Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Navy Chief Contemplates Two Major Crises

In this DefenseNews article, Chief of Naval Operations (CNO) Admiral Gary Roughead fully "gets it" re: energy security and the USN. He is also coming to grips with the full implications of the US financial crisis re: Navy budgets. On the former, Roughead:
... told a packed auditorium at the Surface Navy Association's annual symposium [last week] that he has been studying the operating costs of the Navy's latest ships, and the prospect of high fuel and operating costs decades from now "scares the heck out of me." The world is running out of oil, he said. "If we don't get serious about energy, we're delivering a terrible future to our children." To stave that off, the Navy needs to put its maximum effort toward making its ships as efficient as possible, Roughead said. "It's not just going to be trailing another shaft or turning off lights in more spaces."
On the later, I'd recommend a recent piece by National Defense Magazine President Larry Farrell called "The Future Has Arrived, Sooner than Expected", in which he cites a report by  the fiscal watchdog Peter G. Peterson Foundation:
[the report] paints a frightening outlook. It notes that the United States only balanced its budget six times in the last 50 years. Further, with the retirement of the baby boomers, the nation’s finances will soon run aground on the shoals of unfunded liabilities. If revenues continue at 18.3 percent of GDP, by 2027 they will not even cover net interest on the debt, Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. The government will be forced to borrow for everything else — education, defense, homeland security and other essential programs. 
The newspapers said Obama was somewhere between sober and somber today as began his first full day trying to slay the myriad dragons at the nation's door. That's where I am too. But no matter what, it is definitely good news that the CNO has his eyes wide open on energy issues and challenges. 

Photo: US Navy

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