30 juillet 2020 | International, Naval

To keep up with our competitors, America must boost shipbuilding

To keep up with our competitors, America must boost shipbuilding

By: Sen. David Perdue 

Right now, the world is more dangerous than any time in my lifetime. The United States faces five major threats: China, Russia, Iran, North Korea and terrorism. We face those threats across five domains: air, land, sea, cyberspace and space.

The U.S. Navy is one of the most effective tools we as a country have to maintain peace and stability around the world. Today, however, the Navy is in danger of being surpassed in capability by our near-peer competitors. On top of that, our competitors are becoming even more brazen in their attempts to challenge our Navy every day.

To address this, the 2018 National Defense Authorization Act called for a 355-ship Navy to be built as soon as possible. This effort is extremely expensive: $31 billion per year for 30 years. This can’t be funded by new debt. We must reallocate resources to fund this priority.

It is unclear at this time whether we will be able to achieve this goal, however, because Washington politicians have failed to provide consistent funding to our shipbuilding enterprise over the years.

The last two Democratic presidents reduced military spending by 25 percent. Presidents Bill Clinton and Barack Obama did it. Also, since 1975, Congress has only funded the government on time on four occasions due to our broken budget process. As a result, Congress forces the military in most years to operate under continuing resolutions, which further restricts the Navy’s efforts to rebuild.

These shortsighted decisions by Washington have had draconian effects on our military readiness. They have decimated our industrial supplier base and severely damaged critical supply chains.

According to a 2018 report from the Pentagon, the entire Department of Defense lost over 20,000 U.S.-based industrial suppliers from 2000 to 2018.

This means that, today, many shipbuilding components have just one U.S.-based supplier, and others are entirely outsourced to other countries.

This is one of the reasons why it is doubtful that we can reach 355 ships unless major changes are made immediately. If we don’t strengthen our industrial supplier base, there is simply no way to scale up ship production and maintenance capabilities to meet the requirements of a 355-ship fleet.

The Department of Defense has not yet released this year’s 30-year shipbuilding plan as required by law, and time is running out to reach the Navy’s most recent projection of a 355-ship fleet by 2034.

However, even if the Department of Defense has a solid, achievable plan to only reach 355 ships, I am skeptical that it will be enough. I am skeptical because America’s biggest long-term challenge, China, is already running laps around us on shipbuilding.

The Chinese Navy has 350 ships today, compared to our 300. By 2034, China is projected to have more than 425 ships. Even if we reached 355 ships, we would still have a 70-ship disadvantage, at the least.

On top of that, because of the range restrictions in the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty, which just ended in 2019, China has surpassed, or “out-sticked,” us in some missile capabilities as well.

There are several steps we can take to respond to these developments. For starters, we need to place greater emphasis on funding our shipbuilding enterprise. Also, we need to rebuild our industrial supply chains through consistent, robust funding and by eliminating continuing resolutions.

This year’s NDAA takes critical steps to ensure we can keep up with our near-peer competitors and keep our country safe. It authorizes an increase of more than $1 billion for the construction of new submarines, destroyers and amphibious dock ships. It invests hundreds of millions of dollars to support our industrial supplier base.

However, more work remains to be done in the coming years. We need to dramatically build up our Navy beyond 355 ships to ensure that the American-led free world can continue.

President Teddy Roosevelt once said that “a good Navy is not a provocation to war. It is the surest guarantee of peace.” If we don’t continue ramping up our shipbuilding enterprise right now, the world that we will be passing on to our children and grandchildren will only continue to grow more dangerous.

Sen. David Perdue, R-Ga., is the chairman of the Seapower Subcommittee of the Senate Armed Services Committee.


Sur le même sujet

  • Who were the largest major arms exporters in the last 5 years?

    10 mars 2020 | International, Aérospatial, Naval, Terrestre, C4ISR, Sécurité

    Who were the largest major arms exporters in the last 5 years?

