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JULY 2020

The Saker: “Will This Pandemic Finally Mark The End Of The US Carrier Fleet?”

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The Saker: "Will This Pandemic Finally Mark The End Of The US Carrier Fleet?"

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Written by The Saker; Originally appeared at The Unz Review

Frankly, I have never considered USN carrier strike groups as a “Cold War capable” element of the US Navy.  Yes, in theory, there was the notion of forward deploying these carriers to “bring the war to the Soviets” (on the Kola Peninsula) before they could flush their subs and aircraft through the GUIK gap and into the Atlantic.  In theory, it should have been a 600 ship navy too, but that never happened.  In reality, of course, US strike groups were the ultimate “colony disciplining” instrument which Uncle Shmuel would park off the coast of a country disobedient to the demands and systematic plundering of the USA.  Since most countries in the 20th century could not sink a US carrier or prevail over the comparatively advanced aircraft deployed on them, this was, all in all, a very safe game to play for the USA.

As for “bringing the war to the Soviets”, the truth is that had it ever come to a real war, the US carriers would have been kept far away from the formidable Soviet cruise missile capability (delivered simultaneously by aircraft, surface ships and submarines) for a very simple reason: every time such an attack was modeled a sufficient number of Soviet missiles successfully passed through the protective cordon around the carrier and successfully hit it with devastating results (while sinking a carrier is not that easy, damaging it and making it inoperable does not take that many missile hits).

And that was long before hypersonic missiles like the Kinzhal or the Zircon!

Truly, as an an instrument to deter or defeat the Soviets the USN strike groups were already obsolete in the 1980s, that is long before the the Russians deployed their hypersonic missiles which, as my friend Andrey Martyanov explained in his books (see here and here) and on his blog (see here), basically made the entire US surface fleet obsolete not only to fight Russia, but also to fight any country which possesses such missiles.  Such countries already include India and China, but there will be many more soon, probably including Iran!

Today, however, I won’t discuss the missile issue, but what happened recently on the USS Theodore Roosevelt, which you probably know about: her captain got fired for writing a letter (according to his accusers, bypassing the chain of command) asking for help because his crew got infected by the virus.  His letter was published by the San Francisco Chronicle and you can read it here.

Interestingly, when the captain, Navy Capt. Brett Crozier, left the ship, his sailors gave him a standing ovation:

Next, Acting Navy Secretary Thomas Modly called Captain Crozier “stupid.  That also became public, and he had to apologize and resign (clearly, Modly is not exactly a genius himself!).  Then even more of the crew of the carrier got sick, including Crozier himself!

This is what is known in the US military jargon as a “clusterbleep”…

There is, however, also a lot of interesting stuff coming out from this story.

First, the obvious: USN carriers cannot operate effectively under a bio-attack (a truly weaponized virus would both be much more transmissible than SARS-COV-2 and it would be far more deadly).  This also indicates that they would probably do no better under a real chemical warfare attack either.

Considering that in reality USN carriers are a instrument of colonial repression and not ships to be engaged against the USSR (which had real biowarfare capabilities), this makes sense (while most university labs & the like could produce some kind of virus and use it as a weapon, truly weaponized viruses, the kind effectively used in special delivery systems, can only be produced by a limited list of countries).  However, in theory, all the formations/units/subunits/ships/aircraft/armor/etc of a military superpower should be trained to operate in case of a nuclear, chemical and biological attack.  Clearly, this is not the case with US carriers, most likely because nobody in the USA really expected such an attack, at least not during the Cold War.

For the current situation, however, I think that the lesson is clear: the USN simply does not have an effective capability to operate under NBC attack conditions.

By the way, this appears to also be true of the French, whose only carrier has 30% infected sailors!

Second, I agree that going outside the chain of command is wrong, but let’s also consider the following here: the fact that the USS Theodore Roosevelt was having a large number of infected sailors is not something which could have been kept secret anyway, especially while in port.  Not only that, but how do we know that Capt. Crozier did not write other memos through the regular chain of command before he wrote the one which became public?  After all, any such memos could very easily be classified and never made public.

Finally, I will admit that my sympathies are squarely with the man who placed the lives of his man and women above all else, and not with the bureaucratic drone who put procedures and ruffled feathers above the lives of sailors and called the real officer “stupid” for his actions (wait! a USN carrier captain stupid?!  Somehow I don’t think so…..).

At the time of writing (April 14th) there have been 600 sailors from the Theodore Roosevelt who contracted the virus and one death.

Finally, over 4000 sailors have now been evacuated from the ship (1000 are still onboard to operate the nuclear reactor and other key systems).

In other words, the USS Theodore Roosevelt is now completely inoperable!

The quoted CNN article concludes with:

Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. John Hyten told reporters Thursday the US military needed to plan for similar outbreaks in the future as the Defense Department works to cope with the virus’ impacts. “I think it’s not a good idea to think the Teddy Roosevelt is a one-of-a-kind issue. We have too many ships at sea, we have too many deployed capabilities. There’s 5,000 sailors on a nuclear-powered aircraft carrier. To think it will never happen again is not a good way to plan. What we have to do is figure out how to plan in these kind of Covid environments,” Hyten said.

Yet more proof that the USN never took a bioattack threat seriously.

To be honest, it seems that the US Army has similar problems, here is a map of affected US bases I found on Colonel Cassad’s blog:
The Saker: "Will This Pandemic Finally Mark The End Of The US Carrier Fleet?"

It appears that the US-based forces never expected any real attack (other than maybe one by terrorists equipped with small arms) so NBC security was never a priority.

