Forward, Engaged, Ready
Those are the three words emblazoned on the front of the Navy’s guiding document, “A Cooperative Strategy for 21st Century Seapower”. I don’t know if those words are intended as a slogan or motto or guideline or whatever. Regardless, they’re not bad words to live by if you’re a warfighting organization. I can think of better words but they’re not bad.
However, are they true?
Are we forward deployed as a Navy? Well, we’ve idled many of our ships. Most of our carriers are idled along with their air wings. We now generally only have a single carrier group and one or two MEUs deployed at a time. Ship deployments are being cancelled. That hardly adds up to a robust forward presence. I’d say that one is not true.
Are we engaged? I’m not quite sure what that refers to but we’re not engaging the Chinese in an aggressive campaign of counter-encroachment. We’re not engaging the Russians in any way shape or form. We’re not supporting the
against the Chinese in any substantive manner. We’re not engaging Philippines . We’re not engaging Iran N. Korea. I’d say that one is not true.
Are we ready? Ships and air wings are sitting idled. Air wings are barely flying enough hours to stay flight qualified. We have a backlog of around a hundred Hornets lying in wait for depot maintenance. Our ships have failed so many INSURV inspections that the results have been classified and the inspections have been reduced to advisory exercises. Our Aegis systems are degraded fleetwide. Ships are exiting drydock periods with significant amounts of incomplete maintenance. New ships are being accepted with significant amounts of incomplete work. Our main anti-ship weapon, Harpoon, has exceeded its shelf life and remaining functional weapons are being rationed out to deployed ships. I’d say that one is not true.
Forward, Engaged, Ready? More accurately,
Absent, Idle, Hollow