I know many of you are waiting for my deep analysis of the Nokia Lumia Relaunch and how badly will the Windows Phone 8 do in the year(s) to come. I'm working on it, but it is so demoralizing now to even analyze the corpse that is Nokia in smartphones today. So, this is a little diversion for me, today. I thought about this blog for more than a week and debated should I write it or not. And decided, I'll never get another excuse to write a love-letter to the Aircraft Carrier on this blog under any other pretext, so here goes. Whats with Romney and Ryan talking about INCREASING the size of the US military and listing for example their desire to make the US Navy bigger. Bigger? Lets talk Flat Tops. Lets Talk Carriers. Aircraft Carriers.
This is Boxer. USS Boxer is a Wasp class "amphibious assault ship" identified also by her navy ship code LHD-4. She has a displacement of 40,700 tons, and is used by the US Marines. It has the capacity to carry 42 aircraft, from helicopters to the Harrier jump jet, to the exotic new V-22 Osprey hybrid airplane halfway between a helicopter and a traditional cargo plane with those huge tilting rotors that switch to become propellers in level flight.. Boxer is just one of many US Navy visitors to Hong Kong, I took this picture when she visited us in 2011.
So whats with aircraft carriers then? I love aircraft carriers. I come from Finland, we never had any of those ships, our navy never had that kind of capacity. But I always thought they were elegant beautiful warships, the flat-tops, I built many of them as model kits as a kid (my fleet proudly sailed five carriers: Enterprise, Forrestal, Ark Royal, Hornet and Victorius - in scale model plastic obviously, all with their teeny-weeny airplanes too).
HOW CARRIERS TOOK OVER
Aircraft carriers are the rulers of the waves, the ultimate power-projection platforms and ever since World War 2, aircraft carriers have established themselves as the masters of the seas. The previous top dog was the battleship, for centures. But in World War 2, Japanese aircraft carriers famously attacked Pearl Harbor. The attack came from six aircraft carriers (Akagi, Kaga, Soryu, Hiryu, Shokaku and Zuikaku) that launched 414 aircraft and they sunk 4 US battleships (Arizona, Oklahoma, California, West Virginia) damaging 4 others. What many don't know, is that the attack on Pearl Harbor by Japanese admiral Yamamoto was actually a copy of a previous WW2 attack by aicraft carriers to a harbor, the British Royal Navy attacked the Italian fleet at its base in Taranto. One British aircraft carrier alone, the Illustrious, sent 21 torpedo bomber aircraft to attackthe Italian naval base and destroyed one battleship, the Conte di Cavour and damaged two others.
Everywhere the battleship met aircraft (usually from carriers) they lost out. The biggest German Battleship, the Bismark was not sunk by an attack from an aircraft carrier, but torpedo bombers form the carrier Ark Royal did disable the Bismark which later was attacked and sunk by British battleships. Her sister ship, the Tirpitz was sunk by land-based bombers of the Royal Air Force. And the British suffered this same fate too. The Germans never got their one aircraft carrier to sea, but the Japanese had plenty. The British battleship HMS Prince of Wales was sunk by Japanese navy planes (but operating not from carriers, but from airfields at land) as she steamed towards Singapore. And then the mightiest of the mighty. The two battleships that were 50% bigger than the next biggest battleships ever built. The superduper battleships of the Japanese Imperial Navy, the Yamato class. Yamato and Musashi. The ships with the thickest armor ever made and biggest naval guns ever produced. Both met attacks by airplanes from US aircraft carriers, Musashi took part in the Battle of Leyte Gulf and met 19 torpedo hits and 17 direct bomb hits by US planes from the carriers Intrepid, Cabot, Essex, Lexington, Enterprise and Franklin, and sunk. Yamato also took part in that battle but escaped. She met her end facing off against 8 carriers (Hornet, Bennington, Belleau Wood, San Jacinto, Essex, Bunker Hill, Hancock and Bataan) and was the center of the attack by 400 US planes. She took at least 9 torpedo hits and at least 16 direct bomb hits, and was sunk. In the naval battles of the previous boss of bosses, the battleship, and the new prince, the aircraft carrier, the carriers never lost once. The only times carriers lost in World War 2, were to aircraft attacking from other carriers or to stealthy attacks under water by submarines. At the start of WW2, all major navies were building more battleships. At the end of the war, the major navies had stopped building battleships and were even converting some partially-finished battleships into aircraft carriers instead. The carrier had taken over.
