on Wednesday.

The two warships were “responsibly positioned” in the Pacific Ocean somewhere east of Taiwan and would remain in place through Saturday’s presidential election and referendum on U.N. membership, said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

He declined to elaborate on the positions of the two ships and could identify only the Kitty Hawk by name.

China has claimed sovereignty over self-ruled Taiwan since 1949, when Mao Zedong‘s Communists won the Chinese civil war and Chiang Kai-shek‘s Nationalists fled to the island.

Beijing has vowed to bring Taiwan under its rule by force if necessary.

The Kitty Hawk has approached Taiwan before previous elections to discourage any military action from China, which lies about 99 miles northwest of the island.

Read the rest:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20080319/wl_nm/usa_taiwan_carriers_dc_1
USS Kitty Hawk CV-63.jpg

America’s Naval Supremacy Slipping

March 18, 2008

During a recent trip to China with Adm. Timothy Keating, American reporters asked General Chen Bingde, chief of staff of the People’s Liberation Army, “Should the United States have anything to fear from China’s military buildup?”

The general responded: “That’s impossible. Isn’t it? There’s such a big gap between our military and the American military. If you say you are afraid, it means you don’t have enough courage.”
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Courage or not, China’s rapid and massive military buildup (particularly in terms of its expanding submarine force and progressive aircraft-carrier R&D program) has analysts concerned. And the U.S. Navy — the first line of defense against any Chinese expansionism in the Pacific — continues to struggle with the combined effects of Clinton-era downsizing, a post –9/11 upsurge in America’s sealift and global defense requirements, and exponentially rising costs of recapitalization and modernization of the Navy’s surface and submarine fleet, aircraft, and related weapons systems. 
A warplane takes off from the USS John C. Stennis aircraft carrier ... 
F/A-18 takes off from the U.S. Navy
Aircraft Carrier USS John C. Stennis.
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Currently, America maintains a 280-ship Navy (including 112 ships currently underway) responsible for a wide range of seagoing operations, as well as air and land missions, conventional and unconventional. 
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The fleet is small — a dwarf fleet compared to the nearly 600-ship Navy under President Ronald Reagan — but its responsibilities aren’t.
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Among them are defense of the U.S. homeland and American territories and interests abroad.
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Keeping the sea lanes open and safe from terrorism, piracy, and weapons smuggling. Maintaining air superiority above the Navy’s areas of operation. Maintaining sea-basing and amphibious landing and landing-support capabilities (this includes the Marine Corps, which technically and traditionally falls under the Department of the Navy). Maintaining light, fast forces capable of operating in rivers and along the coastal shallows (littorals). Maintaining a strategic nuclear capability (through its ballistic missile submarine force). Maintaining superior information and intelligence collection and counterintelligence capabilities. And maintaining its ability to engage in direct action — like the recent cruise-missile strike against Al Qaeda targets in Somalia — and providing support for special operations worldwide. 

USS Greeneville off the coast of Honolulu, Hawaii.
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The Navy’s enemies and potential enemies include everyone from global terrorists like Al Qaeda to previous Cold War adversaries China and Russia.
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And not only is the Navy fleet small, it is rapidly aging, and gradually losing the depth and flexibility needed to accomplish all of its current missions and strategic requirements.
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The Navy currently maintains 11 aircraft carriers. The USS Enterprise is slated to retire in 2012, but the under-construction USS Gerald R. Ford could be delivered by 2015.The fleet is also comprised of an array of cruisers, destroyers, frigates, attack and ballistic missile submarines, amphibious assault and sealift-capable ships, support vessels of all kinds, and a variety of special warfare craft.
USS Wasp LHD-1.jpg
USS Wasp
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Sounds formidable, and in 2008 it is. But the Navy is not even close to where it needs to be if it hopes to match, deter, or outfight the emerging sea powers that will continue to grow over the next 10, 20, or 30 years.
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“Even though we obviously have a strong eye toward what’s going on in Iraq and Afghanistan for our ground forces, we still must have a balanced force that can deal with a range of threats,” says Peter Brookes, former Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Asian and Pacific Affairs. “China is going to be a major conventional threat in the coming years. So we need the capability of projecting naval power across the Pacific to maintain peace and stability in that region.”
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According to Brookes, the Navy needs to focus on — among other things — regaining much of its anti-submarine warfare capability (undersea, surface, and airborne) that has been neglected since the end of the Cold War.
USS Kitty Hawk CV-63.jpg
USS Kitty Hawk.  This aircraft carrier calls Japan “homeport.”  She was ordered to the vicinity of Taiwan on or about 18 March 2008 to provide security for the Taiwanese elections.  Photo from the U.S. Navy.
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Hoping to remedy its overall shortfall, the Navy has proposed a 313-ship fleet – an increase of 33 surface ships and submarines — able to be deployed according to Navy officials by 2019.
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Among the Navy’s new additions would be the Littoral Combat Ship — a small, swift-moving surface vessel capable of operating in both blue water and the coastal shallows — a nuclear-powered guided-missile destroyer, a next-generation guided-missile cruiser, a new class of attack submarine, a new carrier with an electromagnetic aircraft launching system (replacing the steam-driven catapult system), and ultimately a new fleet of jets like the F-35 Lightning II (the carrier variant of the Joint Strike Fighter).
USS Zumwalt (DDG-1000).jpg
USS Zumwalt (DDG 1000)
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All of the newly developed ships and airplanes would have multi-roles, and would be able to go head-to-head with a wide range of conventional and unconventional threats. Problem is, developing new ships and weapons systems take time, are often technically problematic in the developmental stages, and increasingly hyper-expensive. Additionally, new ships and systems are being designed, developed, and built at the same time the Navy is having to spend money on manpower and costly, aging ships, aircraft, and weapons systems just to stay afloat and fighting.

