US Military Power: Navy

US Military Power Navy

Credit: Heritage Foundation

Heritage Foundation | 2016 Index of U.S. Military Strength

Scoring the US Navy | Capacity, Capability, Readiness

The Navy’s mandate is “to be where it matters, when it matters.”1 As the military’s primary maritime arm, the Navy enables the United States to project military power in the maritime and air domains, a critical capability in war, crisis response, and peacetime engagement missions. Unlike land forces (or even, to a large extent, air forces), which are tethered to a set of fixed, larger-scale support bases, the Navy is able to shift its presence wherever needed so long as the world’s oceans and seas permit. In addition to the ability to project combat power rapidly anywhere in the world, the Navy’s peacetime forward presence supports missions that include securing sea lines of communication (SLOC) for the free flow of goods and services, assuring U.S. allies and friends, deterring adversaries, and providing a timely response to crises short of war.

Three key documents inform the Navy as to the level of its day-to-day fleet requirements: the 2012 Defense Strategic Guidance (DSG);2 the fiscal year (FY) 2015 Global Force Management Allocation Plan (GFMAP);3 and the 2015 update to “A Cooperative Strategy for 21st Century Seapower.”4 The 2012 DSG issued by the Secretary of Defense describes 10 primary missions for the Navy and the other branches of the U.S. military. In addition, the U.S. Navy must meet forward presence requirements laid out in the FY 2015 GFMAP, which states the force presence needed around the world as determined by the combatant commanders (COCOMs) and the Secretary of Defense.5

This past year, the Navy was able to avert some of the foreseen challenges caused by budget cuts as a result of legislative action; however, as Admiral Jonathan Greenert, Chief of Naval Operations (CNO), testified in his March 2015 posture statement, the Navy was “compelled to further reduce the capacity of weapons and aircraft, slow modernization, and delay upgrades to all but the most critical shore infrastructure” due to continued budget shortfalls of $11 billion.6


For the Navy, capacity is measured by the number of ships rather than the number of sailors, and not all ships are counted equally. The Navy focuses mainly on the size of its “battle force,” which is composed of ships considered to be directly related to its combat missions.7

Last year, the Navy attempted to change how it counted its “battle force” fleet by justifying the inclusion of hospital ships and certain smaller craft that previously had not been counted.8

Congress added language to the FY 2015 National Defense Authorization Act that prevented this new counting rule from going into effect.9 The language clarified a battle force ship as “any commissioned ship built or armed for naval combat or any naval ship designed to provide support to combatant ships and other naval operations. Such term does not include patrol coastal ships, non-commissioned combatant craft specifically designed for combat roles, or ships that are designated for potential mobilization.”10 This subsequently prevented 12 vessels (two hospital ships and 10 forward-deployed patrol craft) from being counted in the battle force fleet. As a consequence, the battle force fleet declined from 282 as of the time the 2015 Index was published to 271 as of the time the 2016 Index was being written. This rule change accounts in part for the major fluctuation in the fleet between the 2015 and 2016 Indexes, which also changed due to normal ship commissionings and retirements that occur annually.

US Navy Fleet Requirements 2015In 2015, the Navy increased its battle force requirement to 308 ships, two more than the previous year. This figure is derived from the 2014 Force Structure Analysis,11 the DSG, and the GFMAP.12 The additional two ships in the fleet requirement are an LPD-17 amphibious ship and a Mobile Landing Platform vessel.13 Congress added funding for the amphibious ship in FY 2013 and FY 2015; it had not been requested by the Navy. While this may seem excessive since the Navy did not officially request a 12th LPD-17 ship, the Navy’s amphibious fleet is currently well below the Navy and Marine Corps program of record requirement (34 hulls); therefore, the addition of an unrequested LPD-17 contributes to the Navy’s broader amphibious vessel needs.14 The highest ship count in the past five years was 288 in FY 2010.15

The “biggest shortfall” assessed in the 2016 Index is the same as in the 2015 edition: “small surface combatants: Littoral Combat Ships, frigates, and mine countermeasures (MCM) ships.”16 The main driver of this gap is the retirement of all remaining Oliver Hazard Perry-class frigates by the end of FY 2015 (September 2015).17 Of the larger battle force ships (including destroyers, cruisers, amphibious vessels, and aircraft carriers), the aircraft carrier fleet currently has a shortfall of one vessel (10 instead of 11), but that is considered to be a temporary condition that will be remedied in early 2016.

The carrier gap resulted from the delayed delivery of the first Ford-class carrier, which was supposed to enter the fleet as the USS Enterprise was decommissioned in 2012. The USS Gerald R. Ford is now expected to be commissioned in March 2016.18 Other shortfalls are due to underinvestment in the Shipbuilding and Conversion, Navy (SCN) budget to procure new hulls quickly enough to increase the size of the Navy.19

Without significant funding increases, it appears unlikely that the Navy will reach its own capacity goals for the foreseeable future.20 Due to expected funding shortfalls relative to fleet goals, “the Navy projects that the fleet would experience a shortfall in small surface combatants from FY2016 through FY2027, a shortfall in attack submarines from FY2025 through FY2036, and a shortfall in large surface combatants (i.e., cruisers and destroyers) from FY2036 through at least FY2045.”21

In December 2014, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) calculated that the Navy’s 306-ship fleet goal would cost $20.7 billion annually, well above the historical average of $15.7 billion per year.22 Using its own cost estimates, the CBO estimated that the Navy would be able to purchase 69 fewer ships over a 30-year period, including two fewer aircraft carriers, 17 fewer attack submarines, and six fewer amphibious ships. Although the CBO had not published its assessment of the FY 2016 shipbuilding request as of the time the 2016 Index was being written, the Navy’s FY 2016 request of $16.6 billion also falls well below the $20.7 billion level that the CBO assesses as necessary to reach fleet goals.23

As important as the total fleet size is, the Navy must also consider the number of ships that are forward deployed to meet operational demands. Not all ships in the battle force are at sea at the same time. The majority of ships are based in the continental U.S. (CONUS) to undergo routine maintenance and training, as well as to limit deployment time for sailors. However, given the COCOMs’ requirements for naval power presence in each of their regions, there is an impetus to have as many ships forward deployed as possible. Striking a balance between deploying ships to meet operational demands and keeping them in port to perform needed maintenance and provide relief to sailors is a constant challenge.

Today, the Navy has 95 ships deployed globally—just over 35 percent of the total available fleet (a 1 percent decline since last year’s assessment).24 Note that this slight decline in percentage of ships deployed to the total battle force fleet is driven partly by the more significant decline in the total fleet from the past year (as previously noted, down from 282 ships to 271 ships). The percent decrease in presence around the globe, using the forward-deployed ship count in 2014 (104) and that of 2015 (95) is therefore roughly 9 percent.25

The Navy has tried to increase forward presence by emphasizing non-rotational deployments: having a ship “home-ported” overseas or keeping the ship forward stationed:26

  • Home-ported: The ships, crew, and their families are stationed at the port or based abroad.
  • Forward Stationed: Only the ships will be based abroad while crews are rotated out to the ship.27

Both of these non-rotational deployment options require cooperation from friends and allies to permit the Navy’s use of their facilities as well as investment in additional facilities abroad. However, these options allow one ship to provide a greater level of presence than four ships based in CONUS and in rotational deployment since they offset the time necessary to deploy ships to distant theaters.28 A key example of the use of this practice is the Navy’s constant forward deployment of an aircraft carrier at the U.S. naval base in Yokosuka, Japan. In May 2015, the USS George Washington (CVN-73) departed this base with the USS Ronald Reagan sailing there to replace it.29 The George Washington, stationed at Yokosuka since 2008, left to undergo its midlife refueling and complex overhaul (RCOH).

