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. Chris

    Lets not forget that Gernamy was France's biggest trading partner right up until the time that Germany invaded....and Germany was a big trading partner for Russia right up until Germany invaded that country as well. Countries don't always have to use reason to attack another country.

    May 4, 2010 at 8:22 am | Report abuse |
  2. Joe

    So what's your plan to keep America safe, James? (bet you don't have one do you lil fellah) Pffft... Mainstream Media...use your brain, read some history books. Don't blame Foxnews and CNN for creating warmongering or liberal bedwetting... In the end, you can use common sense. The US will NOT be the superpower for a 1000 year Reich...so don't worry. Whether we last for 20 more years or 200 depends on what we do today. Straying from the policies and national interests that made our country great is a wonderful start to start tearing at our foundations.

    May 4, 2010 at 8:24 am | Report abuse |
  3. Robert

    Hey, let's not diss Canada because we disagree with one Canadian. I have been to Canada on many vacations and found them warm and welcoming. Their country is beautiful and they are proud of it. And,they are welcoming to the citizens of the super power down the block. So, let's not diss one of our best friends in the hemisphere. Instead, go to Canada on vacation and enjoy their friendship.

    May 4, 2010 at 8:24 am | Report abuse |
  4. Joe

    @George ... unlike Grimm's fairytales... real life has real boogeymen. US has enemies, if you don't realize that...then I suggest you quit reading blogs on CNN and get out there. $100B USD or $1000000B USDbon military spending...who knows the price. That's why we elect the right people to police this. If you didnt vote then quit crying that's your fault. What I think we can all agree on when the world's last superpower begins to waiver, there are plans in place all over the globe to capitalize on it. Nobody is scared of anything, George. Only that we have people like you that will eventually weaken us to the point where there is no turning back.

    May 4, 2010 at 8:31 am | Report abuse |
  5. admiral 149

    This country has never been prepared for any of the big wars that we have fought. World War One and WW2, saw this nation saved mostly because of our distance from our enemies. The Atlantic and Pacific Oceans gave us time to retool our manufacturing and get into the business of war. Right now it seems we are losing our ability to manufacture, and heavy industries are going off shore to countries that would like to fight us if given the opportunity. The only opportunity needed by a possible adversary would be our perceived weakness. The great might of our military is what keeps the world safe, especially when rogue Islamic states would just love to start WW3. The world is becoming much more dangerous for us largely due to our reluctance to use the military in a decisive way to deal with Iran and North Kprea. These countries are testing the current administration by developing nuclear weapons when two years ago they denied the existence of these weapons. These people hate us not for what we do, but, for the personal freedom we export around the world. This world will be unsafe until the last dictator with a nuclear capability has been put out of business. It seems that there are more, not less, of these creeps coming alone. Chavez is turning Venezuela into a complete dictatorship right in our back yard. Negotiating with this nuts makes just about a much sense as having a nice chat with Hitler, and Stalin seventy years ago. Lets not forget that China, the worlds new super power is really a dictatorship. This is not a good time to cut the U.S. Navy.

    May 4, 2010 at 8:36 am | Report abuse |
  6. george

    @ JOE

    If everyone thought like you, the Cold War would never end.... You're type of thinking is the reason why there will always be pitiful conflct between humans.

    May 4, 2010 at 8:38 am | Report abuse |
  7. Michael O

    Canada deserves credit for their contributions. While I've been intensely loyal to America it's clearly time that we stop sticking our nose in the business of other countries. We should fix our own system – as good as it is – it's terribly flawed with reckless government officials that are interested only in perpetuating their own power. Americans need to get off their asses, educate themselves, investigate the people who represent them in congress, and participate in government through their vote. We get what we deserve because we're too lazy to participate in our own government. If we fix what's broken here in the US we won't have the time or resources to meddle in the affairs of other countries – and they may then not be so hell bent on wiping us off the map.

    May 4, 2010 at 8:38 am | Report abuse |
  8. Tim

    If china attacked us We would have our hands full.

    May 4, 2010 at 8:42 am | Report abuse |
  9. just a crazy and very literate non-canadian, non-american

    Gotta love the hidden implications here:

    "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."

    Hence it's cheaper just to nuke 'em all to the stone age, thus ensuring the destruction of both their defensive and offensive weapons, as well as any potential terrorist for the next few generations. o_O

    Given all the mutual hubris between the US and Iran during the nuclear disarming summit yesterday, the timing couldn't be better...

    May 4, 2010 at 8:42 am | Report abuse |
  10. Tim

    sure they post the small bit I wrote but not the long thought out one. nice cnn nice.

    May 4, 2010 at 8:43 am | Report abuse |
  11. Insurgent

    To all you maple syrup eating Canadians whose a_s we've been protecting forever–when we want your two cent opinion about OUR military, we'll GIVE it to you. Meanwhile, get back to your French crepe speaking, socialist, screwed-up utopia you love so much, "eh?"

    May 4, 2010 at 8:44 am | Report abuse |
  12. Tim L

    @George. You’re an idiot; well just not you many on here are that think the navy isn’t needed. Do you all think that there would be peace if the navy\US military was cut in half or didn’t exist at all. You say there is no need for subs. Our navy is a deterrent to thwart any acts of aggression. They are the first line of defense. The us navy throughout its history has always been about peace not war. Believe it or not to the best of my knowledge The US hasn’t ever gone to war without being attacked. Well Vietnam but that was police action not a war. Not my words there ex-vets and am also a vet. Anyone shooting at you is war. Our military give us the freedom, to comment on articles like this. Without a strong military presence people would attack all the time. The only reason those who do attack are saying they are not afraid to take on the biggest bully on the block. We don’t force democracy on anyone; we do how ever want everyone to enjoy the freedoms we have to do what we want when we want to do it. Unlike the extremist who say if you don’t follow Islam then you are an infidel that deserves to die a dogs death.

    May 4, 2010 at 8:48 am | Report abuse |
  13. Michael O

    Insurgent – Your the new definition of ignorant.

    May 4, 2010 at 8:48 am | Report abuse |
  14. Michael O

    Insurgent – You're also uneducated – The Canadian monetary system survived this world-wide economic fiasco much better than ours did because they were prudent. Your mouth is the type that gets America the bad reputation.

    May 4, 2010 at 8:52 am | Report abuse |
  15. JERRYO

    25 YEARS AFTER THE FAULKLANDS WAR AND THEY STILL DIDN'T LEARN THEIR LESSON: LOCAL COASTAL DEFENSES WITH MISSILES WILL DEFEAT A SURFACE SHIP ATTACK. ONLY REASON BRITAIN SURVIVE THAT WAR ARGINTINA RAN OUT OF MISSILES!

    May 4, 2010 at 8:52 am | Report abuse |
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