web analytics
January 28, 2015 / 8 Shevat, 5775
 
At a Glance
InDepth
Sponsored Post


Bayonets, Horses and Ships, Oh My

In 2010, the Navy could only fulfill 53% of the requirements for presence and missions levied by the combatant commanders. Cutting this Navy will reduce further its ability to fill war fighter requirements.
Picture_23030HR

There are so many ways to criticize President Obama’s now-infamous “horses and bayonets” comment from the foreign policy debate that one hardly knows where to start.  The snarky attitude alone is worth a column.  What is Obama, a blog troll?  If he has a case to make about having a smaller Navy, he could surely have made it without being snide, specious and condescending.

At any rate, there are the obvious points, such as the fact that the U.S. military still uses bayonets.  Some of the first U.S. military and intelligence personnel into Afghanistan operated in the prohibitive mountainous terrain on horseback.  Horse cavalry may be a thing of the (recent) past for classic battlefield engagements, but terrain and local living patterns are dictatorial when it comes to military operations.  For some applications, you need a horse.

The key question implied in all this is what kind of operation you envision, as you consider which military forces to develop and buy. (In August 2011, no one envisioned the U.S. military needing horses for special operations in Afghanistan.)

The president’s statements about our inventory of naval combat ships imply much the same question.  Obama’s statement suggests that aircraft carriers and submarines (“ships that go underwater”) have made the surface combatant – the cruiser, destroyer, and frigate – less necessary.  If we have only as many of them as we had in 1916, that’s not a problem, in Obama’s formulation, because technology changes.

U.S. Policy

But what is it we are trying to do with these naval forces?  Mitt Romney’s approach is to assume that we intend to exercise control of our ocean bastions – the Atlantic and Pacific – and effectively resume our position as the primary naval influence on the world’s strategic chokepoints: the approaches to Central America; the maritime space of Northwestern Europe; the Mediterranean; the chokepoint-belt from the Suez Canal to the Strait of Hormuz; and the Strait of Malacca and South China Sea.  Being well briefed, Romney no doubt has in mind as well the increasingly maritime confrontation space of the Arctic, where Russia and Canada are competing, but the U.S. – with our own Arctic claims – has in recent years been passive.

Romney thus sees the Navy as a core element of our enduring strategic posture.  For national defense and for the protection of trade, the United States has from the beginning sought to operate in freedom on the seas, and, where necessary, to exercise control of them.  We are a maritime nation, with extremely long, shipping-friendly coastlines in the temperate zone and an unprecedented control of the world’s most traveled oceans, the Atlantic and Pacific.

We have also chosen, since our irruption on the world geopolitical stage a century or so ago, to project power abroad as much as possible through expeditionary operations and offshore influence.  Indeed, seeking the most effective balance between stand-off approaches, temporary incursions, and boots-on-the-ground combat and occupation has been a perennial tension in our national politics and our concepts of war throughout the life of our Republic.  We have always naturally favored offshore influence and quick-resolution campaigns, from which we can extricate ourselves just as quickly.

The character of these preferences and military problems has changed with the passage of time – but in comparison to the United States in 1916, they are all bigger today, as well as faster-moving and more likely to be our problem than, say, Great Britain’s.

In the modern world, America’s favored posture requires the sea services: the Navy and Marine Corps.  It also requires the Air Force, in virtually any theater where we might operate.  That said, in the early days of Operation Enduring Freedom, the Navy was able to put strike-fighters into Afghanistan from carriers in the Arabian Sea, while the Air Force didn’t have a base close enough to get strike-fighters into the fight at the time.  That situation is rare, and was soon corrected, but it does highlight the point that the Navy can get tactical assets in, even where we have no bases close to the tactical battlespace.

For completeness, we should note that in addition to its greater depth of air assets, the Air Force can get long-range bombers into a fight anywhere from the continental United States.  For full effectiveness, that capability does depend on the ability to recover and refuel abroad (e.g., in Guam, Diego Garcia, the U.K.).  But the B-2 or B-52 strategic bomber brings a different order of combat power to a fight.  The differing capabilities of the Navy and Air Force are complementary, for the most part, rather than being in competition.

About the Author: J.E. Dyer is a retired US Naval intelligence officer who served around the world, afloat and ashore, from 1983 to 2004.


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

3 Responses to “Bayonets, Horses and Ships, Oh My”

  1. Harold Kimmel says:

    Romney speaks in meaningless platitudes to rally support. He wants your Social Security. He wants your Medicare. He wants to privatize everything to give your money to big firms on Wall Street and big insurance companies. He sits around and his advisors tell him to say; “Be strong on defense. It makes you look tough. People vote for tough.” Romney’s only agenda is to destroy the social safety net which has been in place since Franklin Delano Roosevelt and use that money to cut taxes on the wealthiest. It’s all a scam for the simple minded.

  2. Leon Pettyjohn says:

    Romney out of touch with the Matters of World affairs!

  3. Benjamin Istvan Cseko says:

    word

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
IDF soldiers evacuating wounded near northern border town of Ghajar.
Northern Golan Heights Declared Closed Military Zone
Latest Indepth Stories
Prophet Mohammed on Jan. 14, 2015 edition cover of  Charles Hebdo..

Many journalists are covertly blaming the Charlie Hebdo writers themselves through self-censorship.

New York Times

Why does the Times relay different motivations and narratives for jihadists in Europe and Israel?

syria_iran_map

To defeat parasites-the hosts of terrorists-we need to deny them new people, potential terrorists

game-figure-598036_1280-810x540

Combating Amalek doesn’t mean all who disagree with you is evil-rather whom to follow and to oppose

Desperate people take what they can, seizing opportunity to advance their main goal; the Arabs don’t

There was a glaring void in the President’s State of the Union speech: Israel.

Let’s focus not on becoming an ATM for that little bundle of joy, but on what you can save in taxes.

Since the passing of the Governance bill legislation on March 11, 2014, new alignments have become to appear in Israeli politics.

Israel has some wild places left; places to reflect and think, to get lost, to try to find ourselves

The British government assured Anglo-Jewry that it is attacking the rising levels of anti-Semitism.

Obama’s Syrian policy failures created the current situation in the Golan Heights.

Our journey begins by attempting to see things differently, only then can we be open to change.

Despite Western ‘Conventional Wisdom&PC,’ the Arab/Israeli conflict was never about the Palestinians

Confrontation & accountability, proven techniques, might also help dealing with religious terrorists

In fact, wherever you see soldiers in Paris today, you pretty much know you’re near Jewish site

Inspired by the Perek Shira pasuk for “small non-kosher animals” we named the bunny “Rebbetzin Tova”

More Articles from J. E. Dyer
Golan map

Obama’s Syrian policy failures created the current situation in the Golan Heights.

syria_iran_map

Remnants of Assad’s nuclear program are alive and well, under the control of Hezbollah and Iran

Under Obama, US foreign policy is losing sanity & common sense in diplomatic representation abroad

Obama obtained NO verifiable commitments from Cuba it would desist from acts prejudicial to the US

We would be fools to take seriously assurances from Joe Biden.

The White House wanted to defame Netanyahu, undermine his reputation, impugn him & his policies

{Originally posted on author’s site, Liberty Unyielding} Never let a crisis go to waste. That’s the mantra – and a new development in Britain demonstrates how the Western left lives by it, and contributes thereby to the destruction of Western culture. Alert readers will remember the so-called “Trojan Horse plot” in Birmingham, first reported in […]

It’s likely that some of the rebel factions, including US clients, have indeed made pacts with ISIS

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/analysis/j-e-dyer/bayonets-horses-and-ships-oh-my/2012/10/24/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: