CV or not to be? alternatives to U.S. sea-based air power
Cruz, Yniol A.
Hughes, Wayne P., Jr.
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The thesis focuses on aircraft carriers and identifying an appropriate path towards the future of U.S. sea-based air power by studying historical cases of air power integration into the war fighting capabilities of the fleet. It analyzes current utilization and effectiveness of the aircraft carrier, given its operational requirements with respect to identified threats as described in security and strategy statements. It can be agreed upon that the U.S. Navy requires air cover; but whether air cover should be sea-based in the form of super carriers, jeep carriers, VTOL/STOVL aircraft on many vessels, or even land-based USAF protection in littoral settings, is the question this thesis investigates. Proponents of U.S. super carriers suggest no other single asset in the U.S. military arsenal can bring as much concentrated striking power to U.S. decision makers' ability to respond to crises nearly anywhere in the world. Despite this, a fundamental question arises: What does the future hold for sea-based air power? Aircraft carriers are among the military's costliest assets. With defense budgets under close scrutiny, policymakers are under growing pressure to fully exploit military assets and to minimize the prospects that assets may be underutilized.
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