Friday, April 28, 2017

Enforcing The Law Is Now Against The Law. Is Hating Trump The Solution To Our Problems? Kim and Lehman Must Reads.

We have come to the point in this country where enforcing laws, that many do not agree with, is deemed against the law. We have judges who legislate because were they to rule, according to their sworn legal obligation and duty, the outcome would not be to their liking.

Our founders established methods by which laws could be changed as well as the constitution itself.
We no longer adhere to these methods but take to the streets, force police to stand down, so rioters can break windows, disrupt those engaged in their right to speak freely. This, by any definition is anarchy.

We, who live in a gated community, are retired, play golf, tennis, bocce, cards, Mah Jong enjoy a disconnect from all of what is happening outside our gates. And yes, we also give of our time, talent and contribute money so we are not unconcerned.  However, if failing to enforce laws continues,  anarchy will eventually come to us because the takers will want what we have. When it happens the anarchists will not distinguish between the possessions of liberals, who fought for their right to break laws, and that of conservatives, who were opposed to their right to break laws. The anarchists will consider this just another entitlement and we will have Obama to thank when our possessions wind up in someone else's hands. Why? Because the police are no longer respected or obeyed. Instead they too are being killed indiscriminately just like our laws are being disobeyed. Anyone who stands up in protest against the thugs are called racists.  If you are a vocal Trump supporter prepare for a beating. This is what progressiveness has come to mean.

And what of the divisiveness among our citizens caused by Obama's divide and conquer patronage and pitting one citizen against another based on wealth they did not earn?

Remember, when the rioters stole and burned  property in Ferguson they did not first ask the political party affiliation of the owners/store keepers.

More pessimism from me? Perhaps, but I am not shocked or surprised by what is happening on college campuses, in our ghetto neighborhoods or even in Paris.

You cannot allow illegal immigration to swamp your society without negative consequences.  You cannot open your borders to hordes of illegally immigrating gang members dealing drugs and engaging in nefarious undertakings, including random murder initiations and theft, without inviting trouble and the eventual breakdown of society.

Hollywooder's can defend their rights, California and New York cities and mayors can harbor them but eventually what is allowed to go around will come around and then it will be too late.

Hating Trump may give temporary comfort but it is not the panacea. Standing up to terrorism, enforcing the laws against illegal immigration, calling radical Islamist terrorists what they are, asking black citizens to ask themselves " what have you got to lose" may cause a backlash from the far left and bleeders but it is not the cause of our problems. Our problems are systemic.  Our problems are partly related to economics and an economy that no longer produces decent jobs. We are no longer a society that provides open ended hope and endless opportunities. Why invest capital when the returns are taxed away and the risks not worth the rewards?

Part of our systemic problems are because of poor political decisions and policies that broke up the family unit, the bedrock of any viable society, offered rewards to deadbeats, paid for non-performance, created feelings of hopelessness, under educated our children and failed to prepare them for life by challenging their innate talents and God given curiosity because we were more interested in protecting union workers and their bosses and creating voting loyalties.

America is reaping what it spent decades sowing. The pigeons are coming home to roost and our former president is now out speaking at the rate of $400,000/hour casting blame as if he never was in office making his own contributions to our problems, his now famous "mess."

Yes, blame Trump after 100 days for The Russian Bear Hug in Ukraine, and Syria, blame Trump for The Iran Deal and N Korea. Blame Trump for "the mess" he inherited. Yes, continue to be delusional so we do not have to face reality and the errors we are unwilling to admit were made in the name of going to war on poverty, embracing affirmative action and growing government in order to make the problems larger and solutions more costly and distant and treating Islamic Terrorist crime as workplace events .

And when Trump tries to bring some semblance of sanity and common sense to a bloated ineffective government hate him, castigate him, besmirch his family and long for the day when you can impeach him as if this misplaced anger and irrational behaviour will solve anything.

If truth be told we are at war with each other because a schism has been allowed to separate us, to divide us because we are ignorant and nonsupporting of our traditional values and no longer understand why our nation was formed and what made it unique among the nations of the world.

Eventually, if allowed to continue, what we are experiencing will conquer us because the enemy is, as POGO said,  US!

