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

    I am an 18 year veteran of the US Navy and my wife is Canadian. The long and short of it is that Gates was speaking to the military... the things he said are the way we talk... ie projection of power. Just like your neighborhood police officer we are a deterrant to potential adversaries. In admiralty of the sea laws you have to be present or the laws can be changed without your knowledge. We transit through straights between mainland China and land masses off their shores because if we did not they could say that we can not because we have not! Projection of power includes our interests... all of our interests, both Canadian and US, and the rest of our allies in the world too for that matter.

    May 4, 2010 at 9:49 am | Report abuse |
  2. Cincinnatus

    I also saw the full transcript of the luncheon. CNN is cherry picking the bits that will make a story to cause people to be angry. Gates is largely happy with the US Navy – but he is correct in pointing out that we need to focus on the tactics and technologies that might neutralize our advantage. We cannot afford complacency.

    It is the job of defense planners to think about the armed forces in terms of future threats and the ability of people to prevent them from doing their mission. The US is way out in the lead on this – and is the threat that everyone else in the world plans against as their worst case scenario.

    Most posters here have no concept of deterrence. None. Neither did Afghanistan or Iraq.

    Both political parties try their best to use the military as a way to direct government funding to districts they control. It's the same with every federal funding project. The USN is particularly bad in terms of its procurement, and this is as close as Gates can get to saying that outright.

    In normal (not spending like drunken sailors years), our budget is about 2.4 trillion. Roughly 0.6 trillion goes to the armed forces in war time, and vastly less in peacetime.

    Somewhere around 0.6 trillion goes into income redistribution programs (Social Security, AFDC, Welfare, Department of Education), all places where the Feds took over things for the States. About 0.2 trillion goes towards debt services.

    May 4, 2010 at 9:50 am | Report abuse |
  3. MARK

    I SAY...... IDEA # 1 AMERICA needs change.... so either completely BOARD up the BOARDER and stop or send back ALLLLL illegal immigrants... hence freeing up job space for our Americans in need of a job IMMEDIATELY !!!! OR IDEA #2 Make Mexico the 51st State of America and Canada maybe 52nd !!!!!!! CHANGE needs to come ..... And OK joking about the Canada part, but maybe not a bad idea?

    May 4, 2010 at 9:57 am | Report abuse |
  4. IaCheNeHe

    Thats a good point.. when has Canada invaded and occupied another country? GO CANADA! Subtle power rocks.

    May 4, 2010 at 10:09 am | Report abuse |
  5. IaCheNeHe

    If America is going to be the world police they had better shape up, they could start with the police in the homeland, fire them all, and hire women instead, someone with a cooler head and not so trigger happy would be a good start. stop lying in wait to write a seat belt violation, vultures!

    May 4, 2010 at 10:14 am | Report abuse |
  6. Michael O

    Ahmed – There's no doubt about which version of the Quran you subscribe to. A religion whose reward is virgins? Surprise – they're probably male virgins.

    May 4, 2010 at 10:21 am | Report abuse |
  7. Liberal, not wingnut--there's a difference

    First of all, can we simply agree that individuals on either extreme of any polarity are the supposed "wingnuts" here? Left AND Right. Islamic, Christian...hell, I'd run from a Zen Buddhist "extremist" (he might incense bomb me or something). I know–we can't agree because the Right wingnuts here will see "Liberal" and automatically conclude that I'm a wingnut, thereby drawing out this protracted battle of malformed sentences and even more dysfunctional conclusions. It's a microcosm of our electoral process. Amazing.

    To the point, however. As Sailor recently stated, and a few others as well, this article is completely out of context. Gates was speaking to military personnel or others associated with the military using military rhetoric about preexisting military spending. Yes, "projection of power" sounds Rambo to those unacquainted with such phrasing, but it's a specific expression within its context, which is precisely the context this article lacks.

    To those who think we don't require our US Navy "projecting its power" and desire their tax dollars to go towards fixing potholes (seriously?) and other social works, please refrain from shopping at Walmart or purchasing gasoline for your Hybrid (love my Prius and the US Navy) or any imported material, for that matter.

    To those who say our US Navy never comes under attack, pirates firing upon a US Navy vessel is an attack. Furthermore, perhaps we could all write letters to the families of the many civilian seamen who would be slaughtered were our Navy not present to prevent (and occasionally save ships from) the many attacks in waters all across the globe...because you want your street fixed first.

    By no means am I a gung-ho military fanatic, but I'm also not an idealist idiot or nuke-happy, fascist, genocidal maniac either. It's called balance, people. C'mon.

    May 4, 2010 at 10:36 am | Report abuse |
  8. crabman

    who is selling all this tec equipment to these people i hope nothing is coming from U S through other countrys

    May 4, 2010 at 11:02 am | Report abuse |
  9. IaCheNeHe

    (nick 99) yeah and what happens if the world doesn't want war? what will you and your kind do without drama, death and ego?

    May 4, 2010 at 11:04 am | Report abuse |
  10. IaCheNeHe

    oh yeah watch TV thats the answer.

    May 4, 2010 at 11:06 am | Report abuse |
  11. IaCheNeHe

    crabman: it's called profit. the sellers have no restraints on profit. see the movie "lord of war"

    May 4, 2010 at 11:07 am | Report abuse |
  12. Kristy

    US Vet, your post was the best thing I'have read on here so far. I completely agree with you.

    May 4, 2010 at 11:12 am | Report abuse |
  13. Duncan

    "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"

    Oh gawd, the old you would be speaking German by now crap. If you knew anything about WWII, you would know that the Germans were unable to invade Britain and after turning on Russia, the chances of them ever doing so was remote. Had the US not entered the war, it is likely the Russians would have eventually defeated the Germans with everyone elses help.

    This is not to lessen the impact of the US in Europe in WWII, but the chances of Germany invading and Britain surrendering was near nil. However, I am sure you Americans have some hollywood movie to tell you otherwise.

    May 4, 2010 at 12:18 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Duncan

    One important point. There are only 5 main manufacturer of weapons in the world. China, Russia, Britain, France and USA. If those countries stopped selling weapons, then very few other non developed nations would have any.

    May 4, 2010 at 12:20 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Popeye the Sailorman

    The main point of Secy. Gates' speech was that expensive, big ships can be countered by less expensive means.
    He illustrated the need for other types of ships.
    We need smaller craft able to control the littoral waters near the World's shorelines as much as we do the blue water heavyweights.

    May 4, 2010 at 1:05 pm | Report abuse |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9