single modified tactical Standard Missile-3 (SM-3) launches from the U.S. Navy AEGIS cruiser USS Lake Erie
This photo provided by the U.S. Navy shows an SM-3 missile being launched from the USS Lake Erie warship on Wednesday, Feb. 21, 2008. The Pentagon says the missile successfully intercepted a wayward U.S. spy satellite orbiting the earth at 17,000 miles per hour, about 133 nautical miles over the Pacific ocean. (AP Photo/US Navy)
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Of the proposed  $515 billion U.S. Defense budget for Fiscal Year 2009, the Navy is asking for $149.3 billion — 29 percent of the budget — which includes the Marine Corps’ piece of the pie (As its current recap/mod needs are similar to the Army’s, we will address Corps issues in our forthcoming piece on ground forces.), and that requested figure will almost certainly, and necessarily, increase over subsequent years.
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Nevertheless, experts contend we are kidding ourselves if we believe the Navy will crack the 300 mark under the current plan.

This picture released by the US Navy shows Fire Controlman 2nd ...
Our sailors make our Navy the most capable in the world. This picture released by the US Navy shows Fire Controlman 2nd Class John Whitby operating the radar system control during a ballistic missile defense drill on February 16 aboard the USS Lake Erie. The US warship is moving into position to try to shoot down a defunct US spy satellite as early as Wednesday before it tumbles into the Earth’s atmosphere, Pentagon officials said.
(AFP/US Navy-HO/Michael Hight)
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“This is the dirty secret inside the Beltway,” says Mackenzie Eaglen, a senior policy analyst with the Heritage Foundation. “If you crunch the actual shipbuilding numbers — year-to-year for the next 10 to 20 years — a 313-ship Navy is a pipe dream.”
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According to Eaglen, the budget requests for shipbuilding submitted to Congress between FY 03 and FY 07, averaged just over $9.5 billion per year. “What’s needed is at least $15 billion per year,” she says. “What’s worse is that I see Defense spending dropping.”
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Cynthia Brown, president of the American Shipbuilding Association, believes money slated for new ship construction needs to be at least $22 billion per year.
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“Of the proposed $149.3 billion, only $12 billion is slated for new ship construction in FY 09,” says Brown. “Since 2001, the Defense Department has increased its spending by 80.8 percent, excluding war supplementals, but shipbuilding has only increased 12.2 percent.”
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Costs of recapitalizing and modernizing our Navy will continue to rise, as will the conventional and unconventional threats our sailors must be trained and equipped to fight. And considering the make-up of Congress — and who may be moving into the White House in 2009 — the nation’s primary power-projection force may find it near impossible to avoid becoming, as Eaglen says, “a mere shadow of its former self.”

U.S. and China: Which Way?

August 23, 2007

Alvin Rabushka
The Washington Times
August 23, 2007

Current U.S. headlines about China trumpet dubious dog food and lead paint in toys. Too bad all that is burying another important story. China’s emergence as an economic power has set off alarms among national security and military experts in Washington, D.C., about China’s rapidly rising military expenditures, including the acquisition of world-class submarines, development of a blue-water navy, modern aircraft, satellite-launch and -destruction capability, a broad range of missiles, and a more professional army.

An immediate concern is Taiwan’s security, but the longer-term threat resides in China’s growing influence throughout Asia and its forays into Africa and Latin America in quest of natural resources. What, then, should U.S. policy be toward China?

Read the rest:
http://www.washingtontimes.com/article/20070823/
COMMENTARY/108230009/1012

Cold War Redux?

August 22, 2007

By John E. Carey
For The Washington Times
August 22, 2007
http://www.washingtontimes.com/
article/20070822/COMMENTARY/108220021

Russia watchers and military analysts say some of Russia’s recent military moves speak louder than the words of Russia’s leaders.

But the words of President Vladimir Putin of Russia and others at the top of the Russian hierarchy have sent an icy chill though relations between Russia, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and the U.S.

Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin
Владимир Владимирович Путин
Vladimir Putin

In just the last week:

–Russia reinstituted long range bomber surveillance patrols of U.S. vital areas including the military installation at Guam and our aircraft carriers at sea. These are the first routine bomber patrols since the Cold War.

