This reference strives to demonstrate that the “true cost of oil” to the USA between 1976 and 2007 should include the cost of the aircraft carriers and related forces to the Middle East. The author has two major flaws in his argument, stating that each forward-deployed carrier requires eight others (vice two more, one down, one training up), and that Army and Air Force units are virtually never deployed without supporting carriers. We draw three take-aways from this:
1. The US Government is going to have to start doing strategic holistic “true cost” analysis or it will be bombarded with this kind of analysis in the future that is both flawed and constructive–we do need to know the “true cost” of everything and the military costs borne by the taxpayer are a part of that.
2. Academics such as this author are well-intentioned but deprived of robust access to military analysts and budget specialists. The war colleges could play a very constructive role in bringing various parties together, both to improve government development of “true cost” models, and to improve academic understanding of how military power projection is structured.
3. The time has come for the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to get back into the Management side, and particularly to begin evaluating Return on Investment (RoI) across the board. This should lead to a substantial increase in the budget for diplomacy & development, while requiring some meaningful realignments within both the military and the secret intelligence worlds.