Why do we have a Navy?
You have to hunt for it on www.navy.mil, but the official Web site states: "The mission of the Navy is to maintain, train and equip combat-ready naval forces capable of winning wars, deterring aggression and maintaining freedom of the seas."1 In the current political environment, however, a more pointed question is: "Why do we have such a big Navy when we hardly ever use it?"
If that question has not been asked since the 2008 election, stand by. It is certainly going to be posed before next year's midterms. But it is more likely to be phrased as: "What do we get for the hundreds of billions of dollars we pay for having a Navy and Marine Corps?"
Currently, the Navy inventory includes some 280 combatant, logistics, and support vessels, plus 3,700 aircraft. But—more important to many—We the People employ 340,000 active-duty Navy personnel and 68,000 reservists plus 175,000 active-duty Marines and 39,600 reservists. This is not to mention 185,000 Navy Department civilians.2