It was a once-in-a-decade display of American firepower.
Three US Navy aircraft carriers — the largest, most sophisticated warships in history — assembled off the Korean Peninsula, in a move timed to coincide with US President Donald Trump’s first official visit to the region.
But behind the dramatic show of force, questions are emerging as to whether the US Navy is up to the challenges it faces in the Pacific — from both a nuclear-armed North Korea and a strengthening China — at a time when its top leaders acknowledge it lacks the money, manpower and weapons to ensure success. And when a massive corruption scandal threatens the ranks of dozens of its top officers.
The three-carrier exercise, conducted in early November with South Korean and Japanese warships, was just one of about 160 multilateral and bilateral exercises performed this year in the area of operations overseen by the Navy’s 7th Fleet, a Navy spokesperson told CNN. That’s about one exercise every two days.
And the tempo of operations isn’t slowing.