by Senator Ryan Zinke, Chairman, Special Operations for America
The President’s acceptance of a diminished U.S. Navy during last night’s debate is deeply troubling. His condescending remarks suggesting that a reduced fleet can be compared to having fewer “horses and bayonets” demonstrates an unprecedented failure by the Commander-in-Chief to understand the basic role and mission of our Navy.
An essential role of our Navy is to ensure the freedom of the seas so that our commerce is protected. Fewer ships at sea means that America we will be unable to combat pirates, fight drug trafficking, and prevent contraband (including movement of weapons of mass destruction).
The Navy is also responsible to support our Marines should we need to land on foreign shores. Fewer ships to support the difficult mission of expeditionary warfare means greater risk of failure.
As the President so carefully pointed out that “we have carriers that have airplanes,” he also failed to mention that our Russian “friends” are selling radar systems that are capable of detecting even our newest stealth aircraft. A carrier battle group capable of projecting power in the future will need new technology to include unmanned aircraft and integrated defense systems.
Governor Romney was correct. Diminishing our fleet strength to WWI levels will have serious consequences and deserves more than the President’s dismissive rhetoric.