[Sidebar: Note, in Russia, at least so far (April 14th), there are zero cases of servicemen infected with the virus.  This will almost inevitably change in the future, but for the time being, this is true, in spite of having Russian military units helping to fight the virus both in Russia and outside.  Just saying…]

However, this is not a fair comparison.  First, bases located on land have far more interactions with the outside world than ships, even ships in port.  Second, and much more importantly, in case of a pandemic or chemical/biological attack, bases located on land can better isolate those affected, bring in more resources or quickly disperse the personnel to better protect them.  You can’t do that on a ship.  In fact, the bigger the ship, the more it looks like an “armed cruiseliner” which, as we now all know, is a gigantic Petri dish.

Questions such as those above will only increase in number as the pandemic finally shed a much-needed light on the shocking reality about “the best! most powerful! best equipped! and best trained military force in the Galaxy!”: it can’t even protect itself from a relatively weak virus, never-mind defeat a competent enemy.

Will we get answers?  Eventually, probably yes.  But for the time being, the US is all about covering your ass while pointing fingers and blaming others (especially China, Russia and even the WHO!).  This strategy has been an abject failure for the past decades and it will be an abject failure in the future.

[Sidebar: Trump’s latest decision to defund the WHO (to whom the US already owes a ton of money anyway) is arguably his worst act of “international PR seppuku” which will further increase the disgust the USA already inspires worldwide.  As for our Israeli friends, they are proud that their Mossad actually steals medical equipment from other countries: after all, every Israeli know that Jewish blood is sacred, while goy blood is worthless.  Another case of self-inflicted “international PR seppuku” for “the only democracy in the Middle East”]

But since that is all US politicians know how to do, this is not stopping anytime soon.  Likewise, what is known as the “carrier fiction” will be upheld for as long as possible, especially since there is a lot of money involved for the US ruling classes.

The Saker

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  • FlorianGeyer

    This is a realistic article. Fortunately the Self Styled Number 1 US military has deceived the American public and the top Military Commanders that they are the best .

    Long may that fantasy last and long may the US be spending and wasting trillions of US tax payer cash for no real purpose.

    The US Military effectively ‘has no clothes’ in wars against nations that CAN shoot back with up tp date weapons.

    • Doom Sternz

      During the Iranian attack on Al Assad air base…….America’s air defense ships in the Persian Gulf stood down, no AEGIS or Patriot protection for 5000 US troops stranded in Iraq by Trump’s criminal insanity. With US forces on high alert, and billions of US air defense equipment on site we do not have one video of an incoming missile taken down when ballistic missiles are supposed to be the easiest to intercept.

      The US is exceptional all right…..exceptionally stupid, exceptionally criminal and exceptionally deluded.

    • occupybacon

      The Russian is sooo worried about the American tax payer every time he sees an impressive ship that makes him shit bricks

      • Bob

        Your overly self defensive remark has nothing to do with report – that US navy has no effective preparation against current pandemic on board ships – and ergo, this also reveals US navy has historically never had effective preparation program against potential attack with bio-agents against ships.

        • occupybacon

          Which of my words do you find self defensive?

  • John

    The weak virus part I don’t agree with but, the rest was excellent. My take, thank you Saker.

  • Peter Jennings

    Carriers were only ever carriers of aircraft with which to ensure air supremacy. Missile tech has now rendered them useless for their task. They have become floating targets which modern tech couldn’t fail to hit, much like a barn door in the daylight.

    US necons will have the think of something else to satisfy their world domination fetish. Perhaps some swamp gas?

    • Occam’s Razor

      USer aircraft carriers are just large tin cans of fish food, to Russia and China..

  • Assad must stay

    we can only hope

  • Arch Bungle

    As for our Israeli friends, they are proud that their Mossad actually steals medical equipment from other countries: after all, every Israeli know that Jewish blood is sacred, while goy blood is worthless. Another case of self-inflicted “international PR seppuku” for “the only democracy in the Middle East”]

    • RichardD

      It looks like he’s no longer on the site. All of his posts to me. And I was one of his favorite targets, if not his most trolled truther, have been deleted and his name has been replaced with guest. Which should probably be prefaced with unwelcomed if most people here had a say in it.

      • Arch Bungle

        Probably dead from covid19.

  • MeMad Max

    “Mark The End Of The US Carrier Fleet?”

    No.

    ” so NBC security was never a priority”

    No again. NBC is trained into all USN sailors from bootcamp to ongoing training where ever they are.

    LOOK:

    EVERYONE on the planet is vulnerable to corona.
    The problem is it is able to hide without symptoms in the host while also able to spread itself during that time period.

    Example: Syria is in a quiet period due to corona, NOT a brokered always-broken-“peace treaty”.

    EVERYONE is in a standstill. Unable to do ANYTHING.

    EVERYONE IS VULNERABLE, not JUST the United States.

    So, quit dreaming about the United States collapsing and worry about YOUR OWN country collapsing…

    Because WE ARE ALL, in the same boat….

    • occupybacon

      The good Russian is always worried about the ill American

      • Occam’s Razor

        The USer is a very sick nation.

        • occupybacon

          And that’s why Russians can’t sleep well

  • occupybacon

    Daaamn impressive!
    https://youtu.be/DOJTBKAb3WY

  • Albert Pike

    Don’t see the point how one can’t write a similar piece about any submarine, which is leaving any port at the time of corona virus, with this type of asymptomatic infection. Or how about a tank crew?

  • Traiano Welcome

    Now the question is: If this is true, does it mean that American plans to blockade Chinese Trade and supplies via Ocean routes e.g Straits of Malacca, Straits of Hormuz, Pacific and Indian Ocean, SCS …) are a non-starter?