The Navy maintains that it currently will be able to meet the FY 2015 GFMAP requirements and 10 missions outlined in the DSG. However, Admiral Greenert has acknowledged that budget shortfalls over the past few years, under Budget Control Act of 2011 (BCA) caps and otherwise, have “forced the Navy to accept significant risk in key mission areas, notably if the military is confronted with a technologically advanced adversary or forced to deny the objective of an opportunistic aggressor in a second region while engaged in a major contingency.”30 This statement refers to a sizing construct that enables the U.S. military to win a major contingency operation in one region of the world while holding off or deterring another adversary from creating another major engagement. Note that this sizing construct is below the one prescribed in this Index: one that would enable the U.S. military to win two major operations nearly simultaneously.


Scoring the U.S. Navy’s capability is not just a matter of counting the fleet. The quality of the battle force is also important in determining the strength of the Navy.

A comprehensive measure of platform capability would involve a comparison of each ship and its weapons systems relative to the military capabilities of other nations. For example, a complete measure of naval capabilities would have to assess not only how U.S. platforms would match up against an enemy’s weapons, but also whether operational concepts like the often discussed Air-Sea Battle would be effective in a conflict. This assessment would then have to be replicated for each potential conflict. While this is a necessary exercise and one in which the military currently engages, it is beyond the scope of this Index because such details and analysis are routinely classified.

Capability can be usefully assessed based on the age of ships, the modernity of the platform, and whether or not modernization programs will maintain the fighting edge of the fleet. The Navy has several classes of ships that are nearing the end of their lifespan, and this will precipitate a consolidation of ship classes in the battle force.

This year, the Navy will retire its entire fleet of Oliver Hazard Perry-class guided missile frigates. The Perry-class is to be replaced by the new Littoral Combat Ship (LCS), but some naval analysts have suggested that the LCS lacks the firepower of the frigate.31 In 2015, the Navy modified its LCS program to add more firepower to future hulls, and it will be referring to these upgunned LCSs as frigates beginning in FY 2019.32 This modification resulted from a restructuring of the LCS program initiated in 2014 by Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel. The upgrades that the Navy says will give this future block of LCS/frigates capabilities closer to those of the Perry-class frigates include “[o]ver-the-horizon surface to surface missile and additional weapon systems and combat system upgrades” and “increased survivability [through] incorporating additional self-defense capabilities and increased hardening of vital systems and vital spaces.”33

On March 31, 2015, the final Tarawa-class amphibious ship, the USS Peleliu, was decommissioned.34 The Austin-class amphibious ships will be retiring soon as well. In the 2020s, the last Avenger-class mine countermeasures ships and Los Angeles-class attack submarines will also go out of service.

The Navy is attempting to put the Ticonderoga-class cruiser fleet into temporary layup status in order to extend this class’s fleet service time into the 2030s, even though these ships average 24.2 years out of an expected 35-year service life.35 In early 2015, for the second year in a row (after Congress pushed back on the 2014 attempt), the Navy proposed a plan to put some of these cruisers in temporary layup status. The proposal issued in the Navy’s FY 2016 budget request would mean that “two cruisers would enter in a modernization cycle each year, [and] no cruisers will remain in layup for more than four years with no more than six cruisers out of service at one time,” according to Rear Admiral William Lescher, Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Budget.36 Driven by budget shortfalls, this plan is an attempt (as was the previous year’s) to keep 11 of the 22 commissioned cruisers in service at all times through 2034.37 There is currently no program to replace the Ticonderoga-class cruisers; a program initiated in FY 2001, called “CG(X),” was to yield a replacement cruiser vessel, but it was canceled in FY 2011 after it was deemed too expensive.38

Similarly, the Navy’s two current LSD classes of amphibious ships, Whidbey Island and Harpers Ferry, are receiving extensions to remain in service until about 2038.

Many of the other ships that the Navy sails are also legacy platforms. Of the 18 classes of ships in the Navy, only seven are currently in production. For example, 72 percent of the Navy’s attack submarines are Los Angeles-class submarines, an older platform that is being replaced with a more modern and capable Virginia-class.39 This will shift as the Navy continues to purchase more ships.

The procurement of ships is a critical aspect of meeting Navy capacity requirements, maintaining ship capabilities, and maintaining the industrial capacity to build any warships. The Navy plans to procure 48 ships between FY 2016 and FY 2020, including 14 battle force ships in FY 2016 alone.40 The procurement of 10 Arleigh Burke-class DDGs (two per year) and 10 Virginia-class SSNs (two per year) and funding for the final nine LCS (three per year in FY 2016–FY 2018) along with the upgraded frigate (FF) variants will also be prioritized and executed in accordance with the 2016 budget.41 Current procurement plans also call for securing the first LX(R), the amphibious ship replacement for the LSD; a 12th LPD (landing platform/dock); four Fleet oilers; and four Fleet salvage ships.42

Modernization programs supplement procurement plans and are intended to replace current platforms as they reach the end of their planned service lives, build up forces to meet capacity requirements, and introduce new technologies to the operating forces. Ship modernization programs as they currently stand are problematic because they do not “keep pace to deal with high-end adversary weapons systems by 2020.”43 The CBO reported in 2015 that to reach its procurement goals, the Navy would need to increase spending on shipbuilding by one-third over what it has spent per year during the past 30 years.44 It is worth noting that this assessment was for the Navy’s goal of a 306-ship Navy, which is lower than the previous determination of 313 ships and lower than the current requirement of 308; it is also well below this Index’s prescribed fleet size of 346 ships.

Because ships take such a long time to build and only a few shipyards are capable of building them, and because shipbuilding programs require carefully orchestrated, long-lead-time planning to account for sequencing in the shipyards, supply chain and workforce management, and multi-year funding, the Navy publishes a 30-year plan as its top-level document that captures objectives by class and sequencing of replacements as older ships reach the end of their service lives.45 According to the current 30-year plan, the Navy will reach its 308-ship requirement by FY 2022.46

However, the 30-year shipbuilding plan is not limited to programs of record and assumes procurement programs that have yet to materialize. For that reason, it is often considered optimistic. For example, the goal of 308 ships stated in the Navy’s most recent 30-year plan includes an objective for 12 Ohio-class replacement submarines, the SSBN(X), which will require an average of $17.2 billion a year in shipbuilding costs from 2020–2035.47 This is something that the Navy will have difficulty maintaining as it struggles to sustain, overhaul, modernize, and eventually retire the remainder of its legacy SSBN fleet.

The service is planning to acquire the first SSBN(X) in FY 2021, with advanced procurement funding starting in FY 2017.48 The Government Accountability Office (GAO) reported that total program acquisition costs will be about $95.8 billion.49 According to the Congressional Research Service, “The Navy in January 2015 estimated the average procurement cost of boats 2 through 12 in the Ohio replacement program at about $5.2 billion each in FY2010 dollars.”50 Based on the historical average, the Navy will have to spend more than a third of its shipbuilding budget on one SSBN(X) hull each year that it procures one.51 This Index therefore relies on budget and programmatic data from programs of record to determine the state of Navy modernization.

The most glaring problem with the Navy’s current modernization program has to do with how many ships it plans to purchase. While the Navy has stated its intent to purchase additional attack submarines, the current Virginia-class program of record is slated to produce a total of 30 submarines—well short of the 48 attack submarines the Navy requires. At this current rate, assuming that the Seawolf-class has been retired, there will be an 18–attack submarine shortfall in the Navy’s 308-ship requirement. The Navy has stated that it will attempt to lengthen deployments and possibly perform service life extensions on some of the existing attack submarines to account for this shortfall.52 Similarly, the Navy plans to replace the 14 aging Ohio-class SSBN with 12 SSBN(X).53 The shortfall in small surface combatants is similarly alarming.

