After decades of cuts to shipbuilding and maintenance, the United States Navy has been stripped down to a fleet barely larger than it was 100 years ago, in1916. Meanwhile, China has dramatically increased its spending on its Navy, as well as on its Air Force, cyberspace and electronic warfare capabilities. Alarmingly, Beijing is building islands in the South China Sea, threatening trade routes and menacing allies.
President Trump made it a priority to expand the American “blue water” fleet to 355 battle-force ships. His plan would have increased shipbuilding by only $6.7 billion and would have launched us on a trajectory to protect America’s maritime supremacy. Shortly after taking office, Joe Biden slashed this from his budget.
With me to explore this and many other national defense concerns – in a fascinating, wide-ranging and strategic conversation – is Russ Vought, the founder of The Center for Renewing America and the Trump Administration’s Director of the Office of Management and Budget and Arthur Herman, a senior fellow at the Hudson Institute focusing on defense, energy and technology issues and author of To Rule the Waves and Freedom Forge: How American Business Produced Victory in World War II.
As a maritime nation, the US is dependent on control of the sea to protect its people as well as its flow of trade. At its founding, America understood that its strength lay in a strong navy. But in the last seventy years, the United States has wandered far from this wisdom, and suffered endless “boots on the ground” debacles. Emphasizing sea power – and air, space and cyber power – would get us back on track. This is an issue that is barely talked about, but needs to be.