May 4th, 2010
02:47 AM ET

Gates warns of emerging threats to U.S. Navy

U.S. adversaries are developing sophisticated and longer-range combat systems that will threaten the U.S. Navy's dominance in the regions vital to U.S. security interests, U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates said Monday.

Speaking to Navy officers and civilians at a U.S. Navy association's annual expo, Gates said countries like Iran and China are developing systems that could destroy new classes of Navy ships and aircraft and cost the U.S. billions of dollars in losses.

"Potential adversaries are investing in weapons designed to neutralize U.S. advantages, to deny our military freedom of action while potentially threatening America's primary means of projecting power," Gates said.

He said these countries are developing these weapons to, "neutralize U.S. advantages," because they cannot afford to build the number of ships required to challenge this country.

Gates said Hezbollah used anti-ship missiles against Israel's navy during the 2006 Lebanon war, and Iran is combining ballistic and cruise missiles,anti-ship missiles, mines, and swarming speedboats to challenge the U.S. Navy in the Persian Gulf.

soundoff (127 Responses)
  1. tk ellis

    The greatest militsry in the world. Gates what are you doing? Scare tactics...look we have the most sophisticated network in the world to identify these threats. Are you asking for more money? China, Iran they might be building these type of threats but we have the technology to defend our Navy. Gates are you saying that our country is not being mission ready for all of these years? That is why the Navy is in these areas of the world at our cost. To provide security and show the flag. Gates we have satellites and AWACS thancan detect within seconds any threat in the world. Do not undermine our military might with your cry for help with the American taxpayer. Gates don't let us down...we have had freedomn for all of these years. Is Obama telling you something or you telling him that our country might be in trouble...Reagan, Bush would never let this happen...don't you !!!

    May 4, 2010 at 8:00 am | Report abuse |
  2. Joe

    Mike you hit the nail right on the head... Matt would have benefited greatly IF ONLY HE HAD paid attention in British history class. The British had not rearmed themselves after WWI and were terribly behind on all levels of their military. Churchill was considered a warmonger the second he even suggested GB should rearm... No British were in any hurry to join another war after the staggering losses from WWI. When the British did decid to enter the war they were hopelessly behind the Axis and the US, although had not entered the war yet, gave its ally Great Britain the ships and other supplies it so desparately needed. The US, Canada and Great Britain are and always will be allies, Matt and Crazy Canadian...you're with us whether you like it or not... Look at the available alternative friends around the globe... you want to goose step or face mecca?

    May 4, 2010 at 8:02 am | Report abuse |
  3. Just a Sailor

    I read this article and was shocked by the reactions. I think everyone is forgetting something. The Sailors on US ships in harms way are at the disadvatange. Sarcasim only protects the US so long. I guess this recent attempt at terrorism in the US has allowed other americans to forget we are still at war with terrorist from many countries. They do not care who the hurt or kill as long as it is americans. Again, they are making attempts on american soil.

    May 4, 2010 at 8:02 am | Report abuse |
  4. Sunil

    You Canadians are superb at hockey and making beer. Unfortunately, no one has attacked Canada since WWII And that is the last time anyone from Canada really had to kick some serious ass. We're damn lucky to have you guys as our northern neighbors and allies and wouldn't trade you for anybody.

    On the flip side, sorry guys, but no one is afraid of a country with a maple leaf as its flag. If it wasn't for America being the world's police and stepping up to do it while Europe sticks its head in the sand most of the time, we would all be speaking German and eating fish heads and rice. If it hadn't been for NATO recently stepping in when it did, the Russians would have probably annexed Georgia back.

    Our boneheaded politicians have continued to fund an expensive Russian style cold-war defense against rogue states and terrorists groups and it is now beginning to catch up with us. The fielding of the Stryker Brigades and the Littoral Combat vessels are the first signs of life that they are beginning to change their Jurassic way of thinking. Building another aircraft carrier or another ballistic missile sub is not going to help in any way to defeat terrorists. Smaller, faster, and larger number of cheaper weapons systems have to the way to go now.

    China will not attack us because we have a symbiotic relationship with them. They are a manufacturer and we are their buyer. We need each other. And because of horrible trade imbalances, they could pretty much shut down this whole country with out firing one shot. All they would need to do is cut us off from their manufacturing goods and we would be finished in a few months.

    May 4, 2010 at 8:02 am | Report abuse |
  5. Sybaris

    It won't be long before ubiquitous surveillance and cheap, mass produced anti-* weaponry will make our conventional platforms obsolete

    May 4, 2010 at 8:03 am | Report abuse |
  6. Just a Sailor

    I forgot to add, I know I feel better taking the fight to the enemy on their soil then here in america. This prevents my fellow americans from dying here on US soil.

    May 4, 2010 at 8:05 am | Report abuse |
  7. Canada..LOL

    Canada, lol..