The Avenger-class MCM and Oliver Hazard Perry-class frigate are being retired, which means that the Littoral Combat Ship will assume the entire small surface combatant fleet requirement. As discussed above, the LCS and its follow-on, which will be called a frigate, are intended to make up this shortfall with a procurement of 52 total projected LCS/frigates.

Timing for the small surface combatants will be another issue. While the LCS/frigate procurement has been scheduled, ship delivery will not be rapid enough to fill small surface combatant requirements entirely.

Of the seven classes of ships the Navy is building, some have been relatively successful, whereas others are more problematic. Both the Virginia-class submarines and Arleigh Burke-class destroyers have a steady production rate and are being considered for upgrades to improve their respective capabilities. The newer Arleigh Burke-class Flight III design would be able to support a new and larger Air and Missile Defense Radar (AMDR). The Navy is also considering extending the Virginia class’s hull to provide space for additional missiles or torpedoes. The San Antonio-class LPD-17 program, as mentioned earlier, received funding for one additional hull (which the Navy requested be procured in FY 2016) but is not likely to continue beyond 12 ships of this class.54

On the other hand, the Ford-class aircraft carrier, America-class amphibious ship, Zumwalt-class (DDG-1000) destroyer, and Littoral Combat Ship have had varying degrees of difficulty in cost overruns. The Zumwalt class was essentially relegated to an experimental order, having been reduced from a projected fleet of 32 hulls to just three. The delivery of CVN-78, the first of the new Gerald R. Ford class of aircraft carriers, was delayed by a year, causing a shortfall in the number of aircraft carriers (down to 10) in the U.S. fleet. Both the America-class amphibious ship and the Littoral Combat Ship also face delays and adjustments of requirements. The America class will produce only two ships of the current design, and the survivability and strike requirements for the LCS are being questioned. All four programs have experienced cost growth, with the Zumwalt-class, Ford-class, and America-class ships incurring cost breaches. It should be noted that the LCS program was able to reduce overall costs in 2015, as it was reported that the cost per hull has been reduced by a third since the first hull in class was built.55

Despite these difficulties, the Navy regards its fleet as capable of handling today’s threats, albeit with increased risk.

The Navy’s long-range strike capability derives from its ability to launch various missiles and combat aircraft. Of the two, naval aircraft are much more expensive and difficult to modernize as a class. Not long ago, the Navy operated several models of strike aircraft that included the F-14 Tomcat, A-6 Intruder, A-4 Skyhawk, and F/A-18 Hornet.56 Over the past 20 years, this variety has been winnowed to a single model: the F/A-18. While the F/A-18 A–D variants were first introduced in 1983 and already have undergone service life extensions, the Navy flies a significant number of F/A-18 E/F Super Hornets that are not only newer, but also considered to be extremely capable. The Navy is implementing efforts to extend the life of some of the older variants but plans to have a mix of the F-35C and F/A-18 E/F Super Hornets.

The F-35C is the Navy’s largest aviation modernization program. It is a fifth-generation fighter (all F/A-18 variants are considered fourth-generation) that will have greater stealth capabilities and state-of-the-art electronic systems, allowing it to communicate with multiple other platforms. The Navy plans to purchase 260 F-35Cs (along with 80 F-35Bs for the Marine Corps, discussed in the section on that service)57 to replace a current inventory of 455 F/A-18 A–Ds.58 The F-35 is supposed to be a more capable aircraft relative to the F/A-18, but at 260 aircraft, it will not be enough to make up for the Hornets the Navy will need to replace.

In addition, like the other F-35 variants, the F-35C faces development problems. The system has been grounded because of engine problems, and software development issues have threatened further delay. The aircraft also has grown more expensive through the development process.

The F-35C is expected to reach initial operating capability (IOC) by FY 2018 or FY 2019. This is later than the initial expectation of IOC by FY 2015. Admiral Greenert stated in 2015 that this delay, combined with unforeseen higher operational tempo on the existing fighter fleet caused by strikes against ISIS, is leading to a possible fighter shortfall of 36 aircraft.59 This shortfall in turn has led the Navy to consider extending the service lives of its legacy F/A-18 C/D Hornet aircraft.

The Navy’s other aircraft programs, EA-18G and E-2D, have been relatively successful. The EA-18G program, which had completed its planned procurement of 135 aircraft in FY 2014, added 15 aircraft in FY 2015 out of 22 it had sought through that fiscal year’s “unfunded priorities” list.60 The Navy included 12 F/A-18F Super Hornets in its FY 2016 list of unfunded priorities that the service explained could be “built…to be converted to EA-18G Growler electronic attack aircraft if necessary.”61 DOD has also established an “Electronic Warfare (EW) Executive Committee” that is currently assessing, among other issues, the potential necessity of future Growlers.62 However, the FY 2016 Navy budget request did not seek additional Growlers.63 The E-2D program is on a steady procurement schedule, with the Navy having successfully procured its requested level of five aircraft each in FY 2014 and FY 2015.


Although the Navy can still deploy forces in accordance with GFMAP requirements, various factors indicate a decline in readiness over the past year. Admiral Michelle Howard, Vice Chief of Naval Operations, reported that “Navy readiness is at its lowest point in many years,” which can be attributed chiefly to budget reductions.64 Admiral Greenert acknowledged that continued cuts under BCA limits “compelled us to reduce both afloat and ashore operations, which created ship and aircraft maintenance and training backlogs.”65 As a result, unit deployments were also extended, exacting a cost not only on the service life of the ship, but also on the resiliency of the sailors assigned to the vessel.66

To support readiness, the Navy synchronizes maintenance and modernization with the fleet training required to achieve GFMAP objectives utilizing the Fleet Response Plan (FRP). This force generation plan has been used by the Navy effectively since its implementation in 2007, but “continued employment of our contingency response units…has limited their availability to complete required maintenance and training,”67 negatively affecting overall readiness.

The GAO published a report in May 2015 that identified readiness challenges that forward-stationed ships are facing due to budget shortfalls. The GAO specifically found that:

[C]asualty reports—incidents of degraded or out-of-service equipment—have doubled over the past five years and that the material condition of overseas-homeported ships has decreased slightly faster than that of U.S.-homeported ships…. GAO also found that the high pace of operations the Navy uses for overseas-homeported ships limits dedicated training and maintenance periods, which has resulted in difficulty keeping crews fully trained and ships maintained.68

The GAO also commented generally on the gap between demand for naval presence with a diminishing supply of ships: “To meet the increasing demands of combatant commanders for forward presence in recent years, the Navy has extended deployments; increased operational tempos; and shortened, eliminated, or deferred training and maintenance.”69

The effects of these degradations in training and maintenance, the report argues, could include the failure of ships to reach their intended service lives in the future.

Admiral Greenert has indicated that over the past few years, although the Navy has been able to deploy one Amphibious Ready Group (ARG) and one Carrier Strike Group (CSG) at all times (even under periods of unforeseen budget reductions such as those caused by the BCA), this has resulted in reductions in the readiness of non-deployed forces.70 Specifically, the Navy has a goal of being able to surge three ARGs and three CSGs, but maintenance and training delays have reduced this capability. Furthermore, Greenert acknowledged at a hearing in March 2015 that budget challenges have forced the Navy to lengthen deployments to provide the same amount of global presence.71

While specific readiness figures are scarce, this Index assumes that FY 2015 readiness levels are somewhat lower than those of the previous year, meaning that they are still below where they should be. However, there is not enough information to quantify the change in readiness from last year to this one beyond the Navy’s own statements about still meeting baseline mission requirements.