–Russia announced an intention to again deploy Russian naval forces to the Mediterranean Sea. This activity also is a return to Cold War-like military deployments and operations. The head of the Russian Navy Admiral Vladimir Masorin said, “The Mediterranean is an important theater of operations for the Russian Black Sea Fleet. We must restore a permanent presence of the Russian Navy in this region.”

–Russia joined with China and several oil-rich Central Asian former Soviet Republics who are members of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), to conduct war game maneuvers.

For the first time ever, Russia hosted Chinese soldiers in peaceful yet provocative training exercised on Russian soil. The U.S. Embassies in Moscow and Beijing said the United States had requested participation in the events but were informed that any U.S. participation or observers would not be welcome.

–Finally, President Putin from Russia and President Hu Jintao of China participated in a multi-nation meeting of the SCO that included non-member luminaries such as Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Ahmadinejad took the opportunity to rant against the U.S. proposed deployment of missile defenses to Poland and the Czech Republic; a deployment also criticized by China and Russia. China and Russia have blocked attempts by the U.S., U.K. and France to sanction Iran in the U.N. for its nuclear program.

“Diplomacy between Russia and the West is increasingly being overshadowed by military gestures,” says Sergei Strokan, a foreign-policy expert with the independent daily Kommersant. “It’s clear that the Kremlin is listening more and more to the generals and giving them more of what they want.”

Said President Putin at the SCO’s largest annual gathering of regional leaders ever, “Year by year, the SCO is becoming a more substantial factor in ensuring security in the region,” he said. “Russia, like other SCO states, favors strengthening the multi-polar international system providing equal security and development potential for all countries. Any attempts to solve global and regional problems unilaterally have no future,” he added.

Ex-Soviet members of the SCO include Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, and Tajikistan.

For more than two years the SCO, prompted largely by Russia, has called for the withdrawal of U.S. troops from two member countries, Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan. Uzbekistan evicted American forces that were supporting American and NATO operations in Afghanistan, but Kyrgyzstan still hosts a U.S. base. Russia also maintains a military base in Kyrgyzstan.

Much of regional wrangling and politics in Central Asia relates to oil. Russia’s new hubris and military activity is funded by recent oil wealth. China has an agreement to buy Russian oil and during this last week the leaders of China and Kazakhstan agreed to finance and build a network of pipelines to supply China with oil and gas from the Caspian Sea region.

“The SCO clearly wants the US to leave Central Asia; that’s a basic political demand,” says Ivan Safranchuk, Moscow director of the independent World Security Institute. “That’s one reason why the SCO is holding military exercises, to demonstrate its capability to take responsibility for stability in Central Asia after the US leaves.”

Believing that the U.S. too greatly dominates the post-Cold War world, Russia and China agreed to for a “strategic partnership.” The creation of the SCO in 2001 is a key part of that relationship. But the outreach by Russia and China to leaders like Iran’s Ahmadinejad has caused western analysts to refer to the SCO as the “club of dictators” or “OPEC with nukes.”

Moreover, a year’s worth of bellicose rhetoric from Mr. Putin worries many western observers.

Last February at the Annual Munich Conference on Security Policy, President Putin called American foreign policy “ruinous” in a speech reporters called a “scathing attack.”Mr. Putin also said the United States was a reckless “unipolar” power. He accused United States of making the world more dangerous by pursuing policies that led to war, ruin and insecurity.

America’s new Secretary of Defense Robert Gates said in a follow-up to Mr. Putin’s speech, “As an old Cold Warrior, one of yesterday’s speeches almost filled me with nostalgia for a less complex time. Almost..” He added: “One Cold War was quite enough.”

At the end of July, the secretary-general of NATO, Mr. Jaap de Hoop Scheffer said, “Nobody wants a new Cold War, neither the Russians nor NATO, nobody.” He urged Russia to abandon its “confrontational” rhetoric and join the Western allies to combat the common threats of terrorism and failed states.

Judging by Russian activities last week, it is not clear that Mr. Putin is listening.

John E. Carey is former president of International Defense Consultants, Inc. and a frequent contributor to the Washington Times.

Vladimir Putin rearms his Cold War military

August 19, 2007

By By Gethin Chamberlain, Tim Shipman and Nick Holdsworth in Moscow
The Sunday Telegraph (UK)
August 19, 2007

In a hangar at an airfield 24 miles south east of Moscow, technicians were yesterday checking over the latest additions to the burgeoning military arsenal which a resurgent Russia hopes can restore its status as a major world power.

The MiG-35 and MiG-29 fighters which Russia plans to showcase at this week’s -Moscow international air show are just a small part of a £100 billion plan to return the Russian military to the heights of its Cold War might.

On Friday President Vladimir Putin caused consternation by announcing the resumption of regular, long-range nuclear bomber …

Read it all:
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2007/08/19/wputin119.xml