ShareThis Page

Bigger Navy worth cost

| Wednesday, June 19, 2013, 9:00 p.m.

The editorial “Keeping America strong: Rebuild our Navy” (June 9 and reminds us of the important link between naval shipbuilding and global naval dominance. The people of Pittsburgh proudly produce steel and major machinery for shipbuilding to this day. Still, our distance from major international ports distances our awareness of the need for a strong Navy.

Adm. Jonathan Greenert, chief of naval operations, visited Pittsburgh last March to show us how Navy ships operating across the globe “affect the whole world” by deterring aggression and preventing crisis escalation at numerous maritime crossroads. Indeed, 95 percent of international trade moves by sea. A quarter of that trade flows through U.S. ports, including Pittsburgh. The U.S. Marine Transportation System (MTS) moves more than 2.3 billion tons of cargo worth more than $2 trillion annually.

Yet funding a strong Navy proves financially and politically challenging, hampered by a lack of awareness of the magnitude of the positive impact on commerce and security. Inadequate funding decisions set declining trends, difficult to detect and correct because of the multidecade life cycle of fleets of ships.

Today's fleet numbers 286 ships, but Navy League analysis shows the number needed is 308. Our shipbuilding budget is low, about $15 billion per year. Rebuilding our fleet requires $20 billion, a mere 1 percent of the $2 trillion moving through the MTS — a small price to pay to keep America strong.

Henry M. Rainone

Upper St. Clair

The writer is president of the Pittsburgh Council of the Navy League of the United States (

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.