Going Down With the Ships

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From the Washington Post:

By Craig Hooper
Monday, March 5, 2007; Page A15

Over the past six years, 79 condemned Navy ships have been towed out to sea and destroyed by Air Force bombs, submarine-launched torpedoes or hails of gunfire. These exercises, long considered the most cost-effective way to dispose of unwanted naval vessels, have eaten away at America's inventory of still-useful retired warships. Soon every vessel capable of serving in America's reserve combat fleet could vanish, leaving an overextended Navy with no viable backup forces. This unwise drawdown goes against Navy tradition.

As the Navy budget, already under pressure because of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, is hoarded for new shipbuilding initiatives, the inactive reserve, an emergency fleet of second-string warships, is quietly becoming a sham.

Denied maintenance funding and protected only from "fire, flooding and pilferage," decommissioned warships are quickly deteriorating past any hope of recall. The aircraft carrier USS Constellation, "mothballed" in 2003, went from the battle fleet to designation for the artificial-reef donation program in a mere three years.
For the rest of this editorial, go to http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/03/04/AR2007030401049.html

Comment: He's got a point. I don't think he appriciates just how much time it takes to bring a ship back to full active status from mothballs or the problems of block obsolesence which condemned some of these vessels to the boneyards before their time, and some of his history is a tad inaccurate, but he does have a point.
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