Of note, while the Navy is still able to forward deploy a third of its fleet, the total fleet reduction has caused a subsequent reduction in global presence (from 104 to 95 as reported by CNO Greenert). It is worth noting again that the Navy’s own readiness assessments are based on the ability to execute a strategy that assumes a force sizing construct that is smaller than the one prescribed by this Index.

The 2015 Index reported on the Navy’s readiness status as follows:

In May 2013, only a third of the Navy was fully mission-capable. Historically, 50 percent of the fleet has been certified for major combat operations due to maintenance requirements.

The Navy has stated that despite this maintenance shortfall, it can still “support the FY2014 GFMAP,” but it is doing so by deferring yard maintenance to keep ships at sea instead of in the shipyards, extending the length of deployments, and counting days spent in transit through an area of responsibility (which a ship sometimes must do to get to an assigned AOR) as credit toward GCC/GFMAP requirements. However, the impact that will be felt is in the Navy’s surge capacity. In addition to the two carrier strike groups and two amphibious ready groups that are fully mission-capable, the Navy will have one extra carrier and amphibious ready group that are fully mission-capable and available to deploy quickly as a surge capacity. According to the Navy, this is “one-third of the normal surge capacity.”72

The Navy did not officially issue an update to the status discussed in the previous paragraphs. However, Admiral Greenert did state that, “Since 2013, many CSGs, ARGs, and destroyers have been on deployment for 8-10 months or longer. This comes at a cost to the resiliency of our people, sustainability of our equipment, and service lives of our ships.”73 The need to stretch deployments and defer maintenance is likely caused in part by the reduced number of ships deployed while the Navy’s presence requirement has not been reduced.74

Scoring the U.S. Navy

Capacity Score: Marginal

The Navy is unusual relative to the other services in that its capacity requirements must meet two separate objectives. First, during peacetime, the Navy must maintain a forward presence around the world. This ongoing peacetime requirement to be present around the world is the driving force behind ship count requirements: a set total number to ensure that the required number of ships is actually available to provide the necessary global presence.

On the other hand, the Navy also must be able to fight and win wars. In this case, the expectation is to be able to fight and win two simultaneous or nearly simultaneous MRCs. When thinking about naval combat power in this way, the defining metric is not necessarily a total ship count, but rather the carrier strike groups, amphibious ships, and submarines deemed necessary to win both the naval component of a war and the larger war effort by means of strike missions inland or cutting off the enemy’s maritime access to sources of supply.

An accurate assessment of Navy capacity takes into account both sets of requirements and scores to the larger requirement.

It should be noted that the scoring in this Index includes the Navy’s fleet of ballistic missile and fast attack submarines to the extent that they contribute to the overall size of the battle fleet and with general comment on the status of their respective modernization programs. Because of their unique characteristics and the missions they perform, their detailed readiness rates and actual use in peacetime and planned use in war are classified. Nevertheless, the various references consulted are fairly consistent in the numbers recommended for the overall fleet and in the Navy’s shipbuilding plan.

The role of SSBNs (fleet ballistic missile submarines) as one leg (arguably the most survivable component) of America’s nuclear triad capability is well-known; perhaps less well-known are the day-to-day tasks undertaken by the SSN (attack submarines) force, which can include collection, surveillance, and support to the special operations community and whose operations often take place apart from the operations of the surface Navy.

Two-MRC Requirement.

The primary elements of naval combat power during a major regional contingency operation derive from carrier strike groups (which include squadrons of strike aircraft and support ships) and amphibious assault capacity. Since the Navy is constantly deployed around the globe during peacetime, many of its fleet requirements are beyond the scope of the two-MRC construct. However, it is important to observe the historical context of naval deployments during a major theater war.

13 Deployable Carrier Strike Groups.

The average number of aircraft carriers deployed in the Korean War, Vietnam War, Persian Gulf War, and Operation Iraqi Freedom was between five and six. This correlates with the figures recommended in the 1993 Bottom-Up Review (BUR) and subsequent government force-sizing documents, each of which recommended at least 11 aircraft carriers.75 Assuming that 11 aircraft carriers are needed to engage simultaneously in two MRCs, and assuming that the Navy ideally should have a 20 percent strategic reserve in order to avoid having to commit 100 percent of its carrier groups and account for scheduled maintenance, the Navy should have 13 carrier strike groups.

The aircraft carrier is the centerpiece of a carrier strike group, composed of one guided-missile cruiser, two guided-missile destroyers, one attack submarine, and a supply ship in addition to the carrier itself.76 Therefore, based on the requirement for 13 aircraft carriers, the following numbers of ships are necessary for 13 deployable carrier strike groups:

  • 13 aircraft carriers,
  • 13 cruisers,
  • 26 destroyers, and
  • 13 attack submarines.

13 Carrier Air Wings.

Each carrier deployed for combat operations was equipped with a carrier air wing, meaning that five to six air wings were necessary for each of those major contingencies. The strategic documents differ slightly in this regard because each document suggests one less carrier air wing than the number of aircraft carriers.

A carrier air wing usually includes four strike fighter squadrons.77 Twelve aircraft typically comprise one Navy strike fighter squadron, so at least 48 strike fighter craft are required for each carrier air wing. To support 13 carrier air wings, the Navy therefore needs a minimum of 624 strike fighter aircraft.78

current US Navy capacity

50 Amphibious Ships.

The 1993 BUR recommended a fleet of 45 large amphibious vessels to support the operations of 2.5 Marine Expeditionary Brigades (MEBs). Since then, the Marine Corps has expressed a need to be able to perform two MEB-level operations simultaneously, with a resulting fleet of 38 amphibious vessels required. The 1996 and 2001 QDRs each recommended 12 “amphibious ready groups” (ARGs). One ARG typically includes one amphibious assault ship (LHA/LHD); one amphibious transport dock ship (LPD); and one dock landing ship (LSD).79 Therefore, the 12-ARG recommendation equates to 36 amphibious vessels.

The number of amphibious vessels required in combat operations has declined since the Korean War, where 34 amphibious vessels were used; 26 were deployed in Vietnam, 21 in the Persian Gulf War, and only seven in Operation Iraqi Freedom (which did not require as large a sea-based expeditionary force).80 The Persian Gulf War is the most pertinent example for today, because similar vessels were used, and modern requirements for an MEB most closely resemble this engagement.81

While the Marine Corps has consistently advocated a fleet of 38 amphibious vessels to execute its two-MEB strategy, it is more prudent to field a fleet of at least 42 such vessels based on the Persian Gulf engagement.82 Similarly, if the USMC is to have a strategic reserve of 20 percent, the ideal number of amphibious ships would be 50.

Total Ship Requirement.

The bulk of the Navy’s battle force ships are not directly tied to a carrier strike group. Some surface vessels and attack submarines are deployed independently, which is often why their requirements exceed those of a carrier strike group. The same can be said of the ballistic missile submarine (nuclear missiles) and guided missile submarine (conventional cruise missiles), which operate independently of an aircraft carrier.

This Index uses the benchmark set by previous government reports, mainly the 1993 BUR, which was one of the most comprehensive reviews of military requirements. Similar Navy fleet size requirements have been echoed in follow-on reports.

The numerical values used in the score column refer to the five-grade scale explained earlier in this section, where 1 is “very weak” and 5 is “very strong.” Taking the full Navy requirement of 346 ships as the benchmark, the Navy’s current battle forces fleet capacity of 271 ships retains a score of “marginal,” as was the case in the 2015 Index. However, as mentioned above, the fleet size has significantly declined from the previous Index assessment and continues to trend downward. Given the CBO’s assessment that the Navy will continue to underfund its shipbuilding programs, and in view of the impending need for a ballistic missile submarine replacement that could cost nearly half of the current shipbuilding budget per hull, the Navy’s capacity score could fall to “weak” in the near future.

