The following is the Chief of Naval Operations 2021 NAVPLAN, published on Jan. 11, 2021.
From the document
For 245 years, our Navy has operated forward to protect commerce and keep fights far from our
shores. Since the end of World War II, we have sailed with like-minded navies to uphold the rulesbased order at sea. Together, we have provided stability, deterred great power war, preserved peace, and ushered in prosperity for billions of people across the world.
Now our collective security—and way of life—are under threat. Today, China and Russia are undermining the free and open conditions at sea that have benefited so many for so long. Optimism that they might become responsible partners has given way to recognition that they are determined rivals. Both nations are attempting to unfairly control access to valuable sea-based resources outside their home waters. Both intimidate their neighbors and enforce unlawful claims with the threat of force. Both have constructed sophisticated networks of sensors and long-range missiles to hold important waterways at risk. And both are turning incremental gains into long-term advantages – such as militarizing contested features in the South China Sea.
To achieve its strategic goals, China is aggressively building a navy to rival our own. Already possessing the world’s largest fleet, China continues to build modern surface combatants, submarines, aircraft carriers, amphibious assault ships, and next-generation fighters. Operating under the cover of the world’s largest missile force, the People’s Liberation Army – Navy (PLAN) deploys alongside the Chinese Coast Guard and Maritime Militia to harass global shipping and exert pressure on regional countries below the level of traditional armed conflict. They have strengthened all dimensions of their military power to challenge us and our allies and partners from the seabed to space and in the information domain. Now, they are extending their infrastructure across the globe to control access to critical waterways. Their concerted efforts to challenge our advantages make China our most pressing long-term strategic threat.
Russia is also modernizing its forces. In addition to modernizing its strategic nuclear forces, Russia is developing modern missile frigates, fighter and bomber aircraft, hypersonic missiles, tactical nuclear weapons, and modern submarines. The Russian Navy is expanding its operations globally and deploying closer to our shores. Meanwhile, they continue to attack our computer networks. In a conflict, we expect they will threaten cyber or kinetic strikes against the homeland. Left unchecked, Russia will continue to undermine the rules-based order and threaten our homeland.
America is a maritime nation – our security and prosperity depend on the seas. Failing to maintain our advantage at sea will leave America vulnerable. We have to move decisively – and do it now.
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