Listening to an audiobook by Former Secretary of Defense, Mark Esper. He was let go by Donald Trump, soon after Trump’s election loss in November 2020. Yes, Trump lost the election. One of Esper’s goals, while holding this position, was to upgrade the US naval fleet to ensure that the US was at a level, or above, the level of the fast rising Chinese Navy. The US was becoming increasingly concerned that China wanted to own the Pacific. This involved a couple of aspects. Current requirements needed to be maintained. However, of greater importance, was ensuring that future naval infrastructure kep pace or exceeded the pace of the Chines Navy. Esper goes into detail, as to the beaucratic challenges he faced, individual departments desire to protect their own during massive needed reorganizations and infighting at the top.
Amidst all this, was the requirement to update existing aircraft carriers and construct new carriers. Now carriers, like all military weaponry, are built to be fighting and battle ready. In meetings, discussing future and existing carrier requirements, with the President, Trump’s concern was not with battle readiness, but with how carriers looked. As per the picture above, Trump was not happy that the island was near one end of the carrier. He wanted the island to be in the middle. He was not concerned about battle readiness. His priority was image, not battle readiness. Trump was also unhappy that the carriers did not look sleek. He actually asked for and reviewed images of aircraft carriers of other countries. As per Esper, he looked like a billionaire reviewing yachts. He pointed out how, for example, the Italian carriers looked better. The mind boggles.