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Last week's crippling fire on the amphibious assault ship USS Bonhomme Richard raised further questions about the state of our Navy just as the Trump administration recklessly careens down a path toward maritime confrontations with China in the South China Sea and elsewhere.
The fire on the Bonhomme Richard is only the latest in a series of damaging incidents that call into question the Navy's ability to take on the central role called for in the Defense Department's priority of re-orienting the nation's armed forces away from hunting jihadists across South Asia toward focusing on revisionist great powers in Moscow and especially Beijing.
Yet the hits against those on the bridge, below decks, and throughout the head and limbs of the US Navy keep coming — just as the inconclusive land wars of the last 20 years may be finally (and thankfully) sputtering out.The list of Navy problems of strategy, warships, weapons, and above all, command, obedience and morale is long and seems to keep growing.
Individually, each of these issues can be attributed to circumstantial factors that mean little to outsiders, but collectively the sum of these issues points to a maritime force that was long the nation's first line of defense but which is now beset with serious and systemic problems that need immediate attention.
First there is the issue of combat effectiveness at the lowest echelons of maritime service, the combination of ships, aircraft, materiel and command, obedience, discipline, and readiness.
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