90 Miles From Tyranny : US Navy Punts on Building a Fleet to Compete with China

Saturday, June 19, 2021

US Navy Punts on Building a Fleet to Compete with China

The Project 052D destroyer Giuyang of China's People's Liberation Army Navy in the Yellow Sea 

The 2022 budget proposal aims to increase future capability but misses the reality facing it today.

The Navy budget proposal released last month seems an exercise in cognitive dissonance. Not only does it fail to acknowledge the obvious dangers of the present day, it further defers making good on long-overdue commitments to meet the threats of tomorrow.
Take a look around. Russia recently conducted large naval drills around Ukraine. Chinese aircraft and warships are busily trying to intimidate Taiwan and bully Philippine fishermen in the South China Sea. All the while, Beijing assiduously has been expanding its navy at breakneck pace.

To meet these aggressive Chinese and Russian behaviors, the United States should push to recapitalize its naval infrastructure, invigorate lackluster shipbuilding, and build needed end-strength. Unfortunately, the Navy budget proposed by the Biden administration does none of this. Instead, it shunts money from the field to the lab (R&D increases 12 percent over last year while overall procurement drops 8 percent) and busies itself with re-education.

The president’s proposal disappoints on several counts, starting with shipbuilding.

Last year, the Navy sought and got Congressional authority to make a cost-saving block buy of four amphibious ships. Instead of honoring that commitment, the proposed budget would purchase none of those ships—a move that would further complicate the shipbuilding industry’s efforts to remain solvent and undermine good faith with Congress.

Overall, this budget proposes a $2 billion cut to...

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