Why this history? So we understand, today, the aircraft carrier stands alone as the absolute queen of the oceans. The aircraft carrier is the flagship of any major navy and you really don't have a major navy if you don't have an aircraft carrier. Carriers are what helped the US bring the heavy air power to the battle in Vietnam, what the British used to take over the islands of the Falklands from the Argentinian invasion, what the US and British used to establish a no-fly zone over Iraq after the first Iraq war, and what the French used to establish the no-fly zone above Libya just now with the Arab Spring. The aircraft carrier is the floating military airport that can be hidden anywhere in the ocean. It is a monster of a ship, a floating city, the biggest ones are nuclear powered and can operate as many as 90 combat aircraft - yes, the combat power of one aircraft carrier is bigger than the total air force of such countries as Belgium or Finland or Venezuela or Indonesia or Mexico or Netherlands or Malaysia or Colombia or Norway or Chile etc. One ship, more warplanes than the total air force of a significant-sized country. Yes, they truly rule the seas.
TYPES OF CARRIERS
Ok. Lets talk carriers then. First, there are two types of carriers in an absolute sense of cost and scale. First there are supercarriers that are nuclear-powered, and then there are the rest. Very few warships are built with nuclear power (essentially only a few giant carriers and some submarines) but this means they don't have to stop to be refuelled and can travel for years at top speed without ever worrying about an oil crisis.. Two countries operate nuclear powered carriers, the USA and France. All other carriers are conventionally powered and significantly cheaper.
Then there are three types of carriers by what kind of aircraft they support. The traditional pure 'real' big aircraft carrier operates 'fixed wing aircraft' and used catapults to send them to the air, and catches them with arrester wires when they land (even at over 330 meters in length / 1,000 feet in length - the aircraft carrier deck is 'too short' as an airport runway to let the jet aircraft take off conventionally, by running down the runway - they would just drop into the sea - so the modern big jet fighter-bomber that can easily weigh more than 25 tons - has to be tossed off the side of the carrier by catapult, to achieve about 150 mph / 250 km/h speed in an instant, to start 'to fly' and then its own jets will take over..). Yes. Modern twin-jet supersonic fighter planes like the F-18 Hornet. Thrown off the plane by catapult, and then, again the runway is too short, to catch it, there is an 'arrester wire' (ie think of it like a rubber band across the runway). A hook at the end of the plane will catch the wire, and jerk the fast-moving jet to a standstill. That is one type of aircraft carrier, the conventional 'big' aircraft carrier type. One which can operate essentially all types of naval aircraft.
A second, usually far smaller carrier type is the helicopter carrier or 'Harrier carrier' which does not have catapults or arrester wires, and does not operate traditional fixed wing aircraft. That type of carrier - like USS Boxer in my picture in the above, operates aircraft that can take off vertically - ie helicopters and some specialized aircraft that can take off without a runway. Like the Harrier jump-jet or the V22 Osprey or the soon-to-enter service F-35 Lighting 2. And since I happen to have a picture of a Harrier parked on that Boxer, lets show you what I mean. This is the jump jet that the British used so successfully to defeat the Argentinian Air Force in the Falklands War, and which the US Marines use to support their combat missions.
Anyway, yes, the Harrier is a good combat jet plane, but it is complex and costly, and it sacrifices performance for the ability to hover and take off and land without a runway. It is relatively small, a single-seater plane, and has a small payload (not many bombs, missiles, rockets etc) and has a shorter range and not a high top speed than aircraft of its age that take off conventionally. The Harrier is not a supersonic jet fighter, it cannot fly faster than the speed of sound, where most of its peers can fly at twice the speed of sound - a big advantage in combat if you want to catch the other guy - or run away if he turns out to be too strong.
A helicopter carrier or Harrier carrier is typically far smaller in size and is less complex to operate than a traditional big fleet carrier. The aircraft are also lighter and smaller, so the aircraft hangar (a deck below the runway deck, is the parking garage for the warplanes, they get up and down via elevators) can be also smaller in size and not as tall, all this helps keep the size of the giant steel ship a lot smaller than traditional fixed-wing operating aircraft carriers.
