Former President Donald Trump took pride in the decisions he and his administration made to bolster the U.S. military to levels that served as a reminder — and a deterrent — to all of America’s enemies abroad.
On the other hand, according to the Washington Examiner, President Joe Biden and his top military commanders seem to be taking the opposite approach, as it was recently revealed that Trump’s plan to expand the U.S. Navy’s fleet has virtually been completely reversed, at least for now.
Military analysts and several members of Congress have taken issue with the Biden administration’s latest defense budget, which actually calls for a reduction in fleet size for what was once the world’s largest navy force.
Trump’s budget plans for the U.S. Navy centered on a focus of adding more battle-ready ships to the fleet, with the hopes of having a total of over 500 ships by 2045. The plan would have required quite a bit of finagling to secure the funds from Congress for such a monumental effort, but many military analysts believe it was the right strategy.
In contrast, Biden’s fiscal year 2022 budget not only lacks a long-term growth strategy for the U.S. Navy, but it also results in a nine percent degradation in overall firepower, which left a number of analysts perplexed, especially given the speed at which China’s navy, which is now the largest in the world, is expanding.
“I was extremely shocked when the budget came out,” said Heritage Foundation analyst and retired Navy Capt. Brent Sadler.
The retired Navy officer went on to explain that Biden’s approach to the issue feels similar to what happened under former President Barack Obama — a strategy Sadler called “divest to invest,” though he noted that given what’s happening, it’s more like a “divest to shrink.”
As it stands, Congress mandates that the U.S. Navy have 355 operational ships, but currently the number stands at 296, with no immediate plans for expanding to meet the mandate — not even close. Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) broached the subject during a recent hearing.
“China, on the other hand, now has the world’s largest navy, has about 60 more ships than our own fleet, and has surpassed our own 355-ship goal,” the Republican senator said, adding that the communist nation has aggressive expansion plans that will bump that number to “400 battle-force ships by the year 2025.”