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Concerns Arise Over China’s Naval Shipbuilding Capacity Outpacing the United States

A leaked slide from the U.S. Office of Naval Intelligence (ONI) has raised alarms about China’s rapid naval vessel production, revealing a capacity 232 times greater than that of the United States. While this outsized capability to bolster China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Navy has sparked concerns about the U.S. falling behind, retired Capt. James Fanell suggests a way forward. He emphasizes the need for a shift in the current policy towards China, highlighting that the challenges extend beyond political will, encompassing the state of America’s shipbuilding industry.

Fanell draws attention to the significant decline in the U.S. shipbuilding sector since World War II, asserting that America’s maritime prowess was instrumental in its rise as a global power. He contends that historical precedent indicates that prioritizing national security over personal careers can yield positive results, citing the example of U.S. Navy admirals who advocated for strategic changes during the Cold War.

To bridge the gap, Fanell calls for legislation akin to the Two-Ocean Navy Act of 1940, which bolstered the nation’s naval capabilities. He emphasizes the parallels between the current strategic landscape and that of 1940, citing Russian aggression in Ukraine and China’s assertive maritime maneuvers. Fanell advocates for leveraging American innovation to expand the warship fleet, proposing the conversion of retired vessels into potent arsenal ships armed with advanced anti-ship weaponry.

In reflecting on the public’s awareness of China’s naval capabilities, Fanell points out a concerning lack of understanding, attributing it to a broader lack of information and education on the matter. However, he refrains from placing blame on the American populace, emphasizing the importance of informed discourse and strategic policy decisions to address this critical issue.

Overall, Fanell’s insights underscore the imperative for a multifaceted approach, encompassing policy shifts, revitalization of the shipbuilding industry, and public awareness, to safeguard America’s naval dominance in the face of China’s escalating capabilities.

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