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China Alone Should Not Determine the Fate of American Aircraft Carriers

When the late Harvard professor Samuel Huntington wrote his influential article “National Policy and the Transoceanic Navy” in 1954, the U.S. Navy stood nearly unchallenged in the vast oceans. Having prevailed over the adversaries, aircraft carriers were elevated to their glory therefore becoming the centerpiece of America’s naval force. Additionally, the United States built its first supercarrier, USS Forrestal, in the same year, signaling that competing with Washington in global commons would be a costly business. The primary objective of dominating the open oceans was accomplished.

But with the absence of serious competitors, the control of the oceans was poised to lose its strategic significance, and Huntington warned that the Navy’s relevance would diminish if it failed to formulate a pertinent strategic concept for the post-WWII order.

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