A nation going into battle must be as prepared as possible, since wars are generally “come-as-you-are” affairs. Unfortunately, the U.S. Navy has recently been spending increasing time and resources on humanitarian missions, to the detriment of its core mission: warfighting.
Certainly, as a nation we would aspire to be the world’s foremost humanitarian as well as military organization. However, given the reality of limited budgets, it is just not possible to be both.
Let’s set aside the question of whether the United States should even be conducting relief missions. Right or wrong, the nation is in the humanitarian business. Thus, the question becomes whether the U.S. Navy is the appropriate service to conduct the mission. What could be wrong with having the Navy conduct such missions? Wouldn’t that be like arguing against world peace? Well, in fact, several things are wrong with it.