Maybe it's about profits and profiteering by one of Romney's military advisers.
See, I thought Romney's passion for the Navy and desire to pour money into that service was about, you know, sailors. Well, that may be one reason, but the main reason is John Lehman, as Wired points out.
... For one of Romney’s most important advisers on Navy issues, a man who oversaw a massive naval expansion for Pres. Ronald Reagan, there’s more at stake than U.S. national security. John Lehman, an investment banker and former secretary of the Navy, has strong and complex personal financial ties to the naval shipbuilding industry. He has profited hugely from the Navy’s slow growth in recent years — raising the prospect that he could make even more if Romney takes his advice on expanding the fleet.
That doesn’t mean that a bigger or better Navy is necessarily a bad idea. But it does complicate Romney’s claim that a larger Navy would merely be “matched to the interests we need to protect.” A bigger maritime force has the possibility of personally enriching one of the candidate’s top advisers. In fact, it already has.
Lehman is the founder and chairman of J.F. Lehman & Company, a private equity firm. He also sits on several corporate boards.
Lehman invested in a government-backed “Superferry” in Hawaii — a business that ultimately failed, but not before boosting the standing of Austal USA, an Alabama shipbuilder that constructed the ferry service’s ships. Austal USA’s rising fortunes in turn benefited international defense giant BAE Systems, which then bought up shipyards owned by Lehman in order to work more closely with Austal USA.
When all was said and done, the roundtrip deal helped net Lehman’s firm a reported $180 million. And besides that, Lehman continues to own shipyards that do lucrative maintenance work for the Navy. ...Wired, h/t Think Progress
As Wired's David Axe points out in his article, this is hardly the first time John Lehman has cashed in on defense policy he helped to write. Maybe, just maybe, this expansion of the Navy will never happen. But if it does, "it’s worth noting that one of the brains behind the expansion has profited rather handsomely by encouraging the Navy to build," says Axe.