Although much maligned, the United States military is still the envy of the world and an example of the nation's greatness. Along that line of thinking, just as the same people that would look to further the nation's indebtedness look to gut its military prowess, we have another shining example of why that's a huge mistake.
The LCS-2 was designed for a purpose and is ready to take action.
The LCS-2 (littoral combat ship) has amazing speed and agility. Littoral means close to shore, and that's how this baby operates. With its breathtaking revolutionary design the ship can serve up a variety of functions, including:
> Launch helicopters
> Launch light-armored vehicles
> Sweep for mines
> Fire torpedoes and missiles
> Fire machine guns
The photos on this page are of the ship going 43 knots and leaving very little wake in the area. The ship is designed to go after pirates like the ones that terrorize waters off the coast of Somalia. It's a triple hauled dream that cost only $208.0 million. It is estimated the U.S. Navy will contract General Dynamics (NYSE:GD) to build 55 of these pirate catchers.
You can't have prosperity without safety.
On February 22, 2011, four American hostages were killed by Somali pirates. Going into the summer those same pirates held almost 400 hostages. It is estimated that ransom payments totaled $240.0 million last year as the average demand has surged from $150,000 per incident in 2005 to $5.4 million in 2010. While so many things remind us daily of how far we've slipped (like paying China $75.0 million a day to support our borrowing addiction), it's great to see us producing things no other nation in the world is capable of producing.
Message of the Market
Okay, that wasn't a bad close, and in fact underscores the notion there are potential buyers out there, and they are sitting on a ton of money. It's going to take a string of improving news, better investment conditions, and smarter fiscal policy for the bulk, heck even a sliver, of all that sideline cash to get in the market. It's not just that money is going into bonds with paltry gains, trillions of dollars are sitting in cash as part of statements. Some of these statements are fear-driven, some protest-driven, some logically-driven, but all are designed to say to the powers that be to step away and let free markets work magic. I think that was encapsulated in yesterday's session, which began with a freefalling selloff that was largely protest and confusion.
Don't get me wrong, there are a ton of problems and it's time everyone gets serious. This means celebrated CEOs and executives have to go, just as much as loved but faulty business plans need to be ditched as well. After the bell, two very high profile executives bit the bullet. They're out despite savior-like fanfare when they were hired.
Sallie Krawcheck at Bank of America (NYSE:BAC)
Carol Bartz at Yahoo (YHOO)
It's clear these companies are in trouble, losing battleships heading for dry dock at best or Davey's Locker at worse. Tossing overboard would-be saviors is smart if not a little late. It's hard not to see these moves as a parallel for the nation.