(NationalSentinel) Prior to winning the November election, GOP-nominee Donald J. Trump pledged to increase the number of Navy ships to counter Russian, Iranian and especially Chinese naval aggression.
As president-elect, Trump still pledges to ‘make the Navy great again.’
Trump has demanded a dramatic increase in the number of U.S. Navy warships, which has steadily declined in the Obama era, and the Navy is responding with the biggest shipbuilding plan since the Cold War, The Associated Press reports:
The Navy’s 355-ship proposal released last month is even larger than what the Republican Trump had promoted on the campaign trail, providing a potential boost to shipyards that have struggled because budget caps that have limited money funding for ships.
…Boosting shipbuilding to meet the Navy’s 355-ship goal could require an additional $5 billion to $5.5 billion in annual spending in the Navy’s 30-year projection, according to an estimate by naval analyst Ronald O’Rourke at the Congressional Research Service.
The Navy’s revised Force Structure Assessment calls for adding another 47 ships including an aircraft carrier built in Virginia, 16 large surface warships built in Maine and Mississippi, and 18 attack submarines built in Connecticut, Rhode Island and Virginia. It also calls for more amphibious assault ships, expeditionary transfer docks and support ships.
Currently, there are 274 ships in the Navy, far short of its old goal of 308, the AP said.
Some are wondering where the additional money will come from, but generally speaking, when a Republican president is making new demands for additional weaponry, a Republican Congress tends to respond positively.
But more than that, Trump and his national security team have watched the U.S. military, and the Navy in particular, appear to retreat from the world stage, especially in the Asia, where a rising China has been aggressively building man-made islands, arming them and then staking outsized territorial claims to the entire South China Sea.
The lack of serious response has rattled traditional U.S. allies in the region, with one–the Philippines under its populist president, Rodrigo Duterte–even turning towards China as a more reliable ally.
“Russia and China are going to continue to build up their navies,” said Matthew Paxton, president of the Shipbuilders Council of America, which represents most of the major Navy shipbuilders “The complexities aren’t going to get any easier. The Navy, more than any of the services, is our forward presence. We’re going to need this Navy.”
It appears as though, if Trump gets his way, the country will have it.