User voted Navy.
1 vote
Jul 12, 2016

There is no argument: the Navy is the backbone of the U.S. military.

The U.S. military at present is primarily a power projection force. It is not a defense force: it is an offensive force. Sometimes, that does include peacekeeping or deterrent actions for allies and some countries; a lot of the time, that is about overthrowing regimes, maintaining U.S. economic and corporate interests, etc.

In any instance, the fact that the U.S. has the leading global Navy, as Britain (the previous hegemon) had before it, is the basis of its military power. The U.S. is able to mobilize ground and air troops anywhere in the world with aircraft carriers. Submarines can carry cruise missiles for pinpoint bombing of targets. And nuclear submarines carry the most important aspect of the nuclear deterrent that the U.S. has and the biggest part of its second strike capability.

Without the Navy, the Air Force would not be able to project power globally, and the Army and Marines would be largely defensive. Small units can be dispatched by airplane and routinely are, but the only way to move large amounts of men and materiel is by sea.

One can argue that, insofar as the U.S. military is about subsidizing research and development and providing military contracts, the Navy isn't as important, but even there the Navy not only requires new technological developments but also demands large inputs of steel, large shipyards, etc. That contributes massively to U.S. industry and infrastructure.

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