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Modernization and training are the building blocks of an integrated, joint-force-capable fleet that will deny an enemy access to regional waters as it expands its ability to project power at increasing distances. The U. Even Army generals have begun to address the subject in public. Retired Gen. If this continues, we will be in terrible trouble in the coming decades when the PRC emerges as a global military power — which we will then face in the Pacific with inadequate deterrence.


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When the John F. Kennedy was decommissioned March 23, the number of aircraft carriers dropped to 11, more than a quarter fewer than well after the slide began. The last time the U. Fleet size will slip another eight ships this year, the number by which the 15 vessels slated for decommissioning exceeds those scheduled to join the fleet. If the Navy is able to sustain shipbuilding at seven ships each year, the fleet will diminish further to slightly more than ships, a level last reached during the administration of William Howard Taft.

What happened? As the Soviet fleet withdrew from the high seas, the U. Navy receded from public view. The conflict in the Middle East focused attention on land warfare. Corporate mergers reduced competition in the shipbuilding industry. Shipbuilding costs accelerated, and efforts to discipline them were largely abandoned except to cut back on the number of vessels constructed.

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As fewer ships are ordered, shipyards lay off workers, and many of the most experienced look elsewhere for more certain employment. But the real problem is drift. Fleet size has fluctuated with shifting political winds, and amid theorizing about measuring capabilities rather than concrete numbers of ships. The Quadrennial Defense Review of seemed to support a battle force of ships composed of 12 aircraft carriers, surface combatants, 55 submarines, 36 amphibious vessels, plus support ships.

For the next two years, and as a partial result of the decision to build 56 Littoral Combat Ships, a relatively shallow-draft, fast, smaller combatant designed to operate close to shore, the desired fleet size increased to Then, in , after re-evaluating capabilities, Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Advancing technology allowed the fleet to be reduced, Clark argued, and cuts could be deepened because more ships would be based forward and crews would be swapped aboard the same ship, rather than the traditional practice of returning a ship from a deployment and sending another to replace it.

In February , the Navy proposed a ship fleet with one fewer carrier, and smaller numbers of submarines and amphibious ships than its earlier published targets. If, for example, the combat power of 10 ships today could be concentrated in a single vessel, it would be foolish to build a fleet one-tenth the size of the current one, because a force that small could not cover all the places where the U. If a short-haul airline profitably carries passengers daily on routes, would it make sense for the company to replace planes with newer ones that carry 10 times as many customers?

The smaller number of planes would reduce the convenience — and thus profit — of many flights scattered throughout the day. In any event, Senate Armed Services Committee members Joseph Lieberman and John McCain questioned whether the funds the Defense Department allocated to shipbuilding for the current fiscal year would allow the Navy to reach its newly declared objective.

Come rain or shine: weather routing for the shipping industry

The salient constant in U. Nor is this the end of the problem. McCain, on the same occasion, noted the rising cost of shipbuilding. Paying for a ship is not the same as buying an apple. Years pass between the time plans for a new ship are approved and the launch. Technology changes, and it is difficult to resist adding what may indeed be improvements to a vessel under construction. MPCI covers loss of crop value due to all types of natural disasters, including hail, drought, excessive moisture and unusually hot weather.

Crop-hail policies are provided directly to farmers by private insurers and can be purchased at any time during the growing season. Providing crop insurance has historically been a difficult undertaking.

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Insurance operates most effectively when the pool of people exposed to a certain kind of risk do not all suffer a loss at the same time. For example, offering fire insurance works well because it is highly unlikely that every policyholder will suffer a fire at the same time. But if all policyholders are exposed to the same loss at the same time, such as if a flood affects all farmers in a floodplain, then insurers cannot spread the risks broadly enough and over a sufficient length of time to keep insurance affordable. The difficulty in spreading risks for crop-related risks is a fundamental issue that is critical to understanding the history of crop insurance and is one of the reasons for the creation of a federal crop insurance program.

Hail insurance has been in existence in some form since the early part of the twentieth century and it has been a thriving segment of the insurance industry since the s. Insurers also tried to develop a multi-risk crop insurance business. But the attempt failed because they had insufficient data to set adequate rates to cover the kind of widespread catastrophic losses that long periods of drought, for example, produced.