Capability Score: Weak

The overall capability score for the Navy is “weak.” This was consistent across all four components of the capability score: “Age of Equipment,” “Capability of Equipment,” “Size of Modernization Program,” and “Health of Modernization Programs.” Given the number of programs, ship classes, and types of aircraft involved, the details that informed the capability assessment are more easily presented in in a tabular format as shown in the Appendix.

This Index does not include an assessment of future programs such as the Ohio-Class Replacement SSBN(X); Unmanned Carrier-Launched Airborne Surveillance and Strike (UCLASS); and LX(R) because these are not yet categorized by the government as MDAPs.

Readiness Score: Marginal

The Navy’s current readiness score has dropped from “strong” in the 2015 Index to “marginal.” This assessment combines two major elements of naval readiness: the ability to consistently provide the required levels of presence around the globe and surge capacity. As elaborated below, the Navy’s ability to maintain required presence in key regions is “strong,” but its ability to surge to meet combat requirements ranges from “weak” to “very weak” depending on how one defines the requirement. In both cases—presence and surge—the Navy is sacrificing long-term readiness to meet current demand.

The Navy reported that it continues to meet GFMAP goals but at the cost of future readiness. The GAO reported in May 2015 that “to meet the increasing demands of combatant commanders for forward presence in recent years, the Navy has extended deployments; increased operational tempos; and shortened, eliminated, or deferred training and maintenance.”83 Furthermore, as the Navy seeks to provide the same amount of forward presence with a smaller fleet through overseas home-porting, the GAO has found that “this additional time is available primarily because training and maintenance periods are shorter than those provided for ships homeported in the United States.”84

While forward-deployed ships do not fully represent the total fleet, the Navy has indicated in other ways that its readiness could be compromised in the near future. Admiral Howard testified in March 2015 that “we continue our efforts to rebuild the workforce in our public depots—both shipyards and aviation readiness centers—and reduce the number of lost operational days, but it will take years to dig out of a readiness hole.”85 She explained that the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2013 had alleviated some of the Navy’s funding concerns wrought by the Budget Control Act of 2011 but that the Navy has “not yet recovered from the readiness impact of over a decade of combat operations.”86

While no precise information is provided for the exact levels of current readiness, the Navy has been able to make up previous readiness shortfalls that resulted from sequester in FY 2013. In FY 2013, 66 percent of the Navy was not assessed to be full-mission capable, compared to a 50 percent average. The previous 16 percent gap will not affect immediate deployments, but it will reduce the Navy’s ability to surge in response to a major conflict. As stated by the Navy, the FY 2014 funding allowed some of this gap to be closed.

While it has been reported that congressional support for increases over sequestered funding levels through the BCA and subsequent authorizations and appropriations in FY 2013 and FY 2014 has helped to stabilize readiness, the Navy, as Admiral Howard noted, has “not yet recovered from the readiness impact of over a decade of combat operations.” Furthermore, the USN reports that “it will require several years to fully recover the capability to rapidly respond to COCOM requirements for a major contingency.”87 However, readiness of naval expeditionary combat forces (to include COCOM requirements) has improved “significantly” over prior years, as baseline funding in FY 2016 will cover 80 percent of the enduring requirement, with OCO funding covering an additional 15 percent.88

Therefore, the Navy’s readiness as it pertains to providing global presence is rated as “strong.”

Another element of naval readiness is the ability to surge forces to respond to a major contingency. As discussed above, the Navy’s goal is the ability to surge three CSGs and three ARGs for a contingency operation, three times the level it is currently capable of deploying. Admiral Greenert stated in 2015 that “we might be able to recover from the accumulated backlogs by 2018 for our [CSGs] and by 2020 for our [ARGs]” to deploy three of each, but only if there is stable funding and no major contingency occurs over that time frame.89 Therefore, the Navy is operating at a third of its own prescribed ability to surge to meet a regional contingency operation. This yields a surge capacity score of “weak.”

Since the Index of U.S. Military Strength uses the two-MRC construct as its benchmark level of necessary military force, the Navy would actually need to be able to surge forces to a level higher than three each of CSGs and ARGs. However, doubling the Navy’s surge capacity requirement to account for this is an oversimplification, as not enough public information exists to assess how much surge capacity the Navy would require to engage in a second contingency. Therefore, this Index notes that the Navy must be able to surge remaining forces if the U.S. finds itself responding to a second MRC but does not attempt to determine or count this additional level in its scoring.

Overall U.S. Navy Score: Marginal

The Navy’s overall score for the 2016 Index is “marginal,” the same as the previous year. This was derived by aggregating the scores for capacity (“marginal”); capability (“weak”); and readiness (“marginal”). However, given the continued decline in the Navy’s fleet size without a coinciding reduction in presence requirements, Navy officials’ increasingly dire assessment of readiness challenges, and few signs of funding increases to correct these trends, the Navy’s score could degrade to “weak” in the near future if it does not reverse course.

MS-2016-SCORE-TABLE-us-military-power-navy 1000b


Fresh Perspectives on Benghazi Keep the Scandals Alive


By Roger Aronoff

While much of the focus of attention on the Benghazi scandal has been about former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s actions, and inaction, which may have led to the deaths of U.S. Ambassador to Libya Chris Stevens and three other Americans, there are other aspects of the story that have gotten far less attention, but are, in fact, more revealing and more damning about the foreign policy of the Obama administration.

The failure of the State Department to respond to more than 600 requests for increased security in Libya, and specifically Benghazi, and Mrs. Clinton’s claim that she was unaware of those requests, as she stated at the October 22nd hearing of the House Select Committee on Benghazi, were damning enough.

When Accuracy in Media decided two-and-a-half years ago to form the Citizens’ Commission on Benghazi (CCB), it was because it had become clear that Congress was doing an inadequate job of getting to the truth, and that the media were doing their best to pretend that this was a phony scandal that didn’t reflect badly on either President Obama or then-Secretary of State Clinton.

Among the key findings of the Commission was the fact that the war in Libya, initially described as a an effort to prevent a humanitarian crisis, but which later became a mission to take out the Libyan dictator, Muammar Qaddafi, could very possibly have been avoided through negotiations—an offer the Obama administration turned down. Then there was the dereliction of duty, namely the failure to bring available military forces to bear in an effort to save at least some of the Americans under attack during the night of September 11 and into the early morning of September 12, 2012.

There were the lies about the cause of the attack. We learned with greater specificity at the October hearing that Mrs. Clinton knew the first night, and the following day, that this was a planned, organized terrorist attack by an al-Qaeda related group. She said so in no uncertain terms to her daughter, to the president of Libya and to the Egyptian prime minister. Yet the story she conspired to tell the world, and the family members of the victims of the attack, was that the attack was the result of a YouTube video that was viewed as an insult to Islam.

But with all that, which is well documented and laid out in the CCB’s interim report released in April of 2014, the bigger story remains, “How America Switched Sides in the War on Terror.” This was the result of the fact that the Obama administration “facilitated the delivery of weapons and military support to al Qa’eda-linked rebels in Libya,” as we stated in the report.

Much more information has come out proving that to be the case. Breitbart News’ national security correspondent Edwin Mora has taken a detailed look at this part of the story, interviewing a couple of members of the CCB, and has done an excellent job of laying out the facts. It couldn’t be more timely, as the world is coming to grips with how to deal with the cancer of ISIS—one of the chief beneficiaries of this disastrous U.S. policy—and other jihadist groups that are causing so much death and destruction throughout the world today. But have no fear. According to President Obama, the gathering of more than 150 nations in Paris to posture about global warming serves as “a powerful rebuke to the terrorists.” He has said more than 20 times that climate change is a greater threat to future generations than terrorism, and during his first day in Paris for the conference he said that holding the conference there at this time is “an act of defiance that proves nothing will deter us.”

