Skip to main content
America’s Naval Strategy Is at Sea
USS Nimitz, USS Ronald Reagan, and USS Theodore Roosevelt conducting operations with South Korea's destroyers during a joint naval drill on November 12, 2017 in East Sea, South Korea (Photo by South Korean Defense Ministry via Getty Images)
(Photo by South Korean Defense Ministry via Getty Images)

America’s Naval Strategy Is at Sea

Seth Cropsey

The U.S. Navy is at sea, figuratively as well as literally. It has 101 ships deployed around the world—the same number as during the Cold War—yet the entire fleet is only 297 vessels strong. That’s about half the Reagan-era level of nearly 600. The consequences of maintaining current global commitments with a shrunken fleet include long deployments—some sailors spend close to a year at sea—as well as more maintenance and less time for training.

The figurative sense in which the Navy is at sea is more important and more dangerous. The fleet doesn’t have enough ships to meet global commitments, even as the U.S. faces growing naval competition from China, Russia, Iran and North Korea. Each of these potential adversaries possesses missiles and aircraft whose sole purpose is to keep U.S. naval forces at bay. Sixty-four percent of China’s maritime trade and 40% of its overall trade flows through the South China Sea, through which U.S. naval ships sail regularly.

Were hostilities to break out between China and the U.S., the conflict would be a naval one. It would test the U.S. ability to move naval and amphibious forces across the 7,000-mile Pacific moat in time to assist American allies and partners, deny China’s use of the shipping lanes between it and the Middle East, and operate effectively to command the South China, East China and Yellow seas. The Chinese Navy would be a formidable foe. It has long-range missiles, a nascent aircraft-carrier force and increasingly modern ships and weapons of all categories, as well as cyber and space capabilities.

Read the full article in the Wall Street Journal

Related Articles

Making a Killing Special | Ep. 30: A New Era for US Efforts Against Kleptocracy with Josh Rudolph

Nate Sibley et al.

The new US Strategy on Countering Corruption was released hours before the Summit for Democracy and promises to rewrite the rulebook on global anticor...

Continue Reading

The US Needs a Hypersonic Capability Now

Arthur Herman

Eighty years ago, imperial Japan used a technology first developed by the U.S. and the U.K.—carrier-based bombing and torpedo attacks—to cripple t...

Continue Reading

Republicans Are Going To Help Democrats Draft Your Daughters Unless You Raise Cain

Rebeccah L. Heinrichs

Efforts to draft America’s daughters for war is the perfect example of how the left’s quest for dissolving the distinctions between men and women ...

Continue Reading