Two days ago, the Navy announced a planned inactivation date of December 1 for the USS Enterprise (CVN-65). Those who remember my NRO article urging that she be kept in service can only note that in the last week, there have been multiple crises involving American embassies across the Middle East, and the dispute between China and Japan over the Senkaku Islands is also heating up. Sounds like an extra carrier would be handy at this time, but the Obama administration is retiring Enterprise despite the worsening situation.
Here is a golden opportunity for Mitt Romney not only to take a stand for a stronger Navy by keeping the Enterprise in service, but also to push for preserving a lot more jobs in Virginia (the carrier alone has a crew of 3,000, not counting her air wing, and overhauling her will add a lot more jobs at Newport News Shipbuilding). For voters, this line of attack would make criticism of Obama on national security a lot more tangible; the fact that it is the Enterprise can only heighten the awareness.
The question is, will Romney take this chance to hammer Obama’s national-security record?