Originally Posted by NCC-73515
Why doesn't she become a museum ship in say... SF?
There has indeed been moves by various groups to do that. However, there's numerous factors that go against it. First off, decommissioning a ship is not cheap. It's actually very expensive. It's a very long and costly process to remove sensitive or hazardous materials from the ship and so on. It can actually take years to go from retiring a ship to complete dismantling. Scrapping a ship is also very expensive for the same reasons. There's a lot of materials that you can't just toss. It has to be treated as hazardous materials per the EPA. So there's a lot of money that goes into just the retirement of the ship.
Secondly, finding someone that can actually take the ship as a museum is probably not likely. Currently in the US, because of the economy, existing floating museums such as the USS Olympia are struggling to make ends meet and some of these ships are potentially facing the scrap yard. The Enterprise being a full blown super carrier will be extremely costly. Also since the carrier is very much a floating industrial complex, there would need to be a lot of retrofitting to make the ship accessible to the general public. It has been done before on carriers such as the USS Intrepid, USS Midway, and USS Yorktown but it's costly.
Thirdly, the fact that the Enterprise is a nuclear powered carrier already brings a certain stigma to the ship. Nuclear powered ships are still constant targets for environmental protestors.
The fact that she's also a warship also would likely attract protestors, especially in the San Francisco area. San Diego would probably be a more realistic option, but they already have a carrier so they might not have the space or resources. San Francisco is not particularly nuclear nor military friendly.
Another issue is that in the end, the fate of the ship lies with the Navy. Even if someone out there did have a location, the funds, and the means to take the Enterprise, if there is no support within Navy and the Pentagon to turn the Enterprise over to a museum, then it won't happen. Right now I think the Secretary of Defense has really been pushing to take the Enterprise out of service as soon as possible.
From what I've read, there is a deadline to have the Enterprise taken out of service and scrapped. Bremerton is now the only facility on the west coast of the US that can service nuclear powered ships. That's every carrier and submarine. I THINK Alameda, CA used to be able to do the work but those facilities have long since been shut down. So they need to get the Enterprise taken care of as soon as possible so as not to interfere with the scheduled maintenance of the other ships in the fleet.
I wouldn't be surprised if they also need to have the Enterprise taken off the books quickly in order to allow for another ships to take on the name. The new Gerald Ford class carriers are on their way and it may be that the Navy might move to have one of those ships take up the name. So they need to get rid of the current Enterprise before they can legally give the name to another ship.
Also on a side note, ignoring the past 60-70 years, having a large standing military is actually not an American tradition. It's a very recent thing that was born out of WWII and the Cold War. Historically America has always converted our weapons into other things for peace time. The old saying is beating our swords or spears into plow sheers. So symbolically the scrapping of this Enterprise just as with her predecessor is very much in keeping with a tradition that the ship was presumably built to protect.