MIL-OSI USA: Sullivan: America’s Navy is Being Overmatched by China As Biden Admin Prioritizes Climate Change

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US Senate News:

Source: United States Senator for Alaska Dan Sullivan
06.11.24
WASHINGTON—U.S. Senator Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska), a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee (SASC) and ranking member of the Readiness and Management Support Subcommittee, sounded the alarm this morning in an interview on Fox News’ America Newsroom over the dramatic reduction of the U.S. Navy fleet and the shipbuilding crisis that has exponentially worsened under President Biden’s watch. Senator Sullivan warned that the United States is now being “overmatched” by our adversaries, including China, whose 370 combatant ship fleet already exceeds the United States’ 293 combatant ship fleet. China’s Navy is also poised to dramatically grow in the coming years while the Biden administration has forecasted further cuts to the U.S. Navy fleet.
Senator Sullivan also called for a return of the “peace through strength” policies embraced by previous Republican presidents, including President Donald Trump, and noted the dangers posed by President Biden’s Navy Secretary, Carlos Del Toro, who “is not focused at all on shipbuilding,” and “focuses more on climate change.”
Senator Sullivan joined Bill Hemmer and Dana Perino after previewing amendments to the FY 2025 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) to address the Biden administration’s shipbuilding crisis in an opinion article published in the Washington Examiner earlier today.