Netanyahu's message to Europe: 'Treat Israel fairly or you will be ostracized from having a relationship with Israel."

Glick is not always balanced herself but in this instance I believe she is worth reading.(See 1 below.)
Fraud and corruption never seems to end when it comes to Hillary and her associations. (See 2 below.)
Kim hits the nail on the head.  Trump is playing hard ball and challenging Republicans to man-up! (See 3 below.)
Having attended some courses at The Naval War Academy and a reader of their Quarterly Journal, I subsequently increased my interest in that particular branch of our armed forces.  I also spent a little time in The Marine Corps s and was on The Board of Advisors of St John's College whose Annapolis Campus is across the street from The Naval Academy. The Johnnies interact with the Naval Students in many ways and during the Viet Nam War began an annual croquet competition.

John Lehman's op ed is spot on and worth reading.  I have commented time and again about the pitiful state of our naval preparedness and the same is partly true of what we have done to The Coast Guard.

Obama believed weakness was better than strength in support of his feckless foreign policy.
He allowed America to become a pitiful giant in a military sense and Republicans went along.

This generally happens when Democrats are in charge of the White House and then, when a Republican president follows, he  must spend billions rebuilding. (See 4 below)
1)Column one: Netanyahu’s bold move against Europe

Israel is finally taking a constructive position in its own defense. On Tuesday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu adopted a new strategy for managing Israel’s diplomatic relations with the West. Long in the making and increasingly urgent, Israel’s new strategy is very simple. Foreign governments can either treat Israel in accordance with international diplomatic norms of behavior, or they can continue to discriminate against Israel.

If they act in accordance to international diplomatic norms, Israel will respond in like fashion. If they choose instead to discriminate against Israel and treat it in a manner no other democratic state is treated, Israel will abandon diplomatic convention and treat foreign governments as domestic critics.

On Monday, after his repeated requests for Germany’s visiting Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel to cancel his plans to meet with Breaking the Silence and B’Tselem, Netanyahu gave Gabriel an ultimatum. Gabriel could meet with Netanyahu, or he could meet with Breaking the Silence.

Gabriel refused to cancel his meeting with Breaking the Silence. So Netanyahu canceled their meeting.

To understand the strategic significance of Netanyahu’s decision and what further steps are now required to ensure the success of his strategy, it is necessary to understand what Breaking the Silence represents. It is then important to recognize how it is used by Berlin and other foreign governments.

But first, Netanyahu’s move has to be seen in a general context.

Today’s Western democracies are in a furor over the notion that foreign governments would dare to interfere in their domestic affairs. The uproar in the US over Russia and in Europe over Turkish efforts to drum up support for President Recep Tayyip Erdogan among Turkish nationals in Europe make clear how roundly democracies decry attempts by foreign governments to influence their internal politics.

This then brings us to Israel, and the unique rules that the West applies in its dealing with the Jewish state.

In the final quarter of the 20th century, European and other Western states abandoned their earlier support for Israel. From 1974 on, Europeans could be depended on to either support condemnations of Israel at the UN and other international forums, or to abstain from votes.

Whereas from 1974 to 2000, European hostility was largely limited to the diplomatic arena, beginning in 2000, the Europeans began to expand their anti-Israel policies to the Israeli domestic political sphere.

After the PLO abandoned the peace process with Israel at the July 2000 Camp David summit and initiated its terrorist war against Israel two months later, the Europeans began massively funding radical leftist groups registered as NGOs in Israel. The collapse of the peace process and the initiation of the Palestinian terrorist war all but dried up domestic support for groups like Peace Now, B’Tselem and Rabbis for Human Rights. But with millions of euros in their pockets and the unconditional diplomatic support of Europe, these groups were able to become players in Israel’s domestic politics and cause massive harm to Israel’s international standing.

As for the Europeans, their Israeli contractors gave them the ability to fend off allegations that they were antisemites engaged in systematic and prejudicial discrimination against the Jewish state.

Every time Israeli officials and others protested about their unfair treatment of Israel, the Europeans responded that they were simply restating allegations made by Israelis.

