Seth Cropsey, Deputy Undersecretary of the Navy for both Presidents Ronald Reagan and George HW Bush, made some points in a Wall Street Journal op-ed last week.
Beijing continues to build up its medium-range and long-distance missile arsenal, antiship cruise missiles, space weapons and military cyberspace capabilities. China is also improving its fighters, building three classes of attack submarines, and has commissioned its first aircraft carrier, the Liaoning. It is, in short, building an advanced system of weaponry capable of striking Asian states from afar.
The US’ response:
plans for increasing the US Marine contingent based in Darwin on Australia’s north coast to 1,100 from 250 [ultimate goal in a nebulous future: 2,500].
Facing this…is a US fleet less than half the size it was…in the early 1990s. The plan to build the 306-ship fleet that the Navy says is necessary to accomplish all its missions rests on assumptions about shipbuilding costs that the Congressional Budget Office and Congressional Research Service agree are unrealistic. … On Tuesday, Rep. Randy Forbes (R., Va.), chairman of the House Armed Services subcommittee on sea power, told a group at Washington’s Hudson Institute that “In 2007, the Navy was able to meet about 90% of America’s combatant commanders’ need [for ships]. This year that figure will fall to 51%.”
The defense budget since 9/11 has averaged 4.1% of GDP. Under the budgets projected by the Obama administration, the figure is projected to drop to 2.5% in less than a decade.
Here is the American retreat in full throat.