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No Fighting in the Littoral!

5:12 PM, Feb 6, 2008 • By MICHAEL GOLDFARB
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The Navy's Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) is to be the cornerstone of a revitalized surface fleet (if the Navy can ever get the thing built at a reasonable price). The Navy's next generation destroyer, the DDG-1000, is also built to "dominate the littoral." This is because the Pentagon is betting that future Naval conflicts are likely to be fought in the littoral, rather than in the open ocean. But apparently the Navy can't train in the littoral:

A federal judge yesterday said White House officials cannot override her order requiring the Navy to take special precautions to protect whales and dolphins from sonar used during its training off Southern California....

If allowed to stand, the waiver would have exempted the Navy drills from Cooper's restrictions. Among other steps, the judge ordered the Navy last month to not transmit sonar within 12 miles of California's coastline and to shut down the sonar whenever marine mammals are spotted within 2,200 yards.

If a war breaks out, maybe the Chinese will also agree not to use sonar near the coast or when whales are around. Short of that, this has the effect of endangering the lives of American sailors. So what's this really about (besides the fact that environmentalists care more about the whales than humans)?

"The court has affirmed that we do not live under an imperial presidency," Joel Reynolds, an attorney for the Natural Resources Defense Council, said yesterday. "The Navy doesn't need to harm whales to train effectively with sonar."

I don't believe a lawyer for the NRDC is qualified to determine what is necessary for effective naval training. I'd prefer to leave that decision to the Navy, and my imperial president.