The US is expediting efforts to overhaul its navy and doctrine in light of growing Chinese ambitions for a “blue-water” navy, a precursor to a more obvious “arms race” between the US and China, according to an article in Taiwanese think tank the Institute for National Defense and Security Research’s National Security Journal.
A blue-water navy is a maritime force capable of operating globally.
The article, written by Chen Liang-chih (陳亮智), cited Navigation Plan 2021 presented by US Chief of Naval Operations Admiral Michael Gilday at the Surface Navy Association Symposium on Jan. 11, which stated that “our actions in this decade will set the maritime balance of power for the rest of the century.”
The US is committed to maintaining its leading position in terms of naval power and technology, which means constructing not only new generations of naval carriers, destroyers and littoral combat ships, but also expediting the development of cruisers, uncrewed surface warships and uncrewed submarines.
The report, citing a Financial Times article on Saturday, said that the Chinese air force had staged a simulated missile run on the USS Theodore Roosevelt, a Nimitz-class carrier, and its strike group when it sent aircraft into Taiwan’s southwest air defense identification zone.
“China’s navy is viewed as posing a major challenge to the US Navy’s ability to achieve and maintain wartime control of blue-water ocean areas in the Western Pacific — the first such challenge the US Navy has faced since the end of the Cold War,” an article prepared for the US Congress by the Congressional Research Service said.
The US’ commitment to maintaining a strong navy would continue as long as there is a Russian and Chinese threat, and with Chinese ambitions to develop a blue-water navy, a US-China arms race would inevitably escalate, the congressional report said.
In light of such developments, Taiwan has also devoted efforts to strengthening surface combat capability by pursuing an indigenous submarine project, the launching of the Tuo Jiang-class corvettes and rapid mine-laying vessels, as well as continuing research into a plan to build a new missile cruiser, the report said.
Taiwan’s military is primarily concerned with self-defense and operates under a “layered deterrent, defense first” principle, a military official said on condition of anonymity, adding that it would be closely watching regional developments, but would not be affected by other nations’ arms races.
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