In Mora’s article for Breitbart, “Benghazi Commission: Obama Admin Gun-Running Scheme Armed Islamic State,” he cites Clare Lopez of the CCB, saying, “The Obama administration pursued a policy in Libya back in 2011 that ultimately allowed guns to walk into the hands of jihadists linked to the Islamic State (ISIS/ISIL) and al-Qaeda (AQ) in Syria.”

Lopez, the primary author of the CCB report, said, “The ripple effects of the illegal policy to arm America’s enemies continue to be felt as the U.S. military is currently leading a war against ISIS and AQ terrorists in Iraq and Syria.”

“‘The Obama administration effectively switched sides in what used to be called the Global War on Terror [GWOT] when it decided to overthrow the sovereign government of our Libyan ally, Muammar Qaddafi, who’d been helping in the fight against al-Qaeda, by actually teaming up with and facilitating gun-running to Libyan al-Qaeda and Muslim Brotherhood [MB] elements there in 2011,’ explained Lopez. ‘This U.S. gun-running policy in 2011 during the Libyan revolution was directed by [then] Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and [the late Libya Ambassador] Christopher Stevens, who was her official envoy to the Libyan AQ rebels.’”

“‘To avoid having the funds tracked back to the Obama administration, the arms flow to Libya was financed through the United Arab Emirates, while Qatar served as the logistical and shipping hub,’ she noted.”

I urge you to read the entire Breitbart article, and also this Washington Times article, “Clinton State Department approved U.S. weapons shipment to Libya despite ban,” based on documents recovered from the compound in Benghazi. The article gives names and details of how the weapons were transferred, and confirmation that Hillary Clinton’s State Department knew all about it.

There is also a movie coming out in January entitled “13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi,” that we’re hoping is as powerful as the book and the story from the men who wrote it. In the trailer, it shows the authors of the book, members of the CIA Annex Security Team, being told to “stand down.”

That phrase is highly charged, because it is something that the Obama administration has claimed never happened. But it did, according to these heroes, who risked their lives to travel the one mile from the CIA Annex to the Special Mission Compound where Ambassador Stevens and Information Officer Sean Smith were killed. They were already dead by the time the men arrived. The movie, from by the very successful action-adventure director Michael Bay (“Transformers,” “Pearl Harbor,” “Armageddon”), promises to put Benghazi back in the headlines, at least for a little while.

Roger Aronoff is the Editor of Accuracy in Media, and a member of the Citizens’ Commission on Benghazi. He can be contacted at

Connecting the Terror in Paris with the Terror against Israel

 Kashmiri demonstrators hold up Palestinian flags and a flag of the Islamic State

Brig.-Gen. (res.) Yossi Kuperwasser | Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs

Seemingly, the connection between the Islamic terror against the West and the Palestinian terror against Israel is confined to technical aspects and does not run deeper than that. It mainly involves the notion that terror is terror and any form of it is cruel and morally unjustified, induces feelings of fear and helplessness in the target population and has to be fought with similar intelligence and operational measures. As many Israelis have been saying, “Now the French understand how we live.”

Those who question the connection Israel draws between the two kinds of terror claim that, whereas the anti-Western terror stems from a militant interpretation of Islam calling for an assault on the West, its culture, and its behavior (this, it must be acknowledged, is certainly a possible interpretation of the Koran and the other central Islamic texts, even if not an exclusive interpretation), the anti-Israeli terror stems largely from nationalist motives, even if these are entwined and suffused with Islamic claims. It is, then, even if unjustified, an in-built reaction to Palestinian suffering and the supposed wrong that was done them with Israel’s establishment and its ongoing control of the post-1967 territories.

If there is a connection between the two, it lies – some say – in the fact that among the factors contributing to Islamic terror against the West are the injustices the West has done to the Muslims, including the creation of a nation-state for the Jewish people in the heart of the Islamic region at the Palestinians’ expense. Thus, they assert, in addition to the acceptable forms of fighting terror, the West must find a way to atone for its crimes and enable the fulfillment of the Palestinian national goals, even if it entails a risk to Israel’s security. With that, Islamic anger will be allayed.

Dangerous Forbearance for “Realistic Radical Islam”

Seemingly there is some justification for distinguishing between the two kinds of terror. One kind is perpetrated by “ultra-radical” elements within radical Islam such as ISIS, the other mainly by Palestinians, some of whom belong to the “realistic” camp within radical Islam (primarily Hamas, which is affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood), and some of whom (belonging to Fatah) lean more to the “pragmatic” camp in the Muslim world. At the same time, the common denominator among all the actors who belong to the radical camp – the ultra-radicals and the realists – is the vision of a struggle against the West and its culture and against Muslims who are prepared to adopt elements of Western culture and are regarded as heretics.

The difference is that the ultra-radicals believe the time to fight the West and the heretics who are friendly to it has already arrived, especially given the West’s spiritual weakness and inability or unwillingness to fight back as it seeks to gratify its earthly desires in this physical world (recently reflected in its willingness to pave Iran’s path to the bomb, its reluctance to put “boots on the ground” in the war against ISIS and the fear of calling the radical Islamic threat by name and preference for the hollow term “violent extremism”). The realists within radical Islam believe that in this stage terror should only be directed at Israel, the West’s “extension in the Middle East,” and not against the West as a whole, which is not yet weak enough for the terror to be effective.

In this regard the struggle that the ultra-radical Islamists are waging against the West and its allies, on the one hand, and the Palestinian struggle against Israel, on the other, complement each other. Their common goal is to destroy the world order that the West created after the First World War, which included the dismantlement of the caliphate, the Sykes-Picot Agreement, and the adoption of the Balfour Declaration at the San Remo Conference as part of the British Mandate. This world order was reinforced after the Second World War, among other things by the decision to establish a Jewish State in Eretz Yisrael, whose implementation in the face of Muslim opposition is still rejected by the Palestinians and by radical Islam in all its variants. Thus, the terror against Israel and the terror against the West are two sides of the same coin from an ideological standpoint as well, not only regarding its methods and the means of fighting it. Israel needs to make this connection clearer to its friends in the West.

What disturbs the Palestinians is that as radical Islam’s direct warfare against the West expands, they lose a key asset for promoting their goals. If, as is becoming increasingly clear, the Palestinian issue is not the heart of the problem, then the West’s expression of regret for its “crimes” on this issue will not solve the greater problem. The request for penance must be much more far-reaching; Iranian President Hassan Rouhani recently made dialogue with the United States conditional on an American request for Iran’s forgiveness. In addition, the more the connection between the two kinds of terror grows, the more the radical Islamic component of the Palestinian rejection of Israel’s existence as the democratic nation-state of the Jewish people and preference for a violent struggle to eliminate it, is exposed. The West would better understand how difficult it is to promote a settlement and may (as Israel would hope) come to understand that the terror against Israel is essentially part and parcel of the terror against the West.

Israel’s outlawing of the northern branch of the Israeli Islamic movement, which is the arm of realistic radical Islam among the Israeli Arabs, is part of the struggle against this radical ideology. Unfortunately, many in the West still think that realistic radical Islam (Rouhani and the Muslim Brotherhood, for example) is a legitimate partner in the fight against the ultra-radical Islamists, and favor it over the pragmatic elements in the Islamic world. I’m afraid that even the current wave of attacks will not suffice to change this mindset.

