Saturday, April 20, 2019

The U.S. Navy Has a Serious Problem: Too Few Ships

Erik Khzmalyan,, April 20, 2019

image from article

It’s high time for the United States to recover the numerical superiority.

As the U.S. land wars in the Middle East fade into obscurity, Washington is slowly bracing itself for the naval age that will dominate the twenty-first century. Inherently a maritime nation, the future of America’s role in the world will be determined by its sea power. In light of China’s entrance into the global commons, no other military branch is flexible enough to respond to Beijing’s challenge and maintain the balance-of-power in the Indo-Pacific. But despite its unmatched technological superiority, the Navy has the numbers problem as a result of self-inflicted disarmament of the United States.

Due to perceived low-level maritime threats such as piracy and smuggling in the seas, the U.S. Navy was reduced dramatically in the aftermath of the Cold War. ...

While the U.S. decommissioned its warships, Russia and China began their modernization programs. ...

With missions stretching from protecting the global commerce, deterring regional conflicts, and maintaining the balance-of-power in the most important region of the world, the U.S. Navy is going to need more ships. ...

The stretched-too-thin state of the Navy will hinder its public diplomacy [JB emphasis] efforts as well. The naval visits to friendly nations not only increase America’s profile in the hosting country but provide a better understanding to U.S. sailors about the situation on the ground. Think of naval diplomacy as police officers engaging with local communities. Constant engagement is needed for mutual solidarity and sympathy.

The advantage of the U.S. Navy is in its ability to change perceptions, deter conflicts, and promote good governance while keeping the guns quiet. ...
Erik Khzmalyan is an M.A. candidate in Statecraft and National Security Affairs at the Institute of World Politics (IWP). Mr. Khzmalyan is a Senior Fellow at the ERA Institute. His research primarily focuses on U.S. national security and foreign policy.

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