Photo Credit: Navy Petty Officer 1st Class Fred Gray
The USS Carney operates off the shore of Yemen, battling the Houthis.

Secretary of the Navy Carlos Del Toro on Tuesday told the Senate Appropriations Committee that when the US intervened to aid Israel in repelling more than 300 missiles and drones launched from Iran, the Navy was firing Standard Missile 3s, each costing up to $9 million.


Del Toro noted that the US Navy has been fighting the Iranian-backed Houthis for months, having arrived on the scene after the Yemenite rebels began attacking commercial vessels on the high seas last November. The Navy sailors who were deployed to the Red Sea and the Middle East have been doing their job “extraordinarily well,” according to the Secretary, but Congress must pass a supplemental bill to pay for replenishing those expensive munitions.

“We are now closely approaching a billion dollars in expenditures of munitions,” Del Toro told the appropriations committee. “We need this supplemental to pass this week.”

According to Del Toro, the Navy fires Standard Missile 2s and Standard Missile 6s against the Houthis, which are less costly than the $9 million 3s – they each cost a little more than $2 million.

A bargain. Although the Houthi drones carrying explosive charges that have changed international commerce – ships are now avoiding the southern Arabian Peninsula altogether – those drones cost between $200 and $10,000.

A more economical (and may I say, less insane) solution would have been to carpet bomb the Houthis off the face of the Earth at a reasonable cost, considering it’s a one-time deal.

Del Toro tweeted after his committee appearance: “Those who question why the American taxpayer should provide for and maintain a Navy and Marine Corps, look at what is happening today in the Middle East, where we are defending the free flow of international commerce and actively defending our international allies and partners.”

Clearly, the honorable Secretary does not understand the problem. No one is asking why the US should have a Navy and a Marine Corps. The question is why should it cost between $2 and $9 million to destroy a Houthi drone, or an Iranian drone, when you could destroy all the Houthis and numerous Iranians for so much less.


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