We like the big, crazy military spending here. The Ford-class carrier and the new B-21 bomber are very cool things. And they're designed to wage massive war. But what if spending on these machines actually hurts the US military's ability to fight? That's the argument made by Lt. Gen. Peter McAleer in a piece at War On The Rocks.
McAleer argues that spending on the Ford-class carriers, the B-21, and the replacements for the Ohio-class ballistic missile subs for some future high-intensity conflict is hurting our ability to fight in today's smaller engagements. That position is fair, but McAleer, who is the Marine Corps Commandant's fellow at the Center for a New American Security, makes an even bigger and better point about why carriers and missile subs are bad for business – our enemies never put themselves in a position where we can use these big-name weapons systems.
Instead, McAleer argues we should be spending on "a diverse range of dynamic forces and assets to effectively counter adversary challenges along the full spectrum of conflict, particularly in those contests that may occur below our conventional strategic thresholds."
These are, admittedly, grossly simplified versions of McAleer's arguments. They're explained in much more eloquent and expanded detail over at War On The Rocks. The entire piece is certainly worth a read, blending the military vehicles we love with a dose of strategic budgeting and geopolitics. Check it out.