The fact that the Israelis they quoted were only able to speak because Europe paid for their microphones was entirely beside the point, as was the fact that those Israelis reflected the views of next to no one in Israel.

In the face of this assault – fronted by Israel-registered organizations staffed by Israelis, for the past 17 years, official Israel has been paralyzed. First it didn’t know how to respond. And second, when it responded, it was beset with the prospect of Europe retaliating by backing its political war against Israel with economic warfare.

As a result, time after time, Israel buckled to European pressure. Consequently, it saw its international status undermined and its very right to sovereignty questioned.

The most significant example of that buckling came in 2008, when then-prime minister Ehud Olmert agreed to transfer Israel’s postal codes to the EU and so enabled the Europeans to discriminate against Israeli products made beyond the 1949 armistice lines.

In another example, in 2013, then-minister Bennie Begin convinced the government to bow to European pressure – exerted through its Israel-registered nonprofits – to legalize Beduin settlements in the Negev built on stolen state land.

In both instances, far from placating the Europeans and their Israeli contractors, these actions convinced them to escalate their pressure against Israel and to adopt ever more prejudicial positions against the Jewish state.

The playing field between Israel and Europe has shifted in recent years. Today, the EU is fighting for its life. Donald Trump’s victory in November, Britain’s decision to exit the EU, and the growing power of anti-EU forces in Europe have all had a debilitating impact on Brussels’ ability to throw its weight around in the global arena.

Moreover, over the past several years, the government has actively promoted expanding Israeli trade to Asia. One motivation for the policy is the desire to diminish Europe’s economic leverage over Israel.

The diminishment of Europe’s power advantage over Israel set the conditions for Netanyahu’s adoption of his strategy for dealing with Europe’s war against it.

And just in a nick of time. Because as Europe becomes less powerful, Europe’s policies toward Israel become more toxic.

And this brings us to the nature of Breaking the Silence.

Breaking the Silence, which was formed in 2002, is a group dedicated to libeling the IDF and its soldiers and officers by constantly accusing them of carrying out war crimes. Since its inception, Breaking the Silence’s budget has come almost entirely from European governments. Germany is a major backer.

Germany’s interest in Breaking the Silence is understandable. As polls taken between 2011 and 2015 showed, between a third and half of Germans view Israel as the moral equivalent of Nazi Germany. The Palestinians, by their telling, are the new Jews.

Likewise, a large majority of Germans is sick of hearing about the Holocaust. And an even larger majority says that Israel is behaving unjustly toward the Palestinians.

Breaking the Silence’s work not only legitimizes these views, shielding them from condemnation as indications of the growing virulence of German Jew-hatred. It also, to a degree, justifies the Holocaust. After all, if the Jews are as evil as the Nazis, then they are illegitimate actors who deserve to be defeated.

Europe’s rapidly escalating campaign against Israel can be viewed through its rapidly escalating embrace of these groups.

According to senior Foreign Ministry officials, until very recently, European governments conducted their meetings with these organizations in private, far from the glare of television cameras.

This changed in February. During his visit to Israel, Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel shocked Netanyahu when in defiance of Netanyahu’s request, he personally met with Breaking the Silence during his official visit to Israel.

Last month, British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson went even further.

Johnson, who has a reputation for being a friend to Israel, surprised Netanyahu and his advisers when, during their meeting he all but refused to discuss anything but Israeli construction beyond the 1949 armistice lines.

Ahead of his meeting with Netanyahu, Johnson traveled to Judea with Peace Now and got himself photographed looking gravely at a map held by a Peace Now leader who pointed to where Jews were building in the area around metropolitan Jerusalem and Ma’aleh Adumim.

When Johnson was asked by reporters why he wasn’t meeting as well with representatives of the Israeli communities in Judea and Samaria, he scoffed. Netanyahu will give the other side of the story, he insisted.

In other words, for Johnson, Netanyahu was expected to answer the allegations launched against his government by a European-funded NGO. Johnson treated Peace Now as a more credible source of information than the government.

During his visit, Peace Now served as a general prosecutor of Israel. Johnson treated Netanyahu as the defendant. And he, whose government funds Peace Now, served as judge and jury.

