ICYMI: Rubio: We Need Sea Power to Counter China
Sea Power Is Essential to Countering Communist China
U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL)
April 10, 2023
[O]n March 28,…U.S. Navy Secretary Carlos del Toro admitted a disturbing imbalance of military resources to the Senate Committee on Appropriations: “By 2028, we will have approximately 291 ships or so. I can’t predict exactly what the Chinese will have, but estimates are upward of 440.” In other words, China is on a fast track to displace America as the world’s dominant naval power….
Too few people fully understand or appreciate the fact that our ships do more than defend allies and partners from invasion; they also guarantee freedom of navigation on the open seas…. That will end if Beijing uses a more powerful force to overturn our maritime supremacy.
That Beijing seeks to do so is undeniable…. Beijing has…challenged the law of the sea countless times, using everything from fishing boats and artificial islands to warships and fighter jets to advance its illegal claims and restrict innocent passage in the South and East China Seas.
Meanwhile, just one of China’s 13 naval shipyards has greater productive capacity than all seven U.S. shipyards combined…. Don’t the stakes in this conflict merit a response from the Biden administration? The answer is obviously yes…. But President Biden apparently didn’t get that memo because his budget request for the Navy and Marine Corps is about two percent below inflation….
There’s another problem here, too, which is how the U.S. Department of Defense invests the money it does have. Instead of using funds for basic tasks like shipbuilding, the Pentagon has been spending more and more taxpayer dollars on obscure experiments conducted by third-party contractors under the guise of research and development….
If our leaders want even the slightest chance of maintaining U.S. maritime supremacy—and all the benefits it brings to the American people and the world as a whole—they need to reorder their priorities and accelerate our nation’s shipbuilding….