Very nicely put.
If you agree with Bill, then Bill is advocating the need for "Net Centric" futuristic systems, like unmanned platforms networked to manned ones. Yet, you also claim to disagree with this. Has me puzzled.
As far as US Navy accidents at sea, the good old days saw their share of them. Read up on the Honda Point disaster, where the crews did not know how to use the "newfangled" navigation equipment of the day, so ignored it and met with ignominity.
And if you think the Russian Navy is a very formidable force, you need to compare it to the old Soviet one. And you might want to look at the condition of their economy. China's navy is certainly more advanced than a few decades back, but far from invincible, and with existing platforms in our service.
Huge points for your comments on the Seventh Fleet, and on the lack of--and need for--far more training. Such training is the key to using what we have to defeat any adversary in any sort of war with the equipment that has been trained on.
The Russians and the Chinese have developed into a formidable force. The Seventh Fleet is a sump of corruption from top to bottom. Presidents have used our diminished naval forces without taking into account the need for training. Arleigh Burkes collide with merchants. This is naval decadence. This is like battleships bashing into merchants in the 1930s. Crews do not know how to operate the vessels' steering system. This is beyond belief.
The Navy command is drunk on fads "Net Centric Warfare" (which would collapse within seconds in real war against a first rank opponent, we need to be training to fight without the over-arching, micro-managing command our communications give us in our "little wars"---we will be in 1800 communications-wise in a new war), and the hilarious garbage of the LCS fad that took a momentary anomoly in world power balance and tried to build a fleet for it---to the despair commanders who knew we had to build to fight first-rate opponents on the high seas. The freakish catastrophes that are the Zumwalts are the end result of idiocy at all levels of government and industry in procurement. Bill Oreto is dead right about the technology demonstrator USS Ford which has been a vast sump down which millions have been spent to the detriment of more pressing needs.
Put out more flags rah rah and patriotic blindness will not save the thousands of officers and sailors doomed to annihilation because we have become the new Romanovs. WWII was bloody enough with crews and warships annihilated in battles against an enemy we were not prepared to fight. We can no longer afford to fail.