GOP Senators to Biden Administration: Why is the U.S. Navy Falling Behind the Chinese?

Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi believes “the enemy is within,” meaning she sees her Republican colleagues in Congress, not as political rivals, but enemies to their country.

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin believes a slightly different version of the Pelosi Theorem, suggesting the nation’s military is overrun by white nationalists who must be weeded from the ranks to the point that the military will pause operations to identify them.

With that in mind, it’s good that some Republican senators see the threat where it really is: outside of Congress, outside the Pentagon, and outside our borders.

Florida GOP Sens. Marco Rubio and Rick Scott were joined by fellow Republican Sens. Roger Wicker and Cindy Hyde-Smith, both of Mississippi, and Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee, to question Austin as to whether America’s Navy is falling behind China’s.

“We write to express deep concern about the uncertainty surrounding this administration’s commitment to the U.S. Navy’s shipbuilding requirements and America’s overall ability to project power throughout the world,” their letter said. 

They pointed out that the Department of Defense’s 2020 annual report to Congress noted, “China has already achieved parity with — or even exceeded — the United States in several military modernization areas, including shipbuilding… .”

China now has the world’s largest navy, the Pentagon report said, boasting 350 ships and submarines “including over 130 major surface combatants.’”

Meanwhile, China is only strengthening that capability. The communist nation is now the “top ship-producing nation in the world by tonnage and is increasing its shipbuilding capacity and capability for all naval classes,” the DOD report stated.

“The U.S. Navy must be prepared to compete, or we will face a future in which the seas are dominated by China,” the senators wrote. 

“Even more alarming are the predictions within the 2018 National Defense Strategy Commission,” the lawmakers added. “Within this document, the commission predicts a bleak future in which the People’s Liberation Army Navy intimidates America and its allies through sea dominance, which results in China overwhelming Taiwan or denying America and its allies access to the South China Sea.”

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The Navy wants to boost its ship numbers and capabilities, the senators say.

“If implemented, this plan would increase America’s ability to counter and deter Chinese influence abroad, and increase protection for American interests overseas and at home,” they wrote.

They closed by noting that Austin pledged in his confirmation hearings that to review the Navy’s plight. “But,” the letter says, “no substantial commitments were made.”

“As such, we request a formal response from the Defense Department which unequivocally commits to the requirements outlined in the U.S. Navy’s shipbuilding plan. This is crucial to America’s national security.” 

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