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-- joining me now is Chris -- senior naval analyst at the institute for the study of war he also served in the US navy as deputy.
-- for the fifth fleet Chris thank you so much for joining me.
This vessel with just a tonne of history was first used in 1962 in the Cuban missile crisis blockading Cuba.
And since then it has traveled to complex regions around the world has become a movie star and its own right.
-- specials this aircraft carrier.
Melissa thank you for having me appreciate the opportunity speaker -- -- evening.
Are the enterprise is the oldest aircraft carrier in the navy and it's the oldest combat vessel.
Of any may -- in the world today so what is a special ship a lot of us are said to see the enterprise go but she serve the nation well.
As an economist I think you'll appreciate the fact we've gotten fifty years abuse out of this ship.
So whatever the taxpayers paid for it.
It was commissioned in 1962 and it's served faithfully for fifty years so I think it's a great ship and I'm glad that you have the opportunity to go.
Yeah I -- I I mean it was really amazing it of course.
You know cost billions and I think at the time there were plans for many many more but the overruns on this one was so high.
That they didn't end up doing a lot more exactly like this isn't that true and and it's run by nuclear power -- think it has eight reactors on board it isn't one of a chronic.
Yes Melissa it is one of a kind and that is -- that chip costs so much back then it was the first nuclear powered aircraft carrier in the world.
And it was built with -- nuclear reactors and because the technology was so new because the shipyard workers what exactly sure how to build it.
It was kind of a one of a kind ship so after the enterprise was build the navy went back to building steam powered ships.
Oil fired ships and so the next three or four aircraft carriers were conventionally powered.
I took the maybe about ten years to figure out exactly how to do nuclear power for aircraft carriers and since that time all aircraft carriers have been.
-- built with nuclear power plants all of the aircraft carries we have today -- nuclear part of we will probably never seen a conventionally -- -- -- of that size.
Now and it's a historic -- it's a lot of fun we're joking before we left that that you know this was top -- and we didn't even realize that it really was top coming went to the place they -- that Tom Cruise -- the dog tags overboard in.
We saw where they buzz the tower it was in The Hunt for Red October.
It's historic but it's now out of date I mean what what is -- About the new -- aircraft.
Carriers well the newer aircraft carriers save a lot of money by using streamlined power production.
I you've got to be much longer lifespan of the new nuclear carriers in terms of their nuclear core.
And the -- greatest expense for the -- -- -- any ship is the manpower costs as an economist I'm sure you see plenty of industries that have gotten more efficient.
More productive and the navy's trying to follow that.
The newest aircraft carriers will have about fifteen to 20% fewer sailors on board then the older aircraft carriers do.
So increase in automated technology makes -- new ships more efficient.
And requires less manpower which sees the taxpayer money over the life of -- -- Possibly -- I mean we we're trying to put together the number is on what exactly does cost and and it was hard to sort of get them.
And we had our brain room working on -- the best we can't come up with was that 2004 the cost of maintaining carrier strike group the whole group.
Was 2.2 billion dollars what does that sound right to you and of course that was in 2004 what does it cost.
To keep something like this going.
-- Melissa it's almost impossible get a very specific number because you're amortizing that cost over fifty years for example the enterprise is very expensive when this.
-- costs of maintaining it.
That was 2.2 billion I mean I know that the fixed cost of what you put into bill that is one big but I'm talking about keeping the group going in.
You're talking about you know there's 15% fewer people on board.
That's kind of a savings but it's really not without much of a savings what does this cost that's in say annually he's sick.
I think 2.2 billion dollars per carrier strike group is probably a reasonable figure for -- -- prefer waiting for what each of the eleven.
Carrier strike groups of the navy has cost the taxpayer.
And you think it's worth it when you look at everything that they're doing and it's hard to put a price tag on freedom.
You know we you have to say that -- at the same time you know we have limited military -- is is not analyst you have to decide where it's gonna go.
This particular group was number one you know keeping a straight a -- is they're -- They're keeping the Iranians in check whether they want to see it that way or not.
They're also while I was there are going out of flying missions over Afghanistan they would take off every hour and a half -- these groups.
Fly over Afghanistan and support our troops on the ground.
You know whether that was verbal leap from the air or whether they work.
You know firing to the ground or or whether -- you know they were setting off -- they were supporting people on the ground in Afghanistan.
And it coming back to this aircraft carrier.
How essential is this and is it worth the money.
-- you've touched on a couple of great points there in I'd like to give you an an historic reference which was.
-- Henry Kissinger used to say that the first question in a crisis is where the aircraft carriers and the reason that question is ask.
-- aircraft carriers are sovereign American territory.
We have forces stationed throughout the Middle East in many of the countries there.
But we always have to coordinate -- those governments what military actions we take.
The real advantage of an aircraft carrier is it's able to move -- once it's able to do whatever it wants without permission from a third country.
So the president and the national command authority loved having aircraft carriers.
Because they -- flexible and they can respond -- emerging crises.
Without coordination with countries that may not support.
Our foreign policy and security goals.
You know that's a great point and even while we are out there they replenished -- -- by bringing another shipped next door to it.
And -- over food and supplies in jet fuel and everything else just that very point that you made so that they don't have to go into port to some country that may or may not want them.
They can stay on the -- thank you so much for your perspective tonight we really appreciate your time.
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