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Hail strikes randomly and erratically. Crops growing in one part of a field may be completely ruined while the remainder is unscathed.

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Damage from hail can be easily identified and assessed separately from other adverse conditions that can lead to yield losses. Insurance coverage for hail damage is provided by both the private sector, with crop-hail insurance, and under federally subsidized multiple peril insurance policies. Farmers who purchase crop-hail coverage can choose to drop coverage for hail under the multiple peril policy, in exchange for a reduction in premium, or keep it for additional protection. A basic crop-hail policy covers losses due to hail and generally also fire, which is characterized by the same randomness as hail.

The policy also covers damage caused by lightning and transit after harvest to storage. Coverage for additional causes of loss, such as vandalism, may be available as well as coverage for replanting costs when hailstorms early in the growing season damage a crop so severely that it has to be replanted. When the destroyed crop is replanted, the farmer also receives compensation for the reduction in expected yield due to the later planting date. Most insurers offer policies for the major grain and hay crops but the availability of coverage for specialty and vegetable crops is more limited.

A crop-hail policy can be purchased at any stage during the growing season from the time when 50 percent of the crop is clearly visible to the anticipated harvest date, as long as the crop has not already been damaged by hail. Farmers can insure all crops in which they have a financial interest where land is leased, the landowner as well as the farmer have financial interests in the crop yield or just a portion of their acreage. The amount of coverage, which is purchased on a per-acre basis, is limited to the expected value of the crop, including anticipated profit.

Coverage amount is the harvest price per bushel or pound forecast for the crop at the time the insurance policy is sold, times the number of bushels or pounds each acre is expected to produce. Premiums vary according to the susceptibility of the crop to hail damage and the location of the crop. Since hail losses have been tracked for more than 40 years, certain townships are known to be more prone to hail damage than others.

After a report of loss, the adjuster estimates the percentage reduction in yield due to hail damage by taking samples and sometimes actually counting the plants damaged in a representative area. The loss calculation takes into account the fact that the expected value of the crop at the time the loss occurs may be higher than the value yield times market price forecast at the time the policy was written. However, the claim payment or "cash value" cannot exceed the original underwriting limit or the policyholder's financial interest in the crop.

Where there is the possibility of a bumper crop, the farmer may increase coverage mid-season. Multiple peril, or all-risk crop insurance, protects against low yield and crop quality losses due to adverse weather including hail and unavoidable damage from insects and disease.


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While multiple peril insurance covers most economically significant agricultural crops grown in the United States—more than crops—insurance for a specific crop may not be available in every state or in every county within a state. Most crops for which there is not yet coverage are eligible for the limited protection offered by the Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program.

A farmer purchasing multiple peril crop insurance has a number of coverage options. The first is a CAT catastrophe policy, the lowest amount of protection available. The federal government subsidizes the entire cost of the CAT coverage. Farmers pay only an administrative fee. In addition, farmers can buy additional insurance, known as "private supplemental," under a "buy up" program designed to encourage purchase of higher, more adequate levels of coverage.

Under the buy-up program, the federal government subsidizes a portion of the premium. Producers of some crops may be eligible for a multiple peril coverage known as "group risk" crop insurance, which may cost less than other options. It differs from the basic coverage in that yield guarantees are based on the county average yield rather than that of the individual farmer and is suitable for farmers whose yields tends to follow countywide yields. Policyholders automatically receive an insurance payment in any year that the county average yield falls below the yield guarantee.

There are several key differences between multiple peril and crop-hail insurance programs. First, farmers purchasing multiple peril insurance choose coverage levels by "unit" rather than by acre as with crop-hail. A unit is the entire acreage of the crop planted in the county by the farmer. Farmers can also break down coverage by "sections"—one square mile—or by irrigated and dryland practices. This difference is most evident when a loss occurs, because in the multiple peril program the amount of the loss—the reduced yield—is averaged out over all the fields in the unit rather than over the affected acre or acres insured.

The S. These stations are distributed on all the coasts of France.

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