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Official: CNO Misspoke on Mahan, Destroyer Costs

by Brendan McGarry on September 6, 2013

CNO speaks

An assistant to the U.S. Navy’s top officer contacted Military​.com today to confirm that the destroyer, USS Mahan, will sail to its home port of Norfolk, Va., instead of remaining in the eastern Atlantic Ocean to assist with a potential strike on Syria.

Military​.com previously reported on the pending return of the Arleigh Burke-class destroyer. But when asked yesterday about its status during a public forum in Washington, D.C., Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Jonathan Greenert said the ship was staying within the Navy’s 6th Fleet area of operations to “be made available, if necessary.”

The admiral misspoke and the Mahan will, in fact, be returning to the U.S., the assistant said today.

Obama administration officials are pressing lawmakers to support a limited air campaign against Syria in response to an alleged chemical weapons attack on civilians. U.S. intelligence has determined the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad killed at least 1,429 people, including at least 426 children, in an Aug. 21 sarin gas attack in the suburbs of Damascus.

During yesterday’s forum at the American Enterprise Institute, a think tank, Greenert also discussed the potential costs of any kind of sustained or prolonged military operation in Syria. He estimated the cost of maintaining a carrier strike group flying extended operations at about $40 million a week, including about $7 million a week per destroyer.

The latter figure also wasn’t correct and is actually closer to $2 million, the assistant said today.

The Navy has positioned four destroyers in the Eastern Mediterranean, including the USS Stout, USS Ramage, USS Barry and USS Gravely. The amphibious assault ship, USS San Antonio, is also in the Med on routine port visit to Haifa, Israel, according to a Defense Department official who asked to remain anonymous to freely discuss ship locations.

The Nimitz carrier strike group is in the Red Sea. In addition to the aircraft carrier USS Nimitz, which holds some 80 aircraft, the strike group includes three destroyers, the USS William P. Lawrence, the USS Stockdale and the USS Shoup, as well as the cruiser USS Princeton.

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{ 29 comments… read them below or add one }

BlackOwl18E September 6, 2013 at 1:40 pm

There's probably so many ships and subs he has to keep track of in his mind that he slipped up…


USS ENTERPRISE September 6, 2013 at 7:54 pm

Over 300, to be precise.


Belesari September 9, 2013 at 4:40 pm

Actually I believe we are under 300.


USS ENTERPRISE September 10, 2013 at 5:04 pm

I counted the lifeboats.


Rest Pal September 11, 2013 at 2:00 pm

lifeboats are not considered ships. but … if it floats your boat … why not count the life jackets as well.

Charles James Haas September 10, 2013 at 12:32 am

The SSGNs are the real for multiplier here, and no one is saying where they are.


peters September 10, 2013 at 8:10 pm

Do you even know what words like SSGNs and multiplier mean? I don't think so.


jamesb September 6, 2013 at 3:58 pm



Steve B. September 6, 2013 at 4:36 pm

Curious if they are providing some air support for these ships. Tempting targets for the Syrian navy and AF.


LPF September 7, 2013 at 8:56 am

lol yeah I'm sure the US navy is shitting themselves, "ohhh a rowboat is attacking us"


Menzie September 6, 2013 at 10:33 pm

Good thing Asad can look up the locations of our ships here. It might be hard otherwise.


tiger September 8, 2013 at 9:35 pm
hibeam September 6, 2013 at 11:24 pm

Well ok then. Make sure we are in the loop for all ship movements.


oblatt1 September 7, 2013 at 4:59 am

Greenert was speaking at a neocon forum, he probably just wanted to please his war hungry hosts.

Actually I'm surprised he didn't pledge American allegiance to Israel while he was there.


ruger September 9, 2013 at 11:55 am

That is foolish, it is not the neocons as you suggest that support action in Syria. It is the ruling class.


Charles James Haas September 10, 2013 at 12:41 am

So you are suggesting that neocans are running the Obama administration. There are no neocons pressing for this fight, it is the administration that stumbled into this one.


Crusty Old Chief September 7, 2013 at 7:25 am

Please do not prepend "USS" with "the." It's inappropriate. USS Mahan is a she, not an it; in commission, alive, and breathing. A small thing perhaps but important to upholding a fine tradition in a time when fine traditions are increasingly rare.


Peter Davidson September 7, 2013 at 8:42 am

All this to support Al-Qaeda in Syria. I could see the point if in fact Al-Assad was the one that used chemical weapons but as it turns out, all the evidence point to it being the rebels, AGAIN.


tiger September 8, 2013 at 9:30 pm

Let's not jump that far. Is it possible? Yes. Do they have motive? Yes. Means? Sketchy. Do you have evidence to back you claim? Uh, no…..


yogiberra111 September 8, 2013 at 11:00 am

I'm astonished that no one has made a sarcastic comment about one of the on station destroyers being USS Barry. This is an unacceptable slip up!


tiger September 8, 2013 at 9:26 pm

Most are smart enough to know who Commodore Barry was. He has a nice toll bridge to Jersey as well.


Charles James Haas September 10, 2013 at 12:48 am

They haven't renamed it the USS Barry Obama yet. Give them a couple more years.


George McSwain GSM1 September 11, 2013 at 1:04 pm

USS Barry was named after Commodore John Barry, the father of the American Navy and not the current president of the United States. Go DDG or just don't go. GSM1 George McSwain (DDG-52 Plankowner)


tiger September 8, 2013 at 9:28 pm
Charles James Haas September 10, 2013 at 12:37 am

Yes they are. The Israelis already destroyed their Yakhont coastal missiles, which they are not experienced in using anyway. What weapons and how would the Syrians attack the US navy fleet. Heck, one DDG has more anti-aircraft missiles than the whole effective Syrian air force has aircraft. I can not even think of one Isrealis ship the Syrians have ever sunk. How do you think the Syrians would strike back?


tiger September 9, 2013 at 9:35 am

That is under review now in DC. UK & French intel seem to blame Assad before we even did. As for the Russians? Consider the source…..


Charles James Haas September 10, 2013 at 12:46 am

Glad to see you run to the Russians to get your information. Of course, it doesn't occur to you that the Russians are siding with Assad. And of course, if Assad falls, you realize that the Russians have not proxy in the Middle East or the Med. But, you prefer the Russians to the US anyways based on all your posts. You also prefer the jihadists all over the world that kill innocent people with suicide bombs.


TDS September 9, 2013 at 8:02 pm

You obviously are suggesting that the Russian source is unreliable. But do you seriously consider US sources more reliable given their atrocious track record from 1999 to 2013?

How many times has the US government lied to the world and the American people. Obama and his cabinet members lied about Libya only months ago, while the Russians, the Chinese, the Indians, and Iranians etc were all correct in their warnings.


BlackOwl18E September 12, 2013 at 12:31 am

Actually, to be fair, there are a lot of ships that are not under USN ownership that operate with the USN and are just as important, especially supply ships with the designation of USNS. If you add up the USNS ships the number goes well over 300 and there's no doubt in my mind that the CNO is keeping tabs on those as well.


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