Faced with China, the US Navy postpones its future programs to favor the short term

If the European armies have their eyes fixed on Russia and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the US Navy, for its part, only has its eyes on the probable conflict which would pit it against the Navy and air forces of the People's Liberation Army, in the event of a Chinese naval and air blockade of the island of Taiwan.

The deadline of 2027, initially set by Admiral Phil Davidson in 2021, concerning the probable zone of conflict with Beijing, is approaching, pressure is mounting on the US Navy, which must respond to both the military and industrial challenge posed. by the People's Liberation Army and its Navy, which receives around ten large surface combatants and two submarines each year.

While American shipbuilding is still encountering significant difficulties, and the US Navy's planning is only just recovering from a period of intense chaos, it must now make choices. This is precisely what it did, by favoring short-term naval production, and postponing most major medium-term programs such as F/A-XX, SSN(x) or DDG(x).

The threat of a Chinese blockade of Taiwan requires a massive and available fleet by 2027.

From Admiral Phil Davidson's announcement, then commander of the Pacific theater, on the subject of the possible confrontation between the United States and China, from 2027, Pentagon analysts above all confirmed the fears expressed then by the American general officer.

US navy task force
The US Navy still has the advantage over the Chinese Navy in the areas of aircraft carriers, amphibious ships, and submarines, but will soon be significantly surpassed in the surface combatant fleet.

Thus, from 2022, the Chief Naval Officer, or CNO, Admiral Gilday, the equivalent of the chief of staff for the American Navy, indicated that the Pentagon was actively working, and mainly, on the scenarios opposing the Chinese Navy around Taiwan, from 2027.

In 2023, it was the turn of Admiral John Aquilino, the successor to Admiral Davidson at the head of the US Indo-Pacific Command (INDOPACOM), to draw up a most worrying picture concerning the rise of naval assets and Chinese air forces, designed, according to him, to gain the upper hand over American forces by 2027, around Taiwan, as part of China's new five-year planning.

These concerns and alarming reports were echoed in the design of the Pentagon's 2025 budget. Indeed, in it, the American armies, in particular the US Navy, seemed to give priority to increasing the resilience of American forces deployed in the Pacific, but also in the evolution of industrial tools, precisely to support this potential conflict, deemed increasingly inevitable by the Pentagon.

Serial reports concerning the major structuring programs of the US Navy

These efforts in favor of immediate and short-term capacities, in the 2025 budget, and beyond, had to be the subject budgetary arbitrations, the US Navy's resources have not evolved proportionately.

CGI Constellation class US Navy
The constellation-class frigate program is already 36 months late, in barely four years of existence.

And it is, obviously, the major structuring programs, due to come into service, so far, between 2030 and 2040, which are paying the price. All, in fact, have seen their ambitions postponed or delayed, to free up budgetary resources to finance the strengthening of infrastructure in the Pacific, in Guam in particular.


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