Gabriel’s decision to opt for a meeting with Breaking the Silence over a meeting with Netanyahu took matters one step forward. In acting as he did, Gabriel showed that as he sees things, Israel’s elected leader is less legitimate than representatives of an organization that legitimizes German antisemitism.

By refusing to meet with Gabriel, Netanyahu made clear that new rules will now apply to Europe and other Western governments that have joined Europe’s campaign against Israel. But his move – while important – is not enough.

To ensure that his strategy of demanding that Europe treat Israel in a manner that accords with diplomatic norms, Netanyahu needs to take additional steps. Like his decision to deny Gabriel diplomatic cover for his meeting with anti-Israel groups, Netanyahu needs to deny Western governments diplomatic immunity for their other actions aimed at undermining the government’s capacity to carry out its domestic duties.

For instance, one of the major ways that European- funded groups subvert the government is by suing the government in local courts. The government must require the foreign governments that fund these groups to appear as sides in the court battles. In this manner, the government can ask the courts to compel these foreign governments to hand over documents relevant to the cases being adjudicated.

So, too, the government should require foreign government- funded groups to submit all communications between their representatives and those governments, and all internal documents of foreign governmental funders relating to their decision to fund the Israel-registered group. Given that the goal of the funding is to interfere with domestic Israeli affairs, those communications should not enjoy diplomatic immunity.

The penalty for failing to present all the required documents will be the imposition of a 100% tax on the foreign government contributions to the Israel-registered nonprofit.

Perhaps the most discouraging aspect of Netanyahu’s diplomatic gambit this week is that opposition leader MK Isaac Herzog refused to support him. Instead, Herzog sided with Gabriel. He insisted that Netanyahu harmed Israel’s relations with Germany by demanding to be treated in a manner that comports with international norms.

For decades, the political Left has claimed that it can manage Israel’s diplomatic ties better than the Right, which it castigates as inept, incompetent and dangerous to Israel’s international standing. By failing to recognize why Netanyahu’s move was vital for Israel’s international standing, or to understand that international conditions have changed sufficiently to allow Israel to stand up for itself, Herzog and his colleagues showed that their boastful claims to diplomatic capabilities are empty.

Netanyahu took a necessary first step toward implementing a constructive strategy for handling Western diplomatic warfare. More steps are still required for this strategy to succeed. But at least, for the first time in years, Israel is finally taking a constructive position in its own defense.

1a)  All US senators demand end to UN's 'anti-Israel agenda
Israel Hayom Staff 
The United States Senate sent a letter, signed by all 100 senators, to the secretary general of the United Nations on Thursday, demanding an end to the world body's "anti-Israel agenda."
 The letter, obtained by The Washington Post, asked that Secretary General Antonio Guterres "ensure that Israel is treated neither better nor worse than any other U.N. member in good standing."

The letter further noted that "too often, the U.N. is exploited as a vehicle for targeting Israel rather than as a forum committed to advancing the lofty goals of its founders. These actions have at times reinforced the broader scourge of anti-Semitism, and distracted certain U.N. entities from their original missions."
While never threatening to withhold the U.S.'s considerable donations to the U.N., the senators wrote, "As both the U.N.'s principal founding member and its largest contributor, the United States should insist on reform. ... Continued targeting of Israel by the U.N. Human Rights Council and other U.N. entities is unacceptable. This situation must change."
 Highlighting the Senate's strong feelings about the issue, the senators acknowledged that "as Republicans and Democrats, we disagree on many issues, [but] we are united in our desire to see the United Nations improve its treatment of Israel."

 This unequivocal message comes amid U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley's repeated remarks in defense of Israel. Since being appointed ambassador, Haley has consistently condemned the same perceived bias against Israel. In their letter, the senators praised Haley, saying, "We commend the words of our nation's Ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley, who recently stated, 'It is the U.N.'s anti-Israel bias that is long overdue for change.'"

 The letter asked that the U.N. Human Rights Council focus on a number of pressing human rights crises around the world "in countries such as Russia, China, North Korea, Syria, Cuba, Venezuela and South Sudan," and accused the council of "not living up to its mission."
The senators concluded the letter with an offer of collaboration, saying, "If you continue to build on your recent action, we stand ready to work with you to eliminate the organization's anti-Israel bias and to fight anti-Semitism in all its forms."