    By: Chiara Vercellone  WASHINGTON — The United States was the largest exporter of major arms from 2015-2019, delivering 76 percent more materiel than runner-up Russia, according to a new study by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute think tank. The U.S. contributed about 35 percent of all the world’s arms exports during that five-year time period, partly supported by the increased demand for American advanced military aircraft in Europe, Australia, Japan and Taiwan, said Pieter Wezeman, a senior researcher at SIPRI. The study found that the U.S. provided major arms — defined by the think tank as air defense systems, armored vehicles, missiles and satellites, among other materiel — to 96 countries in those five years, with half of the weapons going to the Middle East. From 2015-2019, Russia’s major arms exports decreased by 18 percent; France’s increased by 72 percent, making it the third largest exporter; and Germany’s increased by 17 percent, making it the fourth largest exporter. Worldwide arms exports rose nearly 6 percent in 2015-2019 from 2010-2014, and increased 20 percent from since 2005-2009, SIPRI said. Arm exports to countries in conflict in the Middle East increased by 61 percent in 2015-2019 compared to 2010-2014, the study showed. Saudi Arabia, the country to which the U.S. exported the most arms, was the largest importer globally in 2015-2019. The kingdom’s imports increased 130 percent compared to the previous five-year period. Armored vehicles, trainer aircraft, missiles and guided bombs were among the leading arms purchased by the kingdom. Despite attempts in Congress to restrict arms exports to Saudi Arabia, the delivery of major arms, including 30 combat aircraft ordered in 2011, continued in 2019 as the U.S. provided 73% of Saudi Arabia’s imports. In May, U.S. President Donald Trump issued an emergency declaration to push through an $8 billion arms deal with Saudi Arabia and other Middle Eastern countries for precision-guided bombs and related components. In July, he said blocking the sale of arms to Saudi Arabia would “weaken America’s global competitiveness and damage the important relationship [the United States] share with [its] allies and partners.” U.S. arms exports to Europe and Africa increased by 45 percent and 10 percent, respectively, in 2015-2019. U.S. arms exports to Asia and the Oceania region decreased by 20 percent, as a result of fewer arms exports to India, Pakistan, Singapore, South Korea and Taiwan. Since 2018, the U.S. has exported almost 100 major weapons to international organizations like the United Nations, the African Union and NATO, the report said, noting that Russia did not send weapons to these organizations. Among the top 10 arms exporters outside Europe and North America, Israel and South Korea showed the biggest increase in exports. Israeli arms exports increased by 77 percent in 2015-2019 — a record for the country, according to the study. South Korea, which showed a 143 percent increase during that same time period, more than doubled its number of export clients. https://www.defensenews.com/2020/03/09/who-were-the-largest-major-arms-exporters-in-the-last-5-years/

  • The Department of Defense wants ideas for a tiny autonomous space station

    5 juillet 2019 | International, Aérospatial

    The Department of Defense wants ideas for a tiny autonomous space station

    By Andrew Liptak The Pentagon’s Defense Innovation Unit (DIU) has issued a solicitation for a tiny, “self-contained and free flying orbital outpost” that can host experiments and equipment in orbit and could eventually be scaled up for human habitation. The Orbital Outpost that’s being solicited would be small: it needs to have at least a cubic meter of space inside, be able to carry 80 kilograms, have continuous power, and should have a pressurization of anywhere from 0 to 1 atmospheres. It should be able to move around in orbit on its own, and it has to be built quickly; the military wants it ready to go within two years after it awards a contractor a contract. The military also says that it eventually wants the station to be modular (able to attach other components or other outposts), have a robotic arm, be able to carry people, and be hardened against radiation for “beyond [low Earth orbit] applications.” Full article: https://www.theverge.com/2019/7/3/20680849/department-of-defense-autonomous-space-station-ideas-experiment-human-habitation

  • Israel increases training via virtual battlefield center amid Hezbollah tensions