* * *

A version of this article appeared in Ha’aretz on November 25, 2015

Source: Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs

Wanted: Healthy People to Prop Up Obamacare Ponzi Scheme

Obamacare before and after

Devon Herrick | NCPA

The U.S. health care system is an unsustainable mess. Medical spending is rising at twice the rate of income growth. Medical prices are rising at three times the rate of consumer inflation. National health expenditures are approaching one-fifth of the economy. Currently the government funds about half of health care. In the coming decades, medical spending is on track to crowd out much of the other public services the government provides. There is a solution; we just haven’t tried it yet.

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) was sold to the American people as a means to fix those problems and make health care affordable. The vehicle to achieve this — implausibly — is a requirement that we all must purchase overpriced health insurance. In addition to stipulating the benefit package Americans are allowed to have, ACA regulations also force insurers to accept all enrollees — including people in poor health. Moreover, each person’s premiums must reflect average health in a community rather than individuals’ health status. In insurance parlance this is what’s known as guaranteed issue/community rating. The law does allow charging some people more based on their age, such as charging people in their late 50s more than the rates paid by people in their 20s. But premiums cannot be higher for enrollees with high medical bills.

How does this work in practice? Not very well! For Obamacare to work, an army of young people need to willingly pay $3,000 per year in premiums knowing they will not even come close to reaching their $3,000 deductible. An average of about one baby is born to women sometime in their 20s. But that’s about the only major expense a 20-something will incur. For their part, hoards of healthy 30-somethings all need to all pay $3,500 annually for health coverage that provides them few tangible benefits. Healthy 40-somethings need to chip in $4,000 in premiums for a $4,000 deductible they will never reach; and healthy 50-somethings need to cough up $6,000 in premiums for a $6,000 deductible most of whom will never surpass. Sounds like a bargain, right? To make health care “affordable,” millions of Americans need to spend thousands per year on health coverage that pays virtually none of their medical bills. In other words, access to affordable care under Obamacare is premised on the idea of that most people necessarily must get a raw deal. Obamacare is premised on overcharging most people to offset the higher costs for the few enrollees who would otherwise find their coverage unaffordable if charged premiums based on their own health risk.

Average health spending per capita in the United States is around $8,600 annually. But it’s not distributed evenly. About 80 percent of the enrollees are healthy. They collectively consume only 20 percent of the health care dollars used; about $2,150 per year on average. However, some people are ticking time bombs. The least healthy 20 percent spend an average of about $35,000 yearly.

On average:

  • About 10 percent of the population has health concerns accounting for 17 percent of spending.
  • Another 5 percent have serious health concerns accounting for 16 percent of health spending expenditures.
  • The next 4 percent consumes nearly one-quarter of health care dollars (27 percent), while;
  • The sickest 1 percent of patients accounts for 20 percent of spending.

Think about that for a moment: the sickest 5 percent of the population consumes nearly half of all health care dollars. Of course, most of those are not really genetic losers. Many are merely aged seniors in their last months of life.

Obamacare purposely attempts to make health care affordable by forcing the healthy 80 percent to shoulder more of the costs for the unhealthy 20 percent. But that does not make care affordable; it merely shifts the costs from one party to another. Consider how absurd this is: we could all share the nation’s medical bills if we merely sent a check to the government for $895 a month. That is sufficient to pay an equal share of national health expenditures and includes an extra 20 percent so the government could contract with insurers to negotiate with hospitals, process claims and eke out a profit. Of course, that is not likely to work since a lot of kindergarteners cannot be trusted to pay their fair share out of their lunch money. It also illustrates how much money we are spending as a nation on medical care.

The bottom line: we will never get a handle on runaway health spending until we get a handle on what to do about the 20 percent of the population that consumes 80 percent of health care dollars. We don’t necessarily have to throw them under the bus, or put them on an ice floe to drift out to sea where they die of exposure. Multiple studies have found that about 30 percent of medical care is wasteful, unnecessary or possibly even harmful. If we could better manage the care provided the sickest 20 percent of the population we could possibly reduce expenditures by one-quarter or more.

The perverse way Obamacare attempts to make health care affordable is both unconscionable and ineffective. Moreover, it will do nothing to reduce the rising cost of health care. Rather than disrupt the lives of the 80 percent by overcharging them to prop up an unsustainable health care system, why not improve the way medical care is provided the sickest 20 percent?

An earlier version of this Health Alert appeared on Town Hall.

Source: Health Policy Blog


The Bizarre Explanation For Why The U.S. Has Avoided Bombing ISIS Oil Wells

The Bizarre Explanation For Why The U.S. Has Avoided Bombing ISIS Oil Wells-media-2

Michael Snyder

Why hasn’t the U.S. bombed the oil wells that ISIS controls into oblivion by now?  Would you believe that it is because the Obama administration “didn’t want to do environmental damage”?  Former Deputy Director of the CIA Michael Morell has publicly admitted that we have purposely avoided damaging the main source of income for ISIS, and his explanation for why we were doing this is utterly bizarre.  But at this point what could the Obama administration say that would actually make sense?  Everyone now knows that ISIS has been making hundreds of millions of dollars selling oil in Turkey, and that this has been done with the full knowledge and complicity of the Obama White House.  This is potentially the biggest scandal of the entire Obama presidency, and yet so far the Republicans have not jumped on it.

If you or I even gave five bucks to ISIS, we would be arrested and hauled off to Guantanamo Bay.  And yet Barack Obama is allowing ISIS to funnel massive quantities of oil through our NATO ally Turkey, and he is not doing anything to stop this from happening.  It is a betrayal of the American people that is so vast that it is hard to put into words.

By now, virtually everyone on the entire planet knows exactly what is going on.  For example, Iraq’s former National Security Adviser Mowaffak al-Rubaie shared the following on his Facebook page on Saturday

“First and foremost, the Turks help the militants sell stolen Iraqi and Syrian oil for $20 a barrel, which is half the market price.”

Until Russia started bombing the living daylights out of them, an endless parade of trucks carrying ISIS oil would go back and forth over the Turkish border completely unmolested.  Following the downing of a Russian SU-24 bomber by Turkey in an area where many of these trucks travel, Russian President Vladimir Putin decided to publicly air this dirty laundry.  Just check out what he told reporters following a meeting with French President Francois Hollande last week

Commercial-scale oil smuggling from Islamic State controlled territory into Turkey must be stopped, Putin said after meeting Hollande in Moscow.

Vehicles, carrying oil, lined up in a chain going beyond the horizon,” said Putin, reminding the press that the scale of the issue was discussed at the G20 summit in Antalya earlier this month, where the Russian leader demonstrated reconnaissance footage taken by Russian pilots.

The views resemble a living oil pipe stretched from ISIS and rebel controlled areas of Syria into Turkey, the Russian President stressed. Day and night they are going to Turkey. Trucks always go there loaded, and back from there – empty.

We are talking about a commercial-scale supply of oil from the occupied Syrian territories seized by terrorists. It is from these areas [that oil comes from], and not with any others. And we can see it from the air, where these vehicles are going,” Putin said.

If the Russians could see all of this, the U.S. military could see it too.  In fact, we have far better surveillance capabilities than the Russians do.

So why didn’t Obama put an end to this?

Well, as I mentioned above, former Deputy Director of the CIA Michael Morell told PBS that the Obama administration didn’t want “to create environmental damage”, and he insists that the oil wells are “infrastructure that’s going to be necessary to support the people when ISIS isn’t there anymore”.  The following comes from the Daily Caller

Appearing on PBS’s “Charlie Rose” on Tuesday, Rose pointed out that before the terrorist attacks in Paris, the U.S. had not bombed ISIS-controlled oil tankers.

