- The U.S. Navy is struggling to manage the intense requirements imposed on a too-small number of ships manned by discouraged sailors and a lack of foresight from uniformed leaders amid pressure from Congress to expand the fleet, experts told the Daily Caller News Foundation.
- Failure to address these issues would cripple the U.S.’ most valuable tool in exercising power across the globe, experts said.
- “The Navy is straining very badly because the Navy will be the first service and fight and will take major losses in the first weeks” of a conflict in the Taiwan Strait, Lyle Goldstein, director of the Asia Engagement program at Defense Priorities, told the DCNF.
The U.S. Navy is overstretched, and if it doesn’t find a way to hold on to sailors, keep ships in good condition and develop a clear plan forward, America will lose the most powerful tool it has to deter China, experts told the Daily Caller News Foundation.
The Navy’s preparedness for a fight has crumbled in recent years from a series of issues with personnel and capabilities that likely stem from a failure to maintain a fleet of the right size and composition for the job of patrolling the world’s oceans and guarding the homeland, according to experts and watchdog reports. As Congress urges the service to maintain a larger fleet, the Navy is approaching the point where it will have to choose a path: fix its problems or cut down on its objectives, experts said.
“The United States counts on the Navy to advance U.S. influence, respond to crises and deter — and if necessary, defeat — adversary aggression. If the Navy does not swiftly address its deficiencies, one of its most important instruments of national power will become increasingly less relevant,” Timothy Walton, a senior fellow researching warfare and Indo-Pacific security at the Hudson Institute, told the DCNF.
The Navy received a fresh round of criticism in recent weeks for promoting a drag queen as a “digital ambassador,” which was first reported by the DCNF. Republican Sen. Tommy Tuberville of Alabama said the incident showcased uniformed leaders’ obsession with woke priorities in an op-ed for The Wall Street Journal.
“The U.S. Navy is in decline,” Tuberville said.
In some sense, the Navy has it worse than the other services, receiving an “inordinate amount of attention” due to major accidents, ship delays and scandals, Brent Sadler, a senior research fellow on naval warfare for the Heritage Foundation, told the DCNF.
A recent Government Accountability Office report analyzing trends in military readiness found that the Navy’s readiness and mission capability decreased between 2017 and 2021.
The service has consistently failed to rectify long-running challenges in keeping ships at congressionally-mandated conditions and has accumulated a maintenance backlog of $1.8 billion, according to the report. Derelict docks where ships are repaired and sustained are part of the problem; another issue is that the surface fleet is under-manned and sailors are not getting enough sleep.
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Photo: “USS George H.W. Bush departs Cartagena, Spain.” by Official U.S. Navy Imagery is licensed under US Government PD
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