Monday, September 28, 2009

Congressmen ask Gates to keep 11 carriers

In the grand scheme of things, namely trying to avoid an East Coast/Atlantic Fleet version of Pearl Harbor, would it be so terrible to move one of the Norfolk air craft carriers to Florida? "The Hampton Roads congressional delegation is uniting to press Secretary of Defense Robert Gates to avoid cuts to the number of aircraft carriers in the naval fleet."

'[Rep. Rob Wittman, R-Westmoreland] said: "Our current carrier structure allows us the agility to maintain a worldwide presence and react efficiently to threats as they develop. Further reductions in carriers would hinder our reaction speed and place an increased burden on our sailors and marines around the globe."'

Just from a security standpoint as the average Hampton Roads resident, I can't believe that our worldwide presence by the U.S. Navy would be damaged or hampered by moving ONE carrier. Again, for me, it just goes back to the "what if" idea of a terrorist attack here on our bases. We do not need all the carriers on the East Coast here in one area. That strikes me as unsafe for the Navy. Instead of looking at the situation as losing a carrier, we should look at it as ensuring the safety of the fleet by providing a backup carrier in Florida.

And yes, it would be a temporary burden on the families of the carrier chosen to go to Florida, but aside from the safety aspect, I think it would benefit the region in a number of ways. By having families leaving the area, it would free up jobs in the communities for other civilians, both on base and in the surrounding areas. By opening up those jobs to new employees, it could help stimulate the local economy.

On the downside, apartments and houses could be left empty when the renters and owners leave. We already have a number of houses up for sale and rent in our neighborhood. Right now, the economy isn't great for home sellers.

"In the letter, the group applauds Gates for proposing to keep the mandatory level at 11 through 2040 in April and urges him not to waver from that stance."

I've heard that for Florida to take on a carrier, they need to build a nuke-ready pier for the ship first, and that it would cost in the millions, at a time when the military is already stretched thin. That shouldn't matter, because even if Norfolk keeps all it's carriers until 2040, this issue will resurface. I truly believe that Norfolk will pass a carrier along to Florida at some point.

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