Congress is constantly voting to cut budgets in areas that they don’t understand. The ones particularly to blame are House Democrats. Very few of those within the House have any kind of military background, which means that they simply look at the numbers and vote to slash without understanding how it will affect the country’s ability to defend itself.
The Navy has received a number of budget slashes as Congress has chosen not to fund a new generation of large surface combatants (LSC).
The U.S. Navy has created a clear plan for new shipbuilding that involves decommissioning 11 cruisers over the next five years in favor of a new large surface combatant building program.
Congress, however, questions if the plan is serious enough. The decommissioning of 11 cruisers also means that more than 1340 vertical launch tubes will cease to exist.
$45.5 million has been requested to fund the planning and early development costs. More than 70% of that has been stripped away by Congress to allocate the money into different areas that have nothing to do with the military.
The next round of the Arleigh Burke-class destroyer has already been reduced due to funding. And now, with combatants leaving the water with no plan in sight for new ones going in, it can leave the U.S. Navy (and the United States as a whole) widely vulnerable.
Instead, Democrats are using the money that should go to the Navy for things like gender studies in Pakistan and poorly written plans for climate control.
Congress is explaining that the reason for not supporting the increase in funding is because of not having a clear understanding of structure requirements and acquisition strategies for the Navy LSC force.
So, what next?
The DDG-51 Flight III destroyers are slowly being acquired, with a multi-year contract that goes through fiscal year 2022. These will help the Navy, though the Burkes will need to be acquired, too.
Much of the military equipment in place is decades old. It lacks the ability to pass inspections. It fails to provide cutting-edge technology. Significant investments have to be made into the Navy and all other branches of the military.
Congress cannot sit back and say that the U.S. is the best military in the world and call it the end of the conversation. Without regular and hefty investments, it will only be a matter of time before the U.S. ceases to be the best military. Then, there’s the risk that enemies will bring a war to American soil while we are unprepared to fight back.
Funding has been regularly stripped away – and with the insufficient funding for the large surface combatant, it’s a major blow. With Biden taking office, it’s to be assumed that military spending will be cut even further.
Cruisers are being retired – and replacing them won’t happen since the designs that the Navy wishes to employ are deemed too expensive.
Congress wants to see a 30-year shipbuilding plan in order to approve more spending. The Navy and the Defense Department has yet to provide anything that the Democrats will accept.
Perhaps as more veterans find themselves in positions seated throughout Congress, including Dan Crenshaw, Mike Gallagher, and Michael Waltz, it will provide the push needed to execute the necessary funding. Crenshaw and the other GOP veterans are looking to create a War Veterans Fund PAC as a way to recruit more Republican veterans to Congress.
Something needs to be done. Congress cannot continue to slash funding of the U.S. Navy while having no clue as to what their actions are doing. Planes and ships alike are an integral part of what keeps the Navy going. Acquisitions, for one, should not impact the other, yet Congress is voting in a way that proves they don’t understand this.
If the budgets continue to get cut, there won’t be anything left of the Navy once the older planes and ships get retired.