Navy’s use of big carriers again being questioned

retired admiral and an obscure but influential congressman have rekindled one of the oldest debates in the U.S. military, questioning the Navy’s reliance on a small fleet of large aircraft carriers.

In a closed-door discussion this month with the Navy’s top carrier advocates and independent analysts, U.S. Rep. Roscoe Bartlett, R-Md., suggested shifting to smaller and cheaper carriers, equipped largely with unmanned aircraft. He argued the move would allow the United States to buy more ships and reduce the risk that a surprise attack would devastate the fleet.