BREAKING: Active Prosecution As Huma Abedin Gets TERRIBLE News From The FBI

It turns out Anthony Weiner wasn’t the only family member under investigation.

While Hillary Clinton loyal aide Huma Abedin was reportedly sidelined in the final stretch of the 2016 presidential campaign as a result of Abedin’s husband’s child-porn scandal, she was potentially an even greater liability than known.
"In fact, the U.S. Justice Department has been actively prosecuting two other Abedin family members – for conspiracy, wire fraud and securities fraud – and she along with the State Department, where she previously worked for Clinton, are mentioned in the federal case, court records show.

Other documents reveal the same allegedly crooked kin solicited Abedin for help at State in a deal that netted more than $1.2 million in federal grants.
These undesirable family connections, revealed here for the first time, raise fresh questions about influence peddling at the State Department under Clinton, who is now reportedly working with Abedin on a political comeback.
Abedin’s relatives were major donors to the Clinton Foundation. And Abedin drew a salary from the Clinton Foundation, while at the same time working for the government.
Records show that her first cousin, Omar Amanat, is under federal indictment for cheating investors in Kit Digital Inc. of millions of dollars between 2009 and 2012, forcing the tech start-up to go bankrupt in 2013. He has been placed under house arrest as he awaits trial, which is scheduled for Oct. 2.
Sperry is a former Hoover Institution media fellow and author of “Infiltration” and “Muslim Mafia.” Follow him on Twitter: @paulsperry_
Another Abedin cousin, Irfan Amanat, is under indictment in the same case. He was arrested in December after returning to the U.S. from the United Arab Emirates.
Prosecutors say Omar Amanat illegally diverted millions of dollars from investments in Kit Digital “for his personal use,” including “luxury properties in Manhattan.” He “never disclosed these misappropriations to investors,” who were misled about the value of the company by false balance sheets. He has pleaded not guilty.
Recent letters, Part 1 and Part 2 here, from attorneys for Omar and another co-defendant asking the judge to ease their detention reveal that Omar once warned Huma while she was at the State Department that she and other family members were under threat of being “hurt” by “special collection agents” trying to recover stolen funds. Court exhibits reveal that Omar was worried about Huma’s safety and contacted the State Department to make her “aware of this incident.”
Moreover, Kit Digital appears in State Department emails sent to Abedin from Amanat and a business partner. In June 2009, not long after starting Kit Digital and just months after his cousin was named deputy chief of staff to Secretary of State Clinton, Amanat helped his business partner solicit Abedin for State favors on behalf of Soliya Inc., which was in partnership with Kit Digital. Summit Entertainment, a film company Amanat held a controlling stake in at the time, also stood to benefit.
3) Trump’s Finest Moment (So Far)

His tax-reform plan is smart policy, but even better politics: It’s a challenge to Congress.

By Kimerley Strssal

Here’s how to know a Republican president has scored big on a proposed tax reform: Read the New York Times —and chuckle.
The newspaper’s headline Wednesday lectured: “White House Proposes Slashing Tax Rates, Significantly Aiding Wealthy.” The story said that Donald Trump had offered a “radical reordering of the tax code,” though one that he “rushed” so as to “show progress before the 100-day mark of his presidency.” The proposal was but a “skeletal outline” and “less a plan than a wish list.” It contained “no explanation of how the plan would be financed.” And, oh, it would “richly benefit Mr. Trump” personally. This was a news article, by the way, not an editorial.
The president’s tax proposal—a big, swashbuckling vision for enacting pro-growth principles—offends many on the left by its very nature. Within a few minutes of its release, liberal economists, politicians and pundits were ripping it as a payoff to the wealthy, a deficit buster, regressive, unrealistic. That alone is proof Mr. Trump is getting the policy right.
Yet what Mr. Trump may be doing best is the politics of tax reform. The president’s proposal marks not only a triumph of ideas, but a savvy acknowledgment of the Washington landscape. After a rocky first few months, Mr. Trump is playing to win.

