Pentagon chief says China is no match for the US Navy, even if it has more ships

A member of the People's Liberation Army Navy stands in front of a warship.

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Secretary of Defense Mark Esper said Wednesday that while China has more ships, it’ll be a while before it can match the power of the US Navy.

“I want to make clear that China cannot match the United States when it comes to naval power.,” Esper explained at a RAND Corporation event.

“Even if we stopped building new ships, it would take the [People’s Republic of China] years to close the gap when it comes to our capability on the high seas.,” he said. “Ship numbers are important, but they don’t tell the whole story.”

“They do not address the types of ships and the capabilities of the vessels being counted; the skill of the crews that operate them; the prowess of the officers that lead them; or the ways in which we fight and sustain them,” the secretary said.

Esper said that the US military must take steps to maintain that overmatch, to include expanding the size of the US Navy to over 355 ships through the construction of new manned and unmanned naval assets. “We must increase funding for shipbuilding and the readiness that sustains a larger force,” he said Wednesday.

“The future naval force will be more balanced in its ability to deliver lethal effects from the air, from the sea, and from under the sea,” the secretary said.

“This fleet will need to be made up of more and smaller surface combatants; optionally manned, unmanned, and autonomous surface and subsurface vehicles; unmanned carrier-based aircraft of all types; a larger and more capable submarine force; and a modern strategic deterrent,” he explained.

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The unmanned component of the Department of Defense’s planned future fleet “will be a major shift in how we will conduct naval warfare in the years and decades to come,” Esper said, arguing that these assets could be tasked to …read more

Source:: Business Insider

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