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. Steve

    Who pulled the strings on all these Canadians?

    May 4, 2010 at 9:18 am | Report abuse |
  2. jeff

    To all the naysayers who think it is not wise to spend money on advances in technology for our military and our service members, think again. The "Best" defense is a strong "Offense," plain and simple. Our military is sorely lacking since they down-sized, and a lot of young men and women would do well to enlist at this time due to the fact that there is not much out in the workplace available. Many programs are available for a 4 year stint, especially college money. If i sound pro-military, well i'm am, i retired after 23 years in the Navy and was proud to serve and proud of the men and women i served with. If you don't like America.......then leave.

    May 4, 2010 at 9:21 am | Report abuse |
  3. Sailor

    Those of you who are angry because you see this as a justification for a tax hike, etc, are taking this out of context. Of course, because CNN is also taking it out of context and only showing you what they want you to see. In reality, SEFDEF was speaking about the perils of the current US Navy acquisition programs. In a time of fiscal constraint, and changing threat environments, it may not be good business to continue building billion dollar destroyers and having 11+ aircraft carriers.
    This wasn't a speech made as a rallying cry for building stuff...this was a warning to the Department of the Navy to get it's house in order, or he'll put it in order for them.

    May 4, 2010 at 9:24 am | Report abuse |
  4. jeff

    Just to add another comment about anyone knocking Canada or the Canadian Military, we participate in many joint operations with the Canadians. They are our staunchist allies, by far. The Canadian military is very well equipped and capable, yet they choose their battles wisely, maybe our leaders should take note?

    May 4, 2010 at 9:26 am | Report abuse |
  5. james

    Unbelievable. Do any of you know WHY no one has challenged us on the high seas? Because we have a deterrent called the U.S. NAVY. Welcome to the real world where the country carrying the biggest stick has the luxury of the intimidation factor. Had we not had the intimidation factor and all the money to create it, we would have been doomed long ago. This is reality, this is the real world, not some theory you studied in a classromm some where. WAKE UP YOU IGNORANT LIBERALS and if your president, the blamer in chief, has anything more to do about it, we will be as weak as a third world country. Can't wait until November because all you libs will have fun picking your jaws up off the floor from such an overwhelming defeat. America is talking but the prez is not listening. Pelosi, Reid, Obama – BYE BYE

    May 4, 2010 at 9:29 am | Report abuse |
  6. Ahmed

    the U.S. – Biggest Terrorists in the world.
    Hiroshima – How many innocent civilians killed?
    Nagasaki – How many innocent civilians killed?
    Vietnam – How many innocent civilians killed?
    Iraq – How many innocent civilians killed?
    Afghanistan – How many innocent civilians killed?

    This is just a small glimpse of the terrorism inflicted on other peoples who are shown to be less than human. Hypocrites!!!!!! what happened to "All men (meaning men and women) are created equal??? Are American humans deserving of more rights than those who are non-American?? Is it ok to kill other humans without justice? Look at it from all perspectives!!!

    May 4, 2010 at 9:30 am | Report abuse |
  7. Robert

    Defense spending consumed 19% of the 2010 U.S budget, but we rarely hear about cutting defense to balance the budget. The U.S. is far more likely to implode due to financial collapse then from any external military threat. Osama Bin Laden understands this and has stated his goal is to defeat America by bankrupting us.

    May 4, 2010 at 9:31 am | Report abuse |
  8. Dirtydingo

    The US has always responded to the needs of other countries whenever there has been a natural disaster or event causing suffering to their populations. As an American we are faced with a double edged sword of world opinion where we are the hand of military might and unbound agression to some, but we are the first nation to be called on for help and critisized by the same nations we aid. We really can't win. We will have our enemies who do threaten us. and make threats against our people. It's not alright to make threats of violence against Americans just on the fact that they are Americans. Our military is here to protect the citizens of this country and those of our allies. The idea of the military is simple. They will meet any threat anywhere and eliminate the threat. I think the real message is not that China and Iran will be making any moves to build bigger ships or navies but they have and will change the concepts of naval power by creating a fleet of small fast vessels that can carry missles or other ordinance to hit bigger more expensive targets such as capital ships of the US navy. Since they can't go one for one they adapt new tactics to reflect what they are capable of and willing to sacrifice to achieve it. Our Navy must adapt to that change and to do so we must change tactics and the ships we use. As we have seen there are no more battleships . They once were the most powerful ships on the seas but technology has changed and so have the tactics of naval warfare. They are obsolete. As the world situation changes our military will always need to have the flexability to meet those challenges. That is why we should really take the time to examine our military strengths and weaknesses to address those threats and spend our funding wisely. By using American companies to build the new military we will create new jobs and help our own economy.