There is a new mid-range type of carrier as a kind of hybrid. The British invented the ski-jump feature to the carrier (like they invented the catapult too) when they operated their Harrier carriers and wanted to enable the Harriers to take off by flying forward rather than taking off vertically. The Harrier is a plane that can take off at very short distances in conventional take-off mode. Even then, the British Harrier Carriers were too short, so they decided to give a ski-jump feature to the front of the carrier deck - and that was enough to let the Harrier get airborne - the benefits here were far less fuel used to take off, and better ability to carry a weapons load. What the Soviets discovered, was that they could have a plane, not designed at all to be intended to take off vertically, but with a big enough wing and strong enough jet engine acceleration, and the ski-jump, they could build a carrier with the ski jump feature and some light fighter planes that could be operated from it, in addition to helicopters. That is the design feature of the Admiral Kuznetsov class of carrier. The Kuznetsov is used by the Russian navy of today, her only sister ship, the unfinished Varyag, was sold to China, which then redesigned her to considerable degree and finished the ship which now is becoming operational as the Liaoning. She too has the distinctive ski-jump carrier deck. The Russian Kuznetsov operates two fixed wing aircraft off the ski-jump, the Sukhoi SU 33 fighter and the Sukhoi SU 25 attack aircraft. The other planes on the Kuznetsov are helicopters. The Chinese so far have not put aircraft on their brand new carrier which only recently went to sea trials.
So, we have 'real' carriers that have catapults and arrester wires, that can operate big jets. We have the mid-size carriers with the ski-jump which can operate light jets that are specially designed to take off on very short runways. And we have the helicopter carriers which can also operate Harriers or equivalent vertically-take-off aircraft. All of these also can operate helicopters of course. Who has what kind of carriers then? The US has the big kind (and the helicopter carriers too). Who else operates carriers that have real catapults and arrester wires? The French and the Brazilians. Thats it. If you want a real war with a real rival and want to face off navy against navy, and one guy shows up with a big real carrier, you can't send your fleet in with some helicopters and hope to win. Only three navies have 'real' carriers in a traditional sense. If you want to be generous, and count those light jets of the ski-jump carriers too, then yes, Russia and China also have carriers that can fly supersonic modern jets from their carriers. The other navies have big flat tops, which are only helicopter carriers with some Harriers perhaps operating on them too.
LETS TALK NUMBERS
Ok, the definitions are now out of the way. Romney is saying that the USA is in need of a bigger navy and one of his answers is to build more carriers. Ok. Lets take a count. The world has 10 navies that operate aircraft carriers. The USA has 11 big supercarriers (catapults, arrester wires, supersonic jets). How many carriers do the other 9 navies have? 11 carriers. Wot? Yes. The the rest of the world all navies combined, do not exceed the number of carriers that the US Navy operates today. The US Navy has 11 supercarriers. The navies that operate more than one carrier are two - Spain and Italy - which are both Nato allies of the USA, so they are most unlikely to start to wage war against the USA under any circumstances. And how many carriers do they have? Two each. All other 7 navies with aircraft carriers have only one carrier in operation today, each. UK and France, one each. Hey, thats two more Nato allies! Yes, of the 11 carriers in use by navies other than the USA, SIX are operated by NATO alllies!!! Only five carriers are on navies that are not either US or its Nato allies. And one of those is Thailand, a close ally. Brazil a friend, India not an enemy by any means and an English-speaking democracy. So what do we have left. Out of all carriers not operated by US, its allies and friends, we are left with two. One carrier each with Russia and China, the only two nations operating aircraft carriers today, that could conceivably be seen as an enemy in the future in some conflict.
WAIT WAIT WAIT, WHAT OF THE SIZE?
Yes, I know, I cheated. What really matters is not the number of carriers as such, but the true naval power of a fleet air arm, is the number of aircraft you can carry on your carriers. Lets revisit that equation. The US supercarriers are 11 in number, the rest of the world has 11 carriers. How many aircraft are on those carriers? Well, a typical US Nimitz class nuclear powered supercarrier has an active air wing of about 75 combat aircraft, but the full capacity of the carrier is 90 combat aircraft. So in wartime, if need be, that is the number of warplanes you can park on the carrier, and arm, and refuel, and fly to combat. So the 11 US carriers in total have a capacity to operate an air force of 990 combat aircraft. (For context, this is not the total US Navy airpower, they have more planes in storage and on reserve, based on land, but compare, the US Navy aircraft carrier current capacity alone, would be the world's fourth largest air force, behind only the US Air Force, Russia, China and ahead of the total air forces of India and as big as the air forces of France, England and Germany - combined. Yes, the US Navy could alone wage a 'Battle of Britain' today, and defeat the combined air forces of Germany, UK and France... Just with those aircraft the US Navy parks on its supercarriers, ignoring all other jets it has in store at bases back home)
Score? US Navy supercarriers 990. All rest of world 11 carriers ... (how many?) ... (hold on, am counting) ... (how many) ... (tension building) ... (this is not going to be good) ... 356.