Start with the fact that this proposal is substantive. It didn’t have to be. In the wake of the health-care meltdown, Republicans on Capitol Hill began debating whether they ought to throw out messy, complicated tax “reform” in favor of easy, straightforward tax “cuts.” That wasn’t what they campaigned on; they had promised to slay the tax-code beast. Moreover, targeted rate cuts wouldn’t deliver for the economy. But this crew argued to the White House that a slimmed-down approach would at least deliver a quick, symbolic legislative victory.

Mr. Trump’s plan rejects that retreat. Instead of going weaker, it goes stronger, compiling into one document all the tax-reform ideas that most inspire conservative movers and shakers. Simplify the brackets? Check. Lower rates? Check. Harmonize rates between corporations and small businesses? Check. Move to a territorial corporate-tax system? Check. Kill off the estate tax, the alternative minimum tax, itemized deductions, and corporate loopholes? Check. This is the sort of stuff that think tanks, congressional reformers and business groups have been salivating over for years.
Good policy makes for good politics. The Trump proposal has galvanized all those groups that wield influence with Republicans. “Trump Plan Will Turbocharge the Economy,” crowed Americans for Tax Reform. “This is What Pro-Growth Tax Reform Looks Like,” declared the Club for Growth. It’s also a proposal to inspire voters, since it offers relief to nearly every category of taxpayer. Congressional Republicans can move ahead knowing they have support, even as they feel pressure to get the job done.
Big is also smart. Mr. Trump chose not to start on the 50-yard line—a mistake too many administrations make. His call for a 15% tax on both corporations and pass-through entities is aggressive, but it leaves room for negotiation and increases the likelihood that even a compromise bill will still look like real tax reform.
Yes, the proposal was “bare bones”—but that’s deliberate and designed to help get a win. The media will spend the coming weeks attempting to drag this debate into the minutiae, highlighting every GOP disagreement over every teensy provision. The Trump plan’s broad principles are an attempt to keep everyone focused on the ultimate prize, as well as to set markers for what counts as achievement. Besides, it upsets feelings when a president micromanages Congress.
Right now the bad feelings are all emanating from Democrats, who whine that Mr. Trump’s proposal contains no concessions for them, no reasons for them to support it. This, too, was smart politics. The White House had been under pressure to pursue a very different strategy—to enact only corporate tax reform and bring in Democrats with infrastructure spending. Yet there was no guarantee Democrats would play ball. That approach also would have robbed Republicans of the first opportunity in a generation for holistic tax reform. It risked fracturing GOP votes.
The Trump plan is instead a blunt acknowledgment that Democrats have no interest in working with him to harmonize, simplify and reduce rates for both corporations and individuals. It is instead pitched directly at Republicans, since it will take a united GOP conference to get it done.
That might be the smartest piece of all. The president has dramatically raised the stakes by laying out a giant challenge to his congressional allies. All eyes are on the Freedom Caucuses, the Tuesday Groups, the Ted Cruzes and Tom Cottons —all those who helped kill the health-care bill. If they fail to deliver this time, if they descend into bickering over deficits or state tax deductions, they will lose their majorities. It’s as simple as that.
President Trump has made it all about them. There are no excuses this time.
4) The U.S. Navy Must Be Everywhere at Once
By John Lehman

A recent mishap with the USS Carl Vinson is a case study for rebuilding the fleet to about 350 ships.

The aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson was steaming toward North Korea, the Trump administration insisted two weeks ago. Except that it wasn’t. A Navy press photo showed it thousands of miles away, near Indonesia, and heading south. The official explanation was that the Carl Vinson had to complete a scheduled joint exercise with Australia before turning back to deal with the imminent threat to world peace. The error was compounded by President Trump’s statement that he would be sending submarines “far more powerful than an aircraft carrier”—which is of course absurd.
This episode is a small symptom of America’s weakened Navy. Today, as in the 1920s and ’30s, Washington has forgotten Teddy Roosevelt’s advice to speak softly and carry a big stick. Instead the U.S. lashes out at adversaries with ultimatums, sanctions and embargoes while disarming. Although all branches of the military went through budget and personnel cuts under the Obama administration, the Navy fared the worst. Today the American fleet is less than half the size it was under President Reagan.
Two independent bipartisan commissions have called for the fleet to be increased from its roughly 270 ships to 350, a number President Trump has said he supports. The Navy’s 2016 Force Structure Assessment calls for 355 ships. These proposals weigh budget constraints; otherwise the target would be higher.


