|Just a couple of years ago the DoD declared the US Navy needed only tweleve carriers to carry out its potential missions but within a year or so it decided it could really get away with eleven and decided to retire the John F Kennedy early. Now it claims that it needs only ten and will retire the Enterprise early. Has there been a change in strategic assessment? Probably not. Money spent on defense limits the money available for programs and pork the politicos use to stay in power. It would have cost +/- 2 billion to update the Enterprise for another 5-6 years of service till the Gerald Ford becomes operational. Then there's personal cost's, operational costs, Air Wing costs, etc. As Sen Dirksen said: "A billion here, a billion there and pretty soon your talking about real money." The intersting thing is very few of the things Congress funds are truely required but the Constitution specifically orders it to "Provide for the common defense." The economics are also interesting. Despite fighting a war in the Middle East and South West Asia we are barely spending 4% of GDP on the military. During the Korean War we spent about 14% GDP, 9% during Vietnam and approximately 7.5% during the other "Peaceful" thirty odd years of the Cold War. During the Reagan military buildup the economy greatly expanded. I can't wait to see the wonderful new programs that the probable new Democratic President will introduce with the "Peace Dividend" we get from ending our current commitments and military spending can be brought down to a more sophisticated European level of under 2% GDP. Consequences? Who cares as long as I (Insert the name of your favorite Congressperson) get re-elected.