That is no misprint. The next biggest carriers in use in the world, after the US supercarriers, are the Chinese and Russian Kuznetsov class which only can operate between 52 and 54 combat aircraft. And those are the next biggest. Then the French, Charles de Gaulle can operate 40 aircraft. The Brazilian carrier Sao Paulo can operate 39. The India fleet carrier Viraat can operate 30. The Spanish fleet carrier Juan Carlos can operate 30. The Spanish Principe de Asturias 29. Thai navy Chakri Naruebet 24, the Royal Navy ie UK Illustrious 22, the Italian navy Cavour 20 and the other Italian carrier Guiseppe Garibaldi can operate 16 aircraft. The US navy supercarriers can operate 990 aircraft, the carriers of the rest of the world can operate barely over a third that amount, at 356 aircraft. Where is the USA 'falling behind' in any naval races, in particular, as more than half of those rest-of-world carriers are with Nato forces?
DONT MESS WITH THE MARINES
So who is the biggest threat to the US Navy's carrier power? I have deliberately talked about the US supercarriers so far, like the Nimitz class. Like this little boat that visited us in Hong Kong. This is Ronnie, back in 2010, with the view from my balcony to the extreme West, you can just see the distinctive aircraft carrier outline behind the destroyer in the foreground.
So yea, Ronnie, Ronald S Reagan, the nuclear powered Nimitz class supercarrier visited Hong Kong harbor a while back and I took that fuzzy picture from my balcony. The Reagan displaces 101,000 tons ie she is almost 50% bigger as a warship than the Yamato and Musashi the biggest battleships ever built. She is so humongous, she is twice the size of those Russian and Chinese carriers with the ski-jumps. The US navy operates 10 of these behemoths (Nimitz, Dwight Eisenhower, Carl Vinson, Theodore Roosevelt, Abraham Lincoln, George Washington, John Stennis, Harry Truman, Ronald Reagan and George Bush), by far the biggest warships ever made. The cost of one is a whopping 14 Billion dollars, and that only gets you the boat, then you have to spend about 6 Billion more for the airplanes and another about 5 Billion extra just for the escort/support ships that must travel with teh carrier - as she is defenseless against enemy boats, ships, submarines, etc. Aircraft carriers don't have guns like traditional warships to shoot at other ships, so she needs defenders to do that for her.
The 11th American carrier is slightly smaller, also a nuclear powered vessel, the Enterprise, which only displaces 93,500 tons haha. The Enterprise is about as long as the Empire State building is tall. But that size doesn't diminish her capacity, the Enterprise too can carry 90 combat aircraft. So yeah, the only other nuclear-powered carrier? The French Charles de Gaulle, is only 42,000 tons in size (less than half) and carries 40 aircraft (also less than half). That is the pride of the French fleet and also, incidentially, the biggest carrier of the whole Nato fleet of six carriers. Who is winning in this race. But yes, lets be provocative. Lets pretend the US navy is going to be attacked by some lunatic. Who is the biggest threat, if we count carriers?
Not the Spanish or Italians. Not the Russians or Chinese. Not the Brazilians or Indians or Thai. The second biggest operator of aircraft carriers after the US navy is... the US MARINES !!! Look at that Boxer I showed you in the above. Or wait, let me show you a side view. Don't tell me this is not an aircraft carrier!
Yes, thats the Wasp class 'Assault ship' haha. The Marines don't want their carriers to be called aircraft carriers, for fear some accountant in Congress thinks 20 carriers is too many for America, when the rest of the world only has 11, and might start to cut down some. The Marines want to have their own toys. They need their own toys. And yes... the US Marines have 9 - nine - NINE - count them nine - more of these mothers!
