Philippines Rescue Fleet Faces A Grim Fate

by admin on November 13, 2013

131113-N-TE278-037You might hate the “Global Force For Good” slogan, but I, for one, am darn proud of how the Navy is pivoting to the Philippines and preparing to project order ashore. But even as we (and many of our regional friends) cheer for this mission of mercy, the Fleet headed to the disaster zone faces a grim fate in Washington, and, if the budget cutters have their way, much of today’s Philippines rescue fleet will, within a few years, be eliminated.

Look for yourselves. The Navy fleet headed to the Philippines (as of this morning) consists of the dock landing ships Germantown and Ashland, the aircraft carrier George Washington, the cruisers Cowpens and Antietam, the destroyers Lassen, Mustin and McCampbell, and the T-AKE resupply ships Charles Drew and Richard A. Byrd. That’s quite a force.

But that fleet may shrink. The cost-conscious Navy has been asking to retire the cruiser Cowpens for years. The carrier, George Washington, may go away as the Pentagon seeks to avoid paying for her pricey mid-life refueling. And with the Navy already asking to retire two LPD-41 ships, the Ashland and Germantown are at risk as well should the Navy decide upon the wholesale retirement of the Whidbey Island LPD class.

Which would leave the Philippines task force with what? Twelve helicopter hangars? And likely fewer than a dozen rotary-wing assets? That’s one heck of a void–not just for aid missions, but for warfighting as well.

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