Morell explained, “Prior to Paris, there seemed to be a judgment that … look, we don’t want to destroy these oil tankers because that’s infrastructure that’s going to be necessary to support the people when ISIS isn’t there anymore, and it’s going to create environmental damage. And we didn’t go after oil wells — actually hitting oil wells that ISIS controls because we didn’t want to do environmental damage and we didn’t want to destroy that infrastructure, right.”

In case you think that this is some sort of a joke, you can watch video of Morell making these comments on PBS below

After the horrific terror attacks in Paris, the Obama administration finally was shamed into bombing a few of these oil trucks.  But 45 minutes before the U.S. military bombed them, they dropped leaflets telling the truck drivers to “get out of your trucks now and run away from them”.

The Bizarre Explanation For Why The U.S. Has Avoided Bombing ISIS Oil Wells-media-3

What kind of “war on terror” are we running?

Why in the world would we want to warn the terrorists to get away from their trucks?

Meanwhile, things between Russia and Turkey continue to get even more tense.  The Russians have slapped severe economic sanctions on the Turks, they have shut down all channels of communication with Turkey’s military, and they are bombing every Turkish vehicle that they can find inside Syria.  The following comes from a report that was put out by Debka

In the last two days, Putin has been found saying one thing and doing another: Although he declared that Russia would not go to war with Turkey for “stabbing it in the back”, debkafile’s military and intelligence sources report that since Wednesday night, Nov. 25, Russian heavy bombers and warplanes have been hitting every Turkish vehicle moving or stationary inside Syria.

They bombed the Bab al-Hawa border crossing, located on the Turkey-Syria frontier, as well trailers and tractors parked in an area belonging to the Turkish Humanitarian Relief Foundation, on the Syrian side of the border.

As I wrote about the other day, it has been documented that our NATO ally Turkey has been “training ISIS militants, funneling weapons to them, buying their oil, and tending to their wounded in Turkish hospitals”.  Now, heavy bombing by the Russians threatens to cut off those links

In addition to punishing the Turkish leader, Russia’s massive military operations in Syria aim to degrade the rebel groups fighting the Assad regime. Heavy bombing sorties this week on the Syrian-Turkish border are cutting off tens of thousands of rebels from their only source of fresh supplies of weapons, ammo, food and fighters, leaving them without a line of retreat and nowhere to send their wounded.

At this point, Russia and Turkey are very close to a state of war.

But as a member of NATO, the United States is obligated to help protect Turkey if a full-blown shooting war does break out.

We are closer to World War III than we have been in decades, and yet most Americans are still completely and totally oblivious to what is taking place.

Hopefully cooler heads will prevail, because things over in the Middle East threaten to spiral completely and totally out of control.

Source: Economics Collapse Blog

The Farce of the Paris Climate Change Summit

CO2 Fraud

Institute for Energy Research

This week, 118 national leaders will be meeting in Paris for the climate change summit where President Obama will be proselytizing about his EPA’s so-called Clean Power Plan, among other U.S. regulations affecting energy use in the United States. The Clean Power Plan requires carbon dioxide emissions from the electric power sector to be reduced by 32 percent by 2030 from 2005 levels. While the EPA argues its rule is virtually costless, other forecasters have found it to increase electricity prices in all 47 states affected by the rule. In fact, 40 states are expected to see electricity price increases in the double digits. More than half our states are expected to see electricity price increases of more than 20 percent. President Obama promised to hurt American electricity consumers by escalating prices, which will lower global carbon dioxide emissions by less than 1 percent and will reduce temperatures in 2100 by a mere 0.02 degrees Celsius. That’s a lot of expense for nearly no gain.

But President Obama is not stopping there. He has met with Chinese and Indian officials to try to get their collaboration in reducing greenhouse gas emissions. China is now the number one carbon dioxide emitting nation and India will eventually surpass the United States in carbon dioxide emissions. However, these governments want to develop their economies and provide power to their residents without it, so they have not committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions, but rather having them peak at a future date or to reduce the intensity of their emissions (i.e. the amount of carbon dioxide emitted per unit of GDP).

China has agreed to peak its carbon dioxide emissions around 2030 and increase the non-fossil fuel share of all energy to around 20 percent by that date.[i] Under the deal, China is allowed to emit 2.5 times as much carbon dioxide as the United States will be allowed to emit in 2030, when China may begin to reduce its emissions. What is even more frustrating is that China’s data is suspect. China’s National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) recently admitted that it had underestimated coal consumption, which the country now says is 17 percent higher than originally thought.[ii] (See graphs below.)

Chinese coal consumption

Source: Energy Information Administration (EIA),

India is not proposing to reduce its carbon dioxide emissions, but instead to reduce the intensity of its carbon dioxide emissions by 33 percent to 35 percent from 2005 levels by 2030. India also says that it will produce 40 percent of its electricity from non-fossil-fuel sources (nuclear, hydropower, wind, and solar power) by 2030[iii], if it receives assistance from Western countries.[iv] This reduction means that its carbon dioxide emissions would still triple by 2030. If India triples its emissions by 2030, it will be emitting 13 percent more carbon dioxide emissions than the emissions that the Energy Information Administration (EIA) expects the United States to emit in that year.[v]

Further, President Obama has consolidated a deal with officials from the Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), reaching an agreement to end global financing of new coal power plants that will restrict inexpensive generating technology for developing nations. The agreement will end export credits for coal plant technology, which many poor nations rely on to bring low cost electricity to its residents. Despite cuts to global subsidies not beginning until 2017, the deal is expected to kill 850 planned coal plant projects around the world, cutting funding for export credits for 85 percent of new coal plant projects going forward.[vi] This agreement puts a damper on Japan and other countries supporting coal power investments in developing countries, though there is a compromise in the agreement that permits funding of advanced technology plants that employ emission reduction technologies such as carbon capture.[vii] Incidentally, neither China nor India are part of the OECD, and thus would not be bound by such restrictions if they choose to finance the export of their coal technologies to developing nations.

President Obama and the Democratic candidates running for President of the United States believe that climate change is our number one challenge and that it is related to the growth in terrorism. However, global surface temperature has risen only about 0.8°C in the last 125 years, which can be the expected temperature variation if one drives just 150 miles south.[viii] The ludicrousness of putting climate change as the nation or world’s number one challenge is costly, and will only result in Americans suffering for no real global gain.

It is a curious situation that the richest, most energy consuming nations on Earth seek to reach an agreement that would stop poorer developing nations from experiencing the rapid and sustained growth that history shows energy provides for people and their economies. While such an agreement would concentrate more power in the hands of national leaders and the companies and businesses they favor, it would undeniably hurt the poorest people in the world, and in the case of the United States, hurt the poorest among us. Paris is for the elites, who seem to want to have nothing to do with the working men and women of the world who aspire for a better future for their children.

[i] White House, Fact Sheet: U.S.-China Joint Announcement on Climate Change and Clean Energy Cooperation, November 11, 2014, and IER,

[ii] New York Times, China Burns Much More Coal Than Originally Reported, Complicating Climate Talks, November 3, 2015,

[iii] New York Times, India Announces Plan to Lower Rate of Greenhouse Gas Emissions, October 1, 2015, and IER,

[iv] Climate Wire, India, long an obstruction in climate talks, pledges to cut its CO2 intensity by up to 35%, October 2, 2015,


[vi] Daily Caller, Obama, World Leaders Cut Off Cheap Energy Options for Poor Nations, November 19, 2015,

[vii] Bloomberg Business, In Coal Setback, Rich Nations Agree to End Export Credits, November 17, 2015,

[viii] Huffington Post, Does Climate Change Actually Fuel Terrorism?, November 18, 2015,