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US Navy Is Unbalanced. It's Time for China and Russia

24 Nov 2020

US Navy Is Unbalanced. It's Time for China and Russia

In the decades after the Cold War, the U.S. Navy absorbed sustained budget cuts resulting in large force reductions. The total size of the fleet dwindled from nearly 600 active ships in 1987 to around 285 today. During this period, naval planners focused their substantial, yet shrinking, budgetary resources on large, costly, high-end platforms such as aircraft carriers at the expense of smaller surface warfare combatants such as frigates. This approach perhaps suited the range of global expeditionary missions that the navy was called upon to support in the 1990s, a time when the United States faced no proximate military competitors. However, its lack of platforms currently leaves the sea service in a parlous state as it faces intensifying major power competition from China and Russia. At a recent Center for the National Interest event, two leading authorities on naval strategy, operations and force structure, explained how the navy can take steps to create a more balanced force that will adequately prepare the fleet for a new era of great power naval competition.

The United States Navy (USN) is the naval warfare service branch of the United States Armed Forces and one of the seven uniformed services of the United States. It is the largest and most capable navy in the world and it has been estimated that in terms of tonnage of its active battle fleet alone, it is larger than the next 13 navies combined, which includes 11 U.S. allies or partner nations. with the highest combined battle fleet tonnage and the world's largest aircraft carrier fleet, with eleven in service, and two new carriers under construction. With 319,421 personnel on active duty and 99,616 in the Ready Reserve, the Navy is the third largest of the service branches. It has 282 deployable combat vessels and more than 3,700 operational aircraft as of March 2018, making it the second-largest air force in the world, after the United States Air Force.

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