The Biden Budget: Shrinks Navy Budget, Gives China the Upper Hand?

Faye Higbee
biden budget

The Biden Budget was released just prior to Memorial Day. The $6 Trillion budget proposal cuts the Navy and Marine Corps ability to counter China, according to experts.

The Biden budget—released on the eve of Memorial Day weekend—makes major cuts to the Navy in some of its most needed areas, such as building equipment and training sailors. The Navy will need to reckon with a more than 5 percent drop in shipbuilding dollars and the decommissioning of 11 combat-ready ships, including 4 advanced warships.

China, meanwhile, has increased its fleet size at breakneck speed and now touts the largest navy in the world. House Armed Services Committee member Mike Gallagher (R., Wis.) said the Biden budget puts the United States in danger of losing a World War III-style scenario.

“At a time when the Biden administration is proposing a $6 trillion budget that would lead to the highest level of spending since WWII, it is simultaneously proposing an inflation-adjusted cut to defense that will reduce our ability to deter WWIII,” Gallagher said. “Rather than act with a sense of urgency in order to deter aggression, the administration is kicking the can down the road on naval modernization, cutting Navy and Marine Corps end strength, and failing to fund key priorities outlined by US Indo-Pacific Command. Winter is coming, and we will have no one but ourselves to blame if we are not prepared.”

Washington Free Beacon

Back in December, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Mark Milley voiced Pentagon support for expanding defense spending rather than cutting it.

The U.S. Navy will have to significantly increase the size of the fleet in coming decades to deter China from a risky escalation of the great power competition, the Defense Department’s top uniformed officer says.

“We’re  maritime nation,” the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Army Gen. Mark Milley, told the U.S. Naval Institute’s Dec. 3 Defense Forum Washington webcast. “And the defense of the United States depends on air power and sea power, primarily.”

Milley said the international rule-based order that arose after World War II, and for seven decades was maintained by the U.S. Navy “perhaps more than any other element,” is under stress, from climate change and the economic distress caused by the coronavirus pandemic to the diffusion of power, from two Cold War super powers, to regional powers like Russia, Iran and North Korea.  If that order falls apart, Milley warned, the great power competition could “turn into great power war.”…

“We’re going to have to have a much larger fleet than we have today, if we’re serious about great power competition and deterring great power war, and if we’re serious about dominant capability over something like China or some other power that has significant capability,” Milley said.

Seapower December 2020

Milley isn’t blind to budgetary constraints, and he’s’ not saying that war with China is inevitable. But the US Navy’s 2045 Battle Force Plan stated that they’d need a fleet of 500 Navy ships, 70-90 more submarines, and state of the art weapons systems. The Biden budget proposal falls far short of even being able to work toward that goal.

“I’m not sure how the Navy moves forward.”

John Ferrari, American Enterprise Institute fellow

The US Marine Corps has been shedding Marines and other things, including the Tank Corps, in order to come to the point where the service is “smaller” but still lethal for a “peer to peer” war.

Commandant David Berger said in 2020 that the plan is to reduce USMC strength to about 174,000 Marines by 2030. They wanted to invest their savings in technology designed to counter the Chinese. The size of the Corps would be roughly equivalent to what it was in 2002. It is unclear how the new Biden budget will affect the attempts of the Marine Corps to downsize effectively.

“When it comes to defense and shipbuilding, President Biden’s budget doesn’t live up to this administration’s rhetoric. Even with $6 trillion in proposed new spending, vital national security measures necessary to counter the growing threat posed by China somehow didn’t make the cut. President Biden’s unserious budget needs to quickly get serious about the threat posed by China.”

Rep. Rob Wittman (R., Va.) to the FreeBeacon


Featured photo: The U.S. Navy’s only forward-deployed aircraft carrier, USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76), conducts a fueling-at-sea with fleet replenishment oiler USNS Pecos (T-AO 195). Ronald Reagan, the flagship of Carrier Strike Group 5, provides a combat-ready force that protects and defends the United States, as well as the collective maritime interests of its allies and partners in the Indo-Pacific region. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Jackie Hart) ( via Dvidshub)

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