    6 août 2020 | International, C4ISR

    Israel increases training via virtual battlefield center amid Hezbollah tensions

    By: Seth J. Frantzman  Israeli Defense Forces have completed several exercises with a new Brigade and Battlegroup Mission Training Center. Tensions with Hezbollah in Lebanon have grown this month and the IDF officials say they face a constant threat of attacks and need to be prepared to respond. Virtual exercises enable a brigade’s officers to train while not taking away resources from the field. The center is also part of a growing digitization effort to give more tools to the IDF during its multi-year Momentum plan that includes new networked technology. Lt. Col. Netanel Shamaka, commander of the Special Forces battalion of the Givati brigade, said the latest exercise used this new virtual combat system and it “enabled us to get an in-depth understanding of battlefield scenarios.” Two brigades have gone through the training in June and July, and up to eight more will go through by the end of the year. “The IDF’s ability to improve and develop creates an atmosphere of initiative and innovation among the various combat ranks - which improves combat capability. The Givati Brigade is the first brigade to begin training in this way,” Shamaka said. Training took place at the Training Command Headquarters at the Julis base near Ashkelon. The B2MTC was developed by Elbit Systems. Upgraded twice with new capabilities, databases and after-action reports, the virtual simulator provides better coordination on the battlefield, according to Tal Cohen, senior director of land training and simulation at Elbit Systems. Virtual training centers, like the one the IDF uses, have been increasingly popular worldwide. Elbit points to its work with the Royal Netherland Army simulation center (SimCen). “Military operations are becoming increasingly complex, while large-scale exercise opportunities occur less frequently due to cost, logistics and environmental constraints. Elbit Systems’ new trainer provides Armed Forces with a flexible and scalable solution to train commanders,” according to Elbit Systems. The Givati brigade is usually deployed in southern Israel opposite the Gaza frontier. “The training prepared us for battle from a different angle. we will implement this on the battlefield on the day of command,” Shamaka said. Israel has faced tensions with Hamas in Gaza over the last years, including more than 1,500 rockets fired and clashes along the border, incidents at sea and involving drones. In addition, on July 23 Israel boosted ground forces along the Lebanese border over concerns about escalation with Hezbollah. Israel is also involved in a multi-year campaign to confront Iranian elements in Syria and around the region. This complex battlefield, using 5th generation F-35s and the latest air defense, with more concentration on special forces is suited to virtual training because modern commanders have more technology at their fingertips and face larger challenges dealing with systems that involve artificial intelligence and algorithms to aid in battle management. During the recent training soldiers experienced fighting in simulated urban terrain fortified by Hezbollah. The simulators are divided along the lines of a brigade, with command rooms and platoon leaders and company commanders and exercises continuing for several days. Replicas of Lebanese villages appear on screens with the threatsthat the soldiers would encounter, such as Hezbollah bunkers. The system documents failures in the field and virtual casualties inflicted to help units learn from mistakes. Because the IDF’s Momentum plan foresees bringing as many capabilities to the front as quickly as possible during a conflict, this digital battlefield aids in improving coordination. It is supposed to close gaps between battalion and company levels as well without eliminating traditional field exercises. Cohen says recent upgrades mean the simulator gives more than 100 officers from company to brigade level access to peripheral units, logistics, UAVs, helicopters, artillery, aircraft and all the other combined arms and elements that may be present on the battlefield. That means that pilots have the opportunity to sit in the same room on the virtual trainer behind a screen and then meet with their company commander counterparts for after action discussions that wouldn’t necessarily take place in a field exercise. With Hezbollah tensions overshadowing training this July, the virtual exercise mimicked real-world challenges. “The virtual exercise was designed and generated to take place on the Lebanese border, in the Northern region of Israel. Facing the constant threat of attacks from Hezbollah, the IDF needs to be prepared to respond accordingly,” Shamaka said. “Should there be a need to destroy Hezbollah’s infrastructure in Lebanon, we must be able to maneuver in a populated and complex environment. This virtual simulation system provides personnel with experience and familiarizes them with the hostile environment they would need to face in the case of conflict.” In the past Israel faced challenges in the 2006 war because of communications problems between units and dealing with Hezbollah fighters dug-in to the rural terrain and rocket fire near villages. Maj. Gen. Yoel Strick, ground forces commander of the IDF since 2019 and a key part of the Momentum multi-year changes, has been pushing for increased use of the virtual simulators, Cohen said. Elbit expects an expansion of training next year. https://www.defensenews.com/global/europe/2020/07/27/israel-increases-training-via-virtual-battlefield-center-amid-hezbollah-tensions

Toutes les nouvelles