By DAVID SHARP
PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — The U.S. Navy was once enamored with speed. It wanted lighter, faster ships to deal with threats during the war on terror, before pivoting to Russia and China and their modern navies. The Navy now wants to retire nine recently built littoral combat ships, which cost about $4.5 billion altogether to build. Chief of naval operations Adm. Mike Gilday said this week that it’s better to have a smaller, lethal force than a larger force that’s “less ready, less lethal and less capable.” The oldest of the littoral combat ships is 10 years old. Congress must sign off on the Navy’s proposal to decommission ships ahead of their projected service life.