Click here or the image above to watch Sen. Sullivan’s interview.
SULLIVAN: America’s Navy is Dramatically Shrinking While China is Going Through Biggest Peacetime Military Build-Up in History 
BILL HEMMER: The U.S. military is said to be unveiling a so-called hellscape strategy if China were to invade Taiwan. It calls for the use of thousands of drones. Republican Senator Dan Sullivan just got back from a trip to Southeast Asia. He’s with us in person. Good morning to you. Taiwan’s president, a lot of others over there as well. Admiral Samuel Paparo—he’s the commander of U.S. INDOPACOM. He said, “I want to turn the Taiwan Strait into an unmanned hellscape using a number of classified capabilities. I can make their lives utterly miserable for a month, which buys me the time for the rest of everything.” You want to flesh that out?
SENATOR SULLIVAN: Well, look, I’m a big fan of Admiral Paparo. He just started in the job, and he’s aggressive, and I like his aggressiveness. But I was over there meeting with the Taiwanese leadership, and then we moved over to Singapore to meet with allies that we have in the INDOPACOM region. But, Bill, here’s the challenge: Our shipbuilding capacity is in a crisis and the U.S. Navy is dramatically shrinking. So, Admiral Paparo—this is a great plan, but we don’t have the Navy to execute that at all. The Biden Navy—let me just give you some of the numbers—has gone from 293 ships to 280 ships by 2027. That’s when Xi Jinping says he wants to be ready for an invasion of Taiwan. Meanwhile, China’s shipbuilding is going to go to over 400 ships by 2027. We are being outmatched in a huge way. And I know Admiral Paparo is very concerned about that. I’ve spoken to him.
DANA PERINO: You just basically laid out these numbers here. So people can see just the vast amount of size. Why is it so important for us to have ships like this? That might sound like a simple question, but we’re in the department of asking dumb questions. I mean, the answer is obviously what it is, but I want to hear you explain to the American people—why does this matter?
SULLIVAN: This matters hugely, right? With regard to our interests in the South China Sea, in the INDOPACOM region. This is the entire U.S. Navy, Dana, that I’m talking about that is shrinking dramatically. Meanwhile, our main adversary, China, is going through the biggest peacetime build-up of the military in history. This is what happens when you have an aggressive dictator who sees an opportunity. Our weakness is going to be provocative, as it always has been. And here’s the deal—the Secretary of the Navy is not focused at all on shipbuilding. Neither is the Biden administration. They’re not focused on warfighting. This Secretary of the Navy focuses more on climate change, if you can believe that, than he does on warfighting and shipbuilding. When you show this kind of weakness with an adversary, it invites chaos and we’re seeing that all over the world.
SULLIVAN: America is Overmatched Across the World and Needs a Return to ‘Peace Through Strength’ Policies
HEMMER: If Trump were to win in November, how would it change?
SULLIVAN: I think, right now, I’m heading back to DC in the next hour. We’re going to be marking up the Defense Authorization Act. A bunch of us—by the way, a bipartisan group of senators—have major amendments to try to fix our shipbuilding. I think this would be a great initiative. A number of us have been talking about this already with members we think of the incoming Trump administration. Hopefully, President Trump certainly wins in November, but this would be a very important initiative that I think is tailor-made for President Trump. Think about this, in terms of Republicans—whether it’s Teddy Roosevelt, with his great white fleet; whether it’s Reagan; who built a 600-ship Navy—this is exactly what Republicans do: Peace through strength.
HEMMER: When we went to the Arctic a couple of months ago, one of the things they talked about was icebreakers. Putin had, they told us 39. [Senator Sullivan says] 54, some of them are nuclear powered…
SULLIVAN: …and almost all are weaponized.
HEMMER: We have two and one’s broken in drydock and they’re run by the U.S. Coast Guard.
SULLIVAN: I mean, we, again, are overmatched in so many parts of the world. The Arctic, of course, is my home, right? That’s Alaska. But the Russians and the Chinese, in terms of naval assets, are over-matching us all over the world. We have to fix it. We’ve done this before. We know how to build ships. We know how to build a military. But right now, with this administration—every year, President Biden has put forward a budget that shrinks the Army, shrinks the Navy, shrinks the Marine Corps. That is exactly the wrong message to be sending Xi Jinping and Putin and the Ayatollahs in Iran.
HEMMER: It seems like an issue that kind of goes under the radar.
PERINO: Well, and if Republicans do win more of these seats in the Senate, you could have at least two additional veterans who are then maybe more military minded and can help you get that across the finish.
SULLIVAN: We have some great candidates, and we’ll get back to peace through strength when President Trump takes the White House and Republicans take the Senate.
HEMMER: Thanks for coming in today.
SULLIVAN: Thanks again.
* * *
Opinion: Congress must step in to fix America’s shipbuilding crisis
By: U.S. Senator Dan Sullivan
June 11, 2024
The U.S. Navy is in the midst of a shipbuilding crisis that will leave the United States and our men and women in uniform perilously overmatched in an increasingly dangerous world if it is not addressed soon.
This week, the Senate Armed Services Committee is negotiating the details of the National Defense Authorization Act, legislation that has passed every year since its inception. It is critical that the committee, of which I am a member, address the shipbuilding crisis in this legislation. My colleagues on both sides of the aisle and I have a number of amendments to the NDAA addressing this crisis. Congress must intervene because it has been abundantly clear that President Joe Biden and his secretary of the Navy will not.
Recently, I led a bipartisan Senate delegation to the Indo-Pacific, where our Navy’s power is critical to our own security and that of our allies. The concern over declining American shipbuilding power was front and center. As I spoke with the newly elected Taiwanese president, the Chinese People’s Liberation Army’s ships were encircling the island democracy.
Over the past few years, China’s navy has grown rapidly. It currently has about 370 warships and is on pace to have more than 400 by 2027 — the year Chinese President Xi Jinping has directed his forces to be ready to invade Taiwan.
Meanwhile, under Biden, the U.S. Navy has shrunk to just 293 ships and is on pace to shrink to 280 in 2027 — what could amount to a dangerous 120-ship deficit compared to the Chinese navy.
After years of pressure from Congress, Biden’s Navy Secretary Carlos Del Toro recently completed a review of the devastating state of the Navy’s shipbuilding programs. The results of that review were abysmal: five of the Navy’s major shipbuilding programs — the Columbia-class submarine, the Constellation-class frigate, the Ford-class aircraft carriers, and the Block IV and Block V Virginia-class submarines — are all delayed between one and three years.
If the Navy secretary had been doing his job properly, the report would have been released two years earlier. Instead, the secretary of the Navy has been distracted from his core mission of warfighting and shipbuilding, focusing instead on matters such as climate change. In Del Toro’s nomination hearing testimony, for example, he devoted a full paragraph to the “climate crisis” and did not even once mention shipbuilding, lethality, or warfighting. Likewise, in his strategic guidance that he issued to the Navy and Marine Corps, an important document that lays out the secretary’s vision for our naval force, he mentioned climate change nine times but didn’t once address increasing the size of the U.S. fleet during these dangerous times.

In my 30 years of public service, I’ve never seen U.S. Navy readiness at such a low point. And it’s not just me. This is a widespread, bipartisan concern. Numerous experts have also warned how ill-prepared our Navy is to meet global challenges and to keep us safe, particularly in the vital Indo-Pacific region, which includes my home state, Alaska. Recently, experts from the Congressional Research Service told me that “the U.S. Navy is in its worst state for designing, building, maintaining, and crewing ships in over 40 years.”
My amendments to the NDAA would address this crisis by requiring the Navy to be more predictable with procurement profiles so industry can respond with capital investments and workforce development, increasing the tenure of the admiral in charge of ship design and procurement, and working toward increasing our country’s shipbuilding capacity by identifying viable locations for two additional shipyards west of the Panama Canal. 
With advanced computer-aided design, we can also now take advantage of skilled workers in the interior of the country by designing modular Navy ships with major parts being built inland, from Wisconsin to Alaska, and then assembled on the coasts.
Because the Navy secretary is failing in his responsibilities, Congress must step in to fulfill its Article I constitutional responsibility “to provide and maintain a Navy.” As a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee and ranking member of the Readiness and Management Subcommittee, that’s exactly what I intend to do.

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