People’s Liberation Army Navy carrier Liaoning.
The following is a from Feb. 28, 2014 report from the Congressional Research Service, China Naval Modernization: Implications for U.S. Navy Capabilities.
China is building a modern and regionally powerful Navy with a modest but growing capability for conducting operations beyond China’s near-seas region. The question of how the United States should respond to China’s military modernization effort, including its naval modernization effort, has emerged as a key issue in U.S. defense planning. The question is of particular importance to the U.S. Navy, because many U.S. military programs for countering improved Chinese military forces would fall within the Navy’s budget. Read More
An undated photo of ROC guided missile destroyer Makung (1805), a former US Navy Kidd-class destroyer.
The following is from the Congressional Research Service report, Taiwan: Major U.S. Arms Sales Since 1990.
This CRS Report discusses U.S. security assistance for Taiwan, formally called the Republic of China (ROC), particularly policy issues for Congress. It also lists sales of major defense articles and services to Taiwan, as approved by the President and notified to Congress since 1990. This report uses a variety of unclassified consultations and citations in the United States and Taiwan. Read More
From the Sept. 9, 2013 Congressional Research Service Report: Security Clearance Process: Answers to Frequently Asked Questions.
A security clearance is a determination that an individual—whether a direct federal employee or a private contractor performing work for the government—is eligible for access to classified national security information. A security clearance alone does not grant an individual access to classified materials. Rather, a security clearance means that an individual is eligible for access. In order to gain access to specific classified materials, an individual should also have a demonstrated “need to know” the information contained in the specific classified materials. Read More
The following is from the July 16, 2013 Congressional Research Service report on Bahrain. The U.S. has close ties to the country in the Persian Gulf. The Navy’s U.S. 5th Fleet Headquarters is in Bahrain.
The Obama Administration has not called for an end to the Al Khalifa regime, but it has criticized its human rights abuses and urged it to undertake more substantial political reform. The U.S. criticism has angered some Al Khalifa officials but it has also dissatisfied human rights activists who assert that the United States is downplaying regime abuses because of U.S. dependence on the security relationship with Bahrain. Bahrain has provided key support for U.S. interests— particularly the containment of Iran—by hosting U.S. naval headquarters for the Gulf for over 60 years. Read More
From the March 14, Congressional Research Service report: In order to encourage holistic consideration of national security issues, some members of this inchoate school have called for the use of “unified national security budgeting” (UNSB). To be clear, their goal is not to refine the U.S. federal system of budgeting, but rather to use budgetary mechanisms to drive changes in U.S. national security practices. Within this broad school of thought, various proponents call for the adoption of a number of different approaches, from a single shared funding pool for all national security activities, to mission-specific funding pools, to crosscut displays, to more strategically driven budgeting. In turn, various proponents apparently aim to achieve quite different kinds of change with their proposed remedies—from rebalancing the distribution of roles and responsibilities among executive branch agencies, to saving money, to revisiting fundamental understandings about how U.S. national security is best protected. Read More
This week in a speech in Virginia, Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney talked about his plan to build a 350-ship Navy, boosting spending on current programs and creating two new ship designs. But affordability is a key detail in any procurement discussion, and it’s one piece of the puzzle that the Romney camp is still fleshing out. Romney also did not identify any new requirements for a 350-ship fleet.
There is no doubt shipbuilding is a priority for whomever occupies the White House for the next four years. The Navy’s current roster of ships is near its smallest since 1916, when then-President Woodrow Wilson signed the Naval Act authorizing a massive build-up. At Wilson’s behest and with congressional approval, the Navy built 10 battleships, six battlecruisers, 30 submarines, 50 destroyers and other support vessels over three years, tripling the size of the sea service by 1919. Wilson’s 752-ship Navy was the high-water mark for decades, and his push leading up to World War I is credited with establishing U.S. naval dominance in the 20th century. But the expansion came at a cost — some $500 million at the time or a mere $10.2 billion in current-year dollars. But today’s ships are different by nearly all metrics — mission, capability, sophistication, size and cost among other factors.
Nearly a century later, Congress finds itself in much the same quandary as Wilson — an aging fleet of warships in need of modernization and, some say, expansion. The U.S. fleet as a whole has been on a slow decline since the late 1980s, bottoming out at 278 ships in 2007. The Navy says it needs between 310 and 316 ships to meet all its obligations around the world, a number that has remained roughly unchanged since the 1994 Quadrennial Defense Review.