At a time when military spending is highly scrutinized, Gates thinks it may be time for the U.S. Navy to spend more wisely

The United States Navy and Pentagon officials are working together to discuss the long-scale spending on warships that can cost billions of dollars when completed.

The United States could one day have 11 carrier strike groups that drain billions of dollars in R&D and manufacturing, while every nation has one or less carrier group.

"At the end of the day, we have to ask whether the nation can really afford a Navy that relies on $3 [billion] to $6 billion destroyers, $7 billion submarines and $11 billion carriers," Gates said during a recent conference.  "Mark my words, the Navy and Marine Corps must be willing to re-examine and question basic assumptions in light of evolving technologies, new threats and budget realities."

Possible enemy nations could use long-range ballistic cruise missiles, not ship against ship battles, so the U.S. Navy may not need the type of development it has discussed in the past.  Instead, the Navy could begin looking into expanding its submarine fleet, as there is a growing threat of advanced underwater combat systems being used by other nations.  

New generations of ships and aircraft are important to the Navy, which is still looking forward to the use of its Littoral Combat Ship (LCS).  Furthermore, the USN also wants to have a carrier drone available in 2018, an ambitious goal as a drone launching coordinated attacks and reconnaissance from naval carriers would be beneficial.

"And boy have we patented it!" -- Steve Jobs, Macworld 2007
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