Our government is Constitutionally required to protect our nation, but the Navy is at least $10 billion short for its shipbuilding needs.

The fiscal year 2010 program recently presented to Congress calls for $14.9 billion in shipbuilding funds for eight ships:

1 SSN attack submarine1 DDG Arleigh Burke-class destroyer (a restart of that program)3 LCS littoral combat ships2 T-AKE replenishment ships1 HSV high-speed vessel

With a planned average ship service life of 30 years, this building rate would sustain a fleet of 240 ships. This is less than the Navy's current 283 ships and far short of the long-standing Navy "requirement" for 313 ships.

The distinguished speakers at the Hudson conference on 22 May made it clear that without a massive increase in shipbuilding funds a larger fleet was not achievable. Dr. Eric Labs, senior naval analyst at the Congressional Budget Office said that about $25 billion per year for new ships is needed to reach the Navy's goal.

Meanwhile, the government has no Constitutional mandate or power to get involved in private enterprise but is poised to spend more than $70 billion to bail out another car company.

Including the more than $20 billion that has already been spent to prop up G.M., the government will provide G.M. at least $50 billion to get the company through Chapter 11, people with direct knowledge of the situation said Tuesday. By some estimates in Detroit, tens of billions beyond that amount may be required.

Maybe we could divert some of that payola money to one of the legitimate purposes of government and buy a few more ships?

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