Leadership: April 13, 2000


Back in 1958, the US Navy proposed a bold plan. It would restore its mothballed battleships to service, outfit them with anti-aircraft missiles, and bring them up the St Lawrence Seaway to the Great Lakes. The Great Lakes, it was thought at the time, would be the major point at which Russian bombers coming over the North Pole would try to break into US air space. The battleships would be mobile, and unpredictable, defense fortresses able to provide additional firepower in the area. The Navy proposed that once the main Russian bomber attack was over (there being no intercontinental missiles in those days) the battleships would sail back down to the Atlantic and assume their traditional role. The proposal never got off the drawing boards, since the Air Force and Army regarded it as a Navy bid for access to the continental air defense budget.--Stephen V Cole


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