As for China’s missiles, “it was an additional threat to take into account,” Daly said.
However, “the US Navy is very aware of this and has plans to deal with it,” he added.
The cost of the carriers had to be compared with the huge funding required to protect and supply air bases and troops on land, as illustrated by the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, he said.
The carriers could also be ordered in without the political strain associated with a drawn-out ground war.
“The American people are very wary of commitments ashore, there’s no appetite to go in and have a 10-year presence in some place,” Daly said.
“Here you have a force that can go to a location, deal with a task ahead and then leave quickly or stay as long as it needs to. The political dynamic of that is completely different,” he said.