During the 1960s the fleet numbered above 800. But after the Vietnam War, the U.S. sought a “peace dividend” and ordered the Navy to do more with less. Historically, a sailor’s maximum deployment was six months away from family in any 18-month period. Today deployments stretch to nine months or longer. Skilled sailors are being worn out, and many of the best are leaving. We have too few ships on too many crucial missions. Without the funding to keep them in repair, they deploy without being combat-ready and are eventually forced into early retirement. Many of the Navy’s combat aircraft are unable to fly without awaiting parts and repair.
Thankfully, Mr. Trump has promised to bolster America’s defenses as Reagan did in the 1980s. Let us hope for a bipartisan defense recovery. The first priority must be for the White House to settle on a national strategy to replace the ad hoc decision-making of the past 20 years. Then the new Navy secretary and the chief of naval operations can create a comprehensive naval strategy to match. This process will provide a framework to prioritize Navy and Marine programs.
As in the Reagan years, there are opportunities to rebuild rapidly. At least eight Perry-class frigates could be reactivated, along with a similar number of Aegis cruisers and a half-dozen supply ships. These combat craft were retired early, some at only half their service life. Outfitting them with updated weapons could create immediate work at ports on all three coasts.
The next step is to reform the overgrown defense bureaucracy and overhaul the Pentagon’s dysfunctional procurement process. According to the Government Accountability Office, cost overruns have ballooned to more than $450 billion over the past two decades. The Navy needs to take authority back from the bureaucracy, end the culture of constant design changes and gold-plating, and bring back fixed-price competition.
Recall the development of the Polaris nuclear-missile system in the late 1950s. The whole package—a nuclear submarine, a solid-fuel missile, an underwater launch system, a nuclear warhead and a guidance system—went from the drawing board to deployment in four years (and using slide rules). Today, according to the Defense Business Board, the average development timeline for much less complex weapons is 22.5 years.
A case in point is the Ford-class aircraft carrier. The program is two years delayed and $2.4 billion over budget. The ship was designed to include 12 new technologies, such as electric instead of steam catapults that had not yet been developed. Many of these systems don’t work after 10 years of trying, and the ship will be delivered to the Navy without fully functional radar and unable to launch or recover aircraft. Yet the defense firms involved still profit under cost-plus contracts.
The three stealthy Zumwalt-class destroyers—they are really heavy cruisers—are another example. The defense bureaucracy produced a seagoing camel costing three times its original estimate and delivered with questionable seaworthiness and without functional radar or a reliable propulsion system. The program should be terminated and the three contracted ships kept purely for special operations.
The Navy urgently needs to replace the Perry-class frigates, built in the 1980s and now all retired. Instead of designing a ship from scratch, the Navy could update the Perry plans to include modern sonar, radar and missiles. Or it could adapt one of two European frigates for American construction. The 26 small coastal LCS ships now under contract are enough. That design cannot be modified into a frigate, so the program should be terminated.
The Navy is also short on aircraft, with roughly half the number needed to maintain even the current force structure. The Pentagon should make the F-35 compete against the F-18 to establish the optimum—and lowest-cost—mix of both aircraft. In the future, drones will play an important role on carriers and may evolve into the dominant system. But that day is not yet here.
President Reagan showed that 90% of the benefits from restoring American command of the seas are reaped immediately. President Trump will learn the same. Russia, with its professional but small one-carrier navy, cannot challenge a rebuilt U.S. Navy. The Chinese are at least two decades away from matching American capabilities. With renewed commitment to naval and military superiority, American diplomacy will instantly regain credibility.
Mr. Lehman, secretary of the Navy under President Reagan, is the author of the forthcoming “Oceans Ventured, Oceans Gained” (W.W. Norton).

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