    Now that's funny, but be careful with you comments, before I tell your Queen about your harsh comments about America, lol...

    May 4, 2010 at 8:06 am | Report abuse |
  8. US Vet

    I read comments here and all I see is a war of words....remember that is what real war is spawned by. A lot of times war is only an extension of a diplomatic failure, often times after a bout of saber rattling that ends in a draw.

    Do not get me wrong I am a US Veteran through and through. I believe in a strong military, but I also believe in education and talent being used in deploying that military. And in the last 3 administrations I have not seen this.

    Historically there are three things American politicians know nothing about, economics/Finance, use and deployment of the military, and managing relations with foreign governments. They all should be required to go through school time for one term after the election before they are given ANY powers in these areas so they (our politicians are fully competent in these matters.

    Sooooooooooooooooo.....bite your tongues and cross your fingers stop pointing at each other and really try to work things out....even here.... or more innocents will end up dead no matter how right, wrong, foolish, or righteous the battle is. Failure to even to try to work together = lost lives in any facet of our world.

    May 4, 2010 at 8:06 am | Report abuse |
  9. Joe

    @ George... Nice plan to cut our military and put our heads in the sand.. But in the real world the US has real enemies that are waiting for our branches to weaken. You have the liberty to say 'nobody will attack us' ... yeah, no kidding and why do you think that is? Pfffft. Gates is doing a wonderful job keeping us on top; the second we are caught slipping our enemies will pounce on this fact. They have 'think tanks' working 24 hours a day figuring out how to knock the big kid off the block...why would you want to gift wrap it for them? Kapeesh, George?

    May 4, 2010 at 8:09 am | Report abuse |
  10. jc

    "Despite the lack of a considerable Naval encounter with another nation in decades." ??? No, we don't fire cannons back and forth anymore, but the NAVY's role is much more than that. Transportation of equipment, air support...heck, we can even launch missles that travel hundreds of miles to their targets.

    May 4, 2010 at 8:11 am | Report abuse |
  11. Mark H.

    Laughable... and I'm talking about the sheer ignorance on display here. The Navy will get new defense systems to counter the new threats. Aircraft Carriers are most definitely not 'obsolete' precisely because they can operate miles from shore. I'm sure a bunch of Iranians in speedboats are no real threat to the Navy whatsoever. I find this whole exercise amusing... Gates is just prepping people for the introduction of new weapons programs. The Navy will not be replaced by a bunch of Commandos riding wave runners. As for China... What are they supposed to do, build an ineffective Navy? Of course their ships will have offensive capabilities, and they will be different/more advanced than soviet-era weapons systems. Anybody who believes the U.S. military is in crisis should seriously examine their own life and figure out what is missing... worrying about our Navy's vulnerability is a very idiotic waste of time. We could just re-instate the old battleships if we really are worried about these new 'threats' and see if the Iranian Navy can sink one. Bwahahahaha. Recommission the New Jersey, I say.

    May 4, 2010 at 8:13 am | Report abuse |
  12. Mobius

    Maybe Gates finally realizes what a disaster the F-35 program is. Also, these 'emerging threats' have already been developed, produced and proliferated all across Asia, parts of the Middle East and even places like Venezuela. I wish i didn't feel like the government should have been prepared for this in like...the 90s.

    May 4, 2010 at 8:16 am | Report abuse |
  13. James

    As an American it is appalling to see another poster attack another because of the way they talk or the country that they are from.

    This article is another tool used to instill fear into Americans so that our government can be "justified" in spending more time and money to grow the military so they can use and abuse other countries.

    To those who call Americans naive, this is true of a majority of the people in this country who take the word of "mainstream news" as gospel but it not true for the whole population. It is unfortunate that those that are naive can easily be persuaded to vote for the officials that spend the most money on their campaign. This means we are stuck with officials that do not serve in the best interest of the country. They are slaves to their contributors as they believe, and are correct in the most part, that they are the key to being elected instead of serving the needs of the people.

    May 4, 2010 at 8:17 am | Report abuse |
  14. Duncan

    "Canada man. Don't be jealous that our country is awesome, and yours is confused "aboot" what language you should speak. "

    LOL says the man from a country where you can't make English an official language because it will upset people and where you can't get a job in places like Miami unless you speak Spanish. The US is not at all confused about languages since you will mostly be speaking Spanish soon.

    May 4, 2010 at 8:19 am | Report abuse |
  15. george

    @ Joe

    Why are you so scared of every one else? There are fanatics and dilluisonal people out there, so some military projection and finance is necessary, but 100s of billions?!? That money could be better spend. Wars like WWII are a thing of the past... Chinese soldiers aren't going to be knocking on your front door...ever. Stop thinking the boogie man is out to get you. Put the gun away and we can start thinking about advanceing humans as a species. (I say we go to gliese 581c)

    May 4, 2010 at 8:20 am | Report abuse |
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