Nice rant. Would be better factually if Rumsfeld actually had anything to do with the Super Hornet. Reading its history will lead you to a different SecDef. Diminishes that whole illustrative paragraph.
However, I am in complete agreement with your basic case that we will need to actually see all the equipment serving before any conclusive judgements can happen.
Defense dollars are to become rare creatures all while weapons become cheaper. The CVN is an excellent mobile platform to project military power as long as itís maintained. Just to get funding for future refueling of Truman was a battle in Washington.
Nowhere in the sales brochure for the Ford class did it say Ďcheaper maintenance costs as fact. It is merely assumed , Until Ford joins the active fleet we just wonít know.. Ford smacks of the Rumsfeld train of thought of doing more with less because technology will save the day.
Well letís look at another Rumsfeld decision the F-18 Super Hornet. A great plane, technological advanced for its day and the advanced technology should have a pay back. So Rumsfeld streamlined the carrier air wing and based it on just this one plane as cost savings. Then the number of air wings were cut , then the number of planes per squadron were cut and what comes along but Iraq and Afghanistan. So after saving millions we are spending hundreds of millions resuscitating worn out F-18s. That was his line of thinking.
Ford, LCS and Zumwalt came from the same thinking so please forgive me if I am a little pessimistic. Rumsfeld did get one thing right. We certainly had to do more with less.
Am no expert but I was just looking at the big picture - that nuclear powered aircraft carriers overall are a magnificent technological achievement.
The United States ability to design, build, crew, and sustain each carrier for a 50 year service life you have to agree is impressive.
The issues that you have highlighted previously seem like teething problems that will be fixed soon.
Take it easy.