After the controversial speech Defense Secretary Robert Gates delivered in May to an audience of naval officers and contractors in which he questioned “whether the nation can really afford a Navy that relies on $3-6-billion destroyers, $7-billion submarines and $11-billion carriers,” there was just time for one question from the audience. Given all that Gates had said, he could have fielded one of a number of questions about plans the Pentagon was hatching for the Navy, or how many ...

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