Yes, in all but four navies of the world's countries, this would be their biggest warship. In six of the ten navies with carriers, this would be their biggest carrier. In the USA, there are so many big carriers, these are not even classified as carriers, to try to hide them from Congressional beancounters. The Wasp Class is 41,000 tons of steel, carries up to 42 combat aircraft but has no catapult or ski-jump, so it would be classified as a helicopter carrier or Harrier Carrier. The US Navy/Marines have 8 of the Wasp class (Wasp, Essex, Kearsage, Boxer, Bataan, Bonhomme Richard, Iwo Jima, Makin Island) and one slightly larger but older one of the Tarawa class (Peleliu) which can only carry 26 combat aircraft as a helicopter carrier/Harrier Carrier.
So lets do the risk again? The US Navy supercarriers are 11 in number and can carry 990 combat aircraft. The US Marines, if the suddenly rebelled, have their own carrier force of 9 carriers that can carry 362 combat aircraft. And the rest of the world has 11 carriers which only can do 356 aircraft (and half of those are our Nato allies). Hello? What part of Romney's brain is fried? Does Mr Business-man not understand basic math. So, if by some weird Republican magical foreign politics, the world all allied against the USA, even the best allies turned against them, and all those navies got together and decided to attack the USA, the US Navy? Could take a vacation. And send in the marines. The naval arm of the marines and these helicopter carriers alone would exceed the total capacity of the rest of the world's aircraft carriers, combined.
The US naval aviation power outnumbers the rest of the world in actual aircraft carrier warships nearly 2 to 1, and in actual combat aircraft by almost 4 to 1. And this is before we consider the combat ability of the aircraft (the US navy has the most expensive, most capable combat aircraft of any navy ever.. so lets not even go there. If we compare the combat ability of Brazil's Sao Paulo (ex French carrier Foch) which has 22 jets and 17 helicopters, those jets are A4 Skyhawks. Nice planes that first flew in.. 1954. Yes over 50 year old planes, gosh, soon 60 year old planes. The US navy replaced the A4 Skyhawk with the A6 Intruder in the 1970s - which itself has already been replaced! by the FA-18 SuperHornet. The A4 is a nice attack plane of Korean War and Vietnam War vintage. Its not supersonic and it is by no means a fighter-jet. These are strictly attack/bomber planes. If they met a US carrier with FA-18 SuperHornets in combat, the US fighter jets would see the Brazilian jets on their radars far away, and use their AMRAAM missiles to shoot all of the A4s out of the sky at ranges of 60 miles / 100 kilometers easily. Yes. That is way WAY further than the eye can see. The Brazilian jets would not see the death coming. This is no contest.
FOR THE MAN WITH THE ELEVATOR FOR HIS CARS
Ok. So lets pretend the Marines did not actually declare war on the US Navy. Lets say the US Marines just stay neutral. What is the next biggest floating threat to the US Navy's carrier power? Would you believe, abandoned US Navy supercarriers? When all other navies are desperate to build one, just one new carrier and struggle with their national budgets whether they can afford it, like the UK right now, the US has such a rich past in carriers it has built and operated - more than half of all carriers ever built were for the US navy - there are currently seven - yes seven - supercarriers that the USA has recently operated, that it has since taken out of commission, but has parked around various shipyards, trying to think of what to do with them. Yes its true. There are three Kitty Hawk class supercarriers of 81,000 tons (capable of operating 90 aircraft) ie Kitty Hawk, Constellation and John F Kennedy. And there are four older somewhat smaller Forrestal class supercarriers - still at 60,000 tons bigger than any carrier any other navy has ever built (capable of operating 80 modern combat aircraft) ie Independence, Ranger, Saratoga and Forrestal. All these saw action in Vietnam and most in actions since such as the Balkan wars, first Iraq war etc. Kitty Hawk was still operational just three years ago in 2009. The oldest of this set, Forrestal and Ranger were decommissioned only in 1993. These were all carriers that had flown the F18 Hornet for example, the current US Navy main fighter jet. They are not obsolete, they were just parts of cuts from Reagan's idea of the wild 600 ship navy of the 1980s, the last time the US navy madly expanded itself (And even took four old WW2 battleships out of mothballs and for a while back into commission)
So. Did you get my point? The USA is so rich with old carriers, it has seven carriers, each bigger than anything any other navy has ever operated, that are just parked at various shipyards, awaiting their fate. They are not operational, but they float, they were quite recently in action and could be taken back into operation in an emergency in easily a few weeks of preparation, at most a month, to be seaworthy and two months to be fully operational with full air wing, from reserve Navy planes and reserve pilots. How big is this capacity you might ask. Gosh. 590 modern jets, combat aircraft, all these supercarriers are with catapults and arrester gear, they could operate all modern US Navy planes currently flying. Yes. Just those carriers that the US navy has but doesn't want to use, would provide 50% more air power than all aircraft carriers used by the rest of the world, combined - which includes our Nato allies.
