Visiting the USS Gerald R Ford two years ago, US President Donald Trump extolled the importance of an enlarged naval force featuring a dozen aircraft carriers-including the Ford, the most expensive ship ever built. Having 12 of these behemoths-sometimes accompanied by a half-dozen other ships-would send an international signal of US resolve and restore the fleet to its post-Cold War size during the 1990s. The Pentagon’s latest budget proposal, however, seems to do the opposite.
The Defence Department is seeking to-at least for now-shrink the carrier fleet, proposing that the USS Harry Truman be effectively decommissioned in 2024. This would mean that a multibillion-dollar, nuclear-powered super-carrier deployed in 2000 would be mothballed two decades before