Harold Hutchison / Apr. 20, 2021

Naval Neglect Must Be Reversed

As geopolitical foes rise, it’s critical that the U.S. Navy be ready for the job.

One issue your Patriot Post team has long discussed is the status of the United States Navy — and our military in general. This is not a minor issue. The first duty of the federal government is to protect the United States from external threats. Under the Biden administration, though, those external threats are gaining ground, not losing it as they would if the federal government was fulfilling its duties.

One of the biggest failures spanning nearly three decades has been the collapse of the United States Navy in terms of force structure. Want to know just how bad things are? Here are some headlines from a Navy Times email newsletter that was sent last week:

To further illustrate this bipartisan failure, here’s how the United States Navy’s official website shows the decline:

On September 30, 1990, the United States Navy had 570 ships, not quite at the goal of Ronald Reagan’s 600-ship Navy, but one that had been designed to fight and win World War III against the Soviet Union. By September 30, 2016, we were down to 275 ships. As of April 16 of this year, that number is up to 296. Still, we’re talking a figure just over half of what we had in 1990. You can talk technological advancement all you want, but our ships can’t be in two places at once.

That’s understating the problem, of course. The fact is, the United states isn’t just keeping an eye on China. Russia is still a serious threat that warrants U.S. Navy assets. Iran is also a serious threat, one that has expressed genocidal ambitions. Tack that on to China, and it’s clear that we’ll need a larger Navy for a long time. But we’ve instead worn it to the nub. When an expert is quoted in the Navy Times saying, “We’ve got a Navy that we’ve worn out bombing trucks, weddings and huts in Afghanistan for 20 years,” there’s a massive problem that isn’t going to be fixed overnight, and there’s blame to go around.

This is not saying we shouldn’t have fought the Global War on Terror — it was a necessary fight. But can anyone really say there was a serious effort to win that war once George W. Bush left office? Did we really learn the lessons to prevent another 9/11? Or is the answer to Darryl Worley’s question, “Yes”?

Bill Clinton presided over a foolish drawdown of military readiness, and George W. Bush failed to truly reverse it. Barack Obama did his share of damage to our military readiness by politicizing our national security apparatus, hamstringing our troops with restrictive rules of engagement, and even opening the door to persecuting the Patriots who got KSM to talk, among others, but Donald Trump was unable to keep James Mattis on board long enough to get a military that would reject the notion of placing a higher priority on studying Kendi than Clausewitz.

This is not to say that all is lost. America can at least try to get started — albeit the experience of World War II shows that the initial fighting would still be hard. Even with the running start that came with legislation in 1938 and 1940, our naval forces needed three and a half years after Pearl Harbor to have a decisive edge over Japan’s. Under the Biden-Harris regime, which seems to view conservatism as a bigger threat than communist China, we may not even have the benefit of a running start.

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