This is what I mean. This was my view from my hotel in San Diego a few years ago at a conference. Thats three giant US aircraft carriers right there, just parked across the bay. No other navy operates more than two carriers. The US had three parked on just one pier in just one town on just one day (with at least four more carriers scattered at other parts of San Diego that day, I counted).
Seven retired carriers, each bigger than anything any other navy has ever built. And these are too small for US Navy? And wait, I haven't yet mentioned the museum carriers.
Wot? Yes. The USA has five former aircraft carriers still fully floating and operating now as museums. They are the Midway, Lexington, Interpid, Hornet and Yorktown. These are all World War 2 era carriers, but all were used long after and greatly upgraded and refitted. The Midway was operating still at the first Iraq War and decommissioned in 1992. The Hornet and Interpid were involved in the NASA space capsule retrieval work etc. These would not necessarily be easy and cheap conversions to modern operations, but would be relatively modest conversions to helicopter carriers. A refit of a month or two at dry dock, new engines, all new electonics, radars, radios, missile systems, and totally refitted hangar equipment and refurbished elevcators, and voila, the USA could have another 5 carriers in operation. Usually it takes form 3 to 5 years to buidl a new carrier. These ships are floating at various US harbors as tourist destinations and could be taken back - in an emergency - and turned into helicopter carriers or Harrier carriers in some months. How much more air power would they be able to carry? 245 more combat aircraft of modern types (Harriers, helicopters). And wait! Then there are the unwanted US Marine assaults ships of the Tarawa class (ie helicopter carriers like Boxer we saw on the top). There are 3 more of those, Tarawa, Nassau and Tripoli, also just in limbo, awaiting their fate.
The rest of the world has 11 carriers in total whose gross tonnage is 334,000 tons and which could operate 356 combat aircraft. The US navy currently operates fully 20 ships that any sane person classifies also as aircraft carriers, with a gross tonnage of 1,475,000 tons and with the capacity to fly 1,352 combat aircraft.
The US has further currently parked at various harbors and docks and piers, another 10 aircraft carriers or helicopter carriers which were operational until recently, could easily be recovered back to use, and have the gross tonnage of 590,000 tons and could operate 667 combat aircraft. And finally, the US also has 5 museum ship carriers which could be, with some time, but far far faster than any rival naval power could hope to build new carriers, be brought back as helicopter carriers and add 220,000 tons of carriers and operate 245 combat aircraft.
Yes, I love aircraft carriers. Yes, I always smile when a new carrier is launched. But for Romney to suggest that the US navy is somehow deficient and weak, and would need more carriers? That is just silly.
So shall we next move to submarines. This is a picture of one boomer returning to base on its way to Pearl Harbor Honolulu, when I flew over on a trip from Hawaii and just happened to capture this sight from the airplane window. This is a nuclear powered ballistic missile submarine of probably the Ohio class and its small escort vessell tracking it.
Haha, yeah. If you are one of those who say the time of aircraft carriers is over, you probably think the most powerful weapon of the seas is the submarine, the second most costly weapon system ever made, behind only, obviously, the aircraft carrier. Submarines come in two basic types, nuclear powered and conventionally powered. The nuclear types are far more costly but faster and can operate at nearly unlimited range and cirumnavigate the planet umpteen times before needing to have the nuclear fuel reloaded.
So how many nuclear subs are there in use by navies of the world? 134 that is how many. And what is the US Navy's role in all that? Well, 71 are US boats. Yes, over half of all nuclear powered submarines are with the US navy and yes, of the remaining fleet, the US Nato Allies, UK and France have a sizeable cut. Do we need to continue? By every conceivable measure of military power, the US towers over the rest of the world. But most of all, when it comes to sea power, the navy, the US navy is more dominant of the seas today, than any naval superpower has ever been at their heyday. For Romney to suggest lets enlarge the navy, that is just plain silly...
(ok, and soon I'll post the Nokia story about why Windows Phone 8 will fail miserably. Obviously this was my once-in-a-lifetime chance to write about aircraft carriers and show some pictures haha)