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The Navy wants to ditch an aircraft carrier to buy new weapons for a next-level fight with China
The U.S. Navy plans to retire one of its aircraft carriers decades early, a highly controversial move to free up funds for the new weapons needed to fight a powerful adversary.
"We made the difficult decision to retire CVN 75 (USS Harry S. Truman) in lieu of its previously funded refueling complex overhaul that was scheduled to occur in FY 2024," the Navy said in an overview of the fiscal year 2020 budget released Tuesday, referring to the refueling the carrier with new reactor cores.
The purpose is to free up funding for new weapons that are more likely to survive were the U.S. to go to war with China, a senior defense official told Breaking Defense, which first broke the story about the Pentagon's plans to mothball the Truman.
The decision to retire the Truman decades early, which reportedly came from Acting Secretary of Defense Pat Shanahan, "is in concert with the Defense Department's commitment to proactively pursue diversified investments in next-generation, advanced, and distributed capabilities," the Navy said, noting it would be looking into both manned and unmanned systems.
"This approach pursues a balance of high-end, survivable manned platforms with a greater number of complementary, more affordable, potentially more cost-imposing, and attritable options," the service added.
Nonetheless, the Navy still intends to move forward with its planned purchase of two more Ford-class aircraft carriers.
USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75) departed Naval Station Norfolk, Monday, in support of maritime security operations and theater security cooperation efforts in U.S. 5th and 6th fleets(U.S. Navy photo)
While aircraft carriers have long been beacons of American military might, they are becoming increasingly vulnerable. Carriers remain difficult to kill, but near-peer adversaries are developing weapons capable of knocking them out of the fight at long range.
Naval experts say that U.S. carriers now need to operate at least 1,000 nautical miles from the Chinese mainland to keep out of range of China's precision anti-ship missiles, according to USNI News. That puts carrier-based fighters out of range for attacks on mainland command and control centers.
The U.S. Navy is turning its attention away from traditional capabilities to robotic vessels, such as unmanned scout ships to conduct surveillance and draw enemy fire and unmanned missile boats to fire on targets identified by the robotic scout vessels, Breaking Defense reported.
The loss of an unmanned platform is nothing compared to damage to a Nimitz-class supercarrier loaded with bombs, an air wing of about 60 aircraft, two nuclear reactors — and roughly 5,000 sailors on board.
The entire U.S. military is investing more heavily in long-range, precision fires — missiles and artillery — to punch holes in contested battlespaces.
Commenting on the Department of Defense's proposed $718 budget for fiscal year 2020, Shanahan stated that "this budget will strongly position the U.S. military for great power competition for decades to come." The budget is expected to face pushback from Congress.
After all, there is a strong possibility the USS Harry S. Truman, like the USS George Washington before it, is a bargaining chip in the Defense Department's effort to secure additional funding from Congress.
Read more from Business Insider:
- U.S. aircraft carrier fleet set to shrink as Pentagon reportedly decides to retire USS Truman 2 decades early
- The Pentagon wants to retire an aircraft carrier decades early, but Congress says that's not going to happen
- The U.S. Army wants a powerful cannon that can hit Chinese warships in the South China Sea from 1,000 miles away
- The U.S. has been getting 'its ass handed to it' in war games simulating fights against Russia and China
- U.S. aircraft carriers are the world's most powerful ships and are nearly impossible to kill — here's why
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The United States sent Navy and Coast Guard ships through the Taiwan Strait on Sunday, the military said, as the United States increases the frequency of movement through the strategic waterway despite opposition from China.
The voyage risks further raising tensions with China but will likely be viewed by self-ruled Taiwan as a sign of support from Washington amid growing friction between Taipei and Beijing.
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Special Counsel Robert Mueller's report on Russian meddling in the 2016 election did not find that any U.S. or Trump campaign officials knowingly conspired with Russia, according to details released on Sunday.
Attorney General William Barr sent a summary of conclusions from the report to congressional leaders and the media on Sunday afternoon. Mueller concluded his investigation on Friday after nearly two years, turning in a report to the top U.S. law enforcement officer.
Read Barr's letter to congressional leaders below:
This is a developing story and will be updated with new information as it becomes available.
The Department of Defense on Saturday identified the two soldiers who were killed in Afghanistan's Kunduz Province on Friday as an explosive ordnance disposal tech and a Green Beret.
CARACAS (Reuters) - Two Russian air force planes landed in Venezuela's main airport on Saturday carrying a Russian defense official and nearly 100 troops, according to a local journalist, amid strengthening ties between Caracas and Moscow.
A flight-tracking website showed that two planes left from a Russian military airport bound for Caracas on Friday, and another flight-tracking site showed that one plane left Caracas on Sunday.
If the Marine Corps is serious about getting ready to take on a near-peer enemy like China in the future, then it's time to fold its 13-year-old special operations command and apply those resources elsewhere.
At least that's the argument one retired Marine officer made this week while presenting ways the service can better prepare for large-scale naval operations – and it's causing quite a stir in the Marine Corps special operations community.