“Pirate attacks hit an all-time high worldwide” reads an MSNBC headline and the accompanying story reports: “Piracy hit an all-time high worldwide in the first three months of 2011 led by a surge in incidents off the coast of Somalia.” President Obama should know something about pirates. One of his first actions as Commander in Chief was giving the green light for Navy Seals to kill the pirates who kidnapped Captain Richard Phillips U.S.-flagged Maersk Alabama in the Indian Ocean.
But how did those Navy Seals get there? They sure didn’t sail there on solar powered paddle boats. They fired the shots from the USS Bainbridge, a massive Navy destroyer commissioned in 2005 and the fifth ship to carry the name. But the current Bainbridge is being stretched further than any of her predecessors. The Navy has now fewer ships than at any time since 1916. And if Obama gets his way that number is only going to shrink.
In his debt speech yesterday, Obama specifically target defense spending including an additional $400 billion in cuts. Defense Secretary Robert Gates was given just one days notice about Obama’s cuts and Pentagon press secretary Geoff Morrell told the AP: “The secretary has been clear that further significant defense cuts cannot be accomplished without reducing force structure and military capability.”
The United States needs secure global commerce to survive. And the United States Navy needs an adequate surface fleet to provide maritime security. Obama’s budget is a clear and present danger to our economic survival.