Posted by lex, on February 2, 2007
Here’s an interesting analysis piece from Oz, reflecting on China’s emergence on the world stage. A bit that particularly caught my eye:
The United States Navy has, as best we can determined, contracted from a “goal” during the Ronald Reagan years of 600 ships to about 276 ships now. Every unplanned deployment of Aircraft Carrier Battle Groups or Marine Corps Amphibious Groups exacerbates the “strain” on a service which would have a key role on the vast expanses of the Pacific Ocean should any major Asian crisis come to the edge of hostilities.
When the President made the decision to send an additional Aircraft Carrier Battle Group to the vicinity of the Persian Gulf and North Arabian Sea recently, many writers questioned how the US would account for the loss of that firepower near Japan and Korea or in the event of a crisis near Taiwan.
There are only 12 US Navy aircraft carriers. Typically, four may be engaged in overseas operations or deployments, four are preparing and training for future action and three or four have recently returned from six-months of at sea operations and are in some form of maintenance. One or more may be in an extended overhaul and unavailable for service.
With two aircraft carriers in the vicinity of the Persian Gulf and North Arabian Sea that only leaves one in the entire Pacific Ocean and one covering the Atlantic/Mediterranean operating areas.
China sees this and asks itself: “If we ever need to take back Taiwan by force, we might best do this when the US Navy Aircraft carriers are days or weeks away.”
We didn’t make this question up. It was a gift to us from a Chinese People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) Admiral.