Obama claimed during the debate that the US Navy, now at its smallest size since 1917, is more than big enough for what we need to do. At the same time, Obama has pushed into the Pacific to counter China, while trying to maintain a presence in the Mediterranean to fight piracy and still holding on to enough naval power to lift an Iranian blockade of the Strait of Hormuz.
China has gotten fairly aggressive in the South China Sea, confronting Japan, Vietnam and the Philippines. These confrontations may eventually lead to war.
We won’t get too detailed here in terms of vessel equivalency, or what kind of vessels will be most useful in what type of conflict, so let’s just look at numbers alone.
The US Navy has 53 submarines. The Chinese Navy has 63.
The US Navy has 62 destroyers. The Chinese Navy has 25.
The US Navy has 24 frigates. The Chinese Navy has 47.
The US Navy has 13 aircraft carriers. The Chinese Navy has 1.
The US Navy has has a total of 285 active vessels. The Chinese Navy has a total of 515 combat vessels and 138 major combat vessels, though this includes some ships and forces that would be classified as part of the Coast Guard in the US.
And the Chinese Navy is being expanded with all that money that Obama is borrowing to pay off his campaign donors.
Now add to that another 30 Iranian submarines, 2 destroyers and 6 frigates, and the US Navy’s resources becomes strained if it has to deal with two conflicts at the same time, while maintaining anti-piracy operations as well.
As former Naval captain John McCain has pointed out, “I don’t know why the President of the United States feels it necessary to denigrate and insult his opponent,” he said. “This is a man who has never known anything about national defense or national security or served in the military, and to make a smart remark about horses and bayonets and planes that fly off aircraft carriers to me is not only unpresidential but shows a lack of maturity and a lack of judgment.”
“We have pivoted to the Asia Pacific and we know that requires more ships and more naval presence,” McCain said. “To justify a steady reduction in shipbuilding shows a misunderstanding of the size of the challenge we face in the Asia-Pacific region. And sequestration, which he cavalierly said ‘won’t happen,’ will have a draconian effect on shipbuilding in Portsmouth and the other industries such as BAE in New Hampshire as well.”