It's time for the Navy to focus on threats in the Western Pacific and Eastern Mediterranean. And that must be done as it overcomes grim budgetary pressures.
In the works for more than a year and expected to be made public soon, America's new maritime strategy must correct flaws in the Navy's 2007 blueprint by addressing China and specifying required forces. So says Hudson Institute scholar Seth Cropsey. He's a former naval officer and deputy undersecretary of the Navy in the Reagan and George H.W. Bush administrations.
Writing in The Weekly Standard, Mr. Cropsey identifies China's increasing efforts to bar U.S. seapower from the Western Pacific and turmoil in the Eastern Mediterranean — Turkey's Islamist turn, Syria's civil war, Egypt's ongoing unrest — as key challenges. He urges that the revised strategy be geared to prevent “China or Iran from becoming the hegemon of its region” while keeping the Eastern Mediterranean free of “tribal/religious warfare” and nuclear proliferation and securing Persian Gulf energy sources.
But for the Navy to execute that strategy, the nation must resolve long-term shipbuilding budget shortfalls that he says threaten to “eviscerate American seapower by as much as half of its current strength — 285 combatant ships — within the next decade and a half.”
As Cropsey says, “The largest strategic challenge facing the United States is to rebuild the seapower on which our status as a great power rests.”
Let's get on with it.
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