    May 4, 2010 at 9:31 am | Report abuse |
  9. Nick d

    I always laugh when people complain that we should not have a military capable of enforcing our will around the world. The entire system that you live and breathe under is a product of America's superiority in the world, and our enforcement of the global system that yields such an incredible bounty. Don't think so? What would happen without the United States Navy? Folks would be free to establish regional hegemonies that would isolate countries and resources, denying vital goods and services which our economy needs to keep chugging along and in turn, provide for our standard of living and way of life.
    The liberal who complains the loudest would be the first to die of starvation if the quality of life we enjoy ever decreased. Think about it.....

    May 4, 2010 at 9:31 am | Report abuse |
  10. Crazy in USA

    to my Candian brothers, Tuff talk huh? really dude, take it easy on us Pooh American's.. Just remember when the crap hits the fan in Canada, who's gonna haul your buts out of the fire? France??? Don't think so.. Just becarefull what you wish for with your "Wash away" comment, you may get it, and then some.

    May 4, 2010 at 9:33 am | Report abuse |
  11. America

    To Matt from England. Glad to hear the Canadians joined WWII right away and sorry it took us a little longer to join the fight. You need to also keep in mind that if we didn't join the fight you would be speaking German right now instead of English. Just keep that in mind every time you open your mouth you are speaking English because we came and saved your country from the Germans.

    May 4, 2010 at 9:35 am | Report abuse |
  12. Ahmed

    Fear Allah (God) – You think you are something but in the reality of things you are less than a grain on sand!! Think about the Earth in comparison to the rest of Allah's creation! You think that you will not receive compensation for the injustice which is inflicted? Those who support it will be in the same position as those who perpetrate it! Enjoin good and forbid evil. We will all die one day and go back to our creator and answer for what we have done.

    May 4, 2010 at 9:38 am | Report abuse |
  13. bubba

    Look around your house, your garage, your kids toys, your office. You will notice that two thirds of the everyday household or office products are manufactured in China. It is not likely that China will ever attack America because they would have no economy in the aftermath.
    Iran is an entirely different matter. Their leader is as evil as Hitler. He denies that the Holocaust happened and he called 9/11 a myth. He has snubbed Mr. Obama's attempt with diplomacy. He has verbally threateded isreal. He is likely building nuclear weapons for the purpose of destroying Isreal. He is not operating in a sane and sensible manner.
    H is dangerously deluded.
    It is reasonable to expect that there will be a day that America will have to deal with Iran. Iran is our mortal enemy. For that reason, I vigorusly urge our government to build bigger, faster more lethal warships and aircraft and when we finally meet Iran on the battlefeild and the high seas, use these weapons in a potent and convincing manner.

    May 4, 2010 at 9:39 am | Report abuse |
  14. Li Tai Fang

    Aircraft carriers are good for military power projection when you have control of the sea, but in the 21st century they are not a cost-effective weapon to gain control of the sea in the first place.
    Just the presence of a few modern submarines can place serious restriction of the carrier group's movement. Modern stealthy submarines armed with long-range cruise missiles, with intelligence from satellites, the carrier groups cannot hide with their high profile.
    The submarines cost far far less than a carrier group.

    May 4, 2010 at 9:40 am | Report abuse |
  15. Ahmed

    You want to live in security? You like security? Bring all the troops home and place them on every block!!!! you will have all the security you will ever need!!! continue living your lives in fear you people who fear death. Why do you fear death? Is it because you continue to deny your Creator and are afraid of what's to come! As science continues to prove over and over again that this magnificient order in the universe is not something which is occuring due to some randomness! There is a power behind it. That power, the ultimate power is Allah. Believe in him and submit to him in Islam before your soul is taken and you face the ultimate infinite judgment.

    May 4, 2010 at 9:45 am | Report abuse |
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