After yesterday's post - I started thinking of what in living memory we thought of when someone said "mothballs."
Some think, still, that if history takes a turn - well - we can always do what our father's, grandfathers, and great-grandfathers did; pull from the reserves, rehab the mothball fleet, and get the shipyards pop'n.
We know the status of our shipyards in the second decade of the 21st Century. What spare capacity we once had is gone; the ability to flex has been lost in a sea of regulation, bureaucracy and a loss of technical expertise inside a desert that was once a robust industrial infrastructure.
The crime that is the treatment of the Navy Reserve is a topic we have covered before. I'm unmediated, so I don't want to go down that rabbit hole again.
Look hard at the pic to the right - then I want you to click the links below.
Prior to WWII, Korea, and even Vietnam, there were viable ships waiting to fill the gap as new ships were built or developed - ready for the reserve Sailors and trained Seamen to fill the void and man the units paid for by an nation who had the ability to take on bundles of debt that war requires, because in peace they kept spending in check.
This data-point from this slideshow got me pondering;
The fleet once numbered over 400 but in the last decade the count has been around 75 shipsFunny thing is - I'm trying to find some light in this hole we dug for ourselves, and I'll find one to post about soon, I hope.
For now though, let us ponder the reality we have - not the one we wish we had. The next Navy war when it comes - and it will - we will fight with the Fleet we have, and no more. That will be it. No reserve fleet to activate. No allies to flesh us out. No, just us. That will be it.
Under the Obama administration, the US Maritime Administration has stepped up efforts to dispose of these ships. By 2017, they will all be removed and scrapped.Indeed.