Navy Not 'Correctly Balanced' For Future, Clark Says
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The Chief of U.S. Naval Operations, Adm. Vern Clark, said Jan. 11 that the Navy is not "correctly balanced and optimized for the world of the future," and that it faces a three-decade-long effort to fully reform its forces to accommodate national security needs such as anti-terrorism and homeland security. Reiterating his call for a "new strategic construct" for the Navy, Clark said the days of major naval engagements are past - at least for now - and that concerns such as missile defense and close-shore operations are driving structural changes in Navy force sets. "Building a force set that is designed only to deal with ... major combat operations ... is the incorrect approach," he said in the keynote address to the Surface Navy Association's national symposium in Arlington, Va. *** Where once he believed the country should work toward 375 Navy ships, new methods and technologies such as "sea swapping" crews among ships at sea have led Clark to re-evaluate even that number. "We're not walking around with our heads in the sands," he said.How can we possibly know what the threat will be in 30 years? And it will take that long just to fix the force for the current mission? Perhaps some effort should be spent on fixing the ways that we fix the force. Ships and subs are capital-intensive and all, but 30 years? Wow.