OAN Roy Francis
UPDATED 8:22 AM – Saturday, March 18, 2023
The Biden administration has introduced the military budget plan for 2024 which proposes cutting two ships from the Navy.
Under Biden’s administration, Military experts and senior Navy officers have repeatedly called for more ships to increase the Navy capabilities in order to deter China’s fleet. However, Biden’s newly proposed budget plan calls for the decommissioning of 11 ships and the construction of only nine.
For the past several years, the Navy has had the goal of having 355 manned ships as part of its fleet. Despite the goal that has been set by military experts and officials, the Biden administration, for the last three years, has proposed shrinking the fleet below the 298 ships that are currently active.
The new budget proposal, which will amount to a net loss of two ships, was met with skepticism from Congress. Members of Congress have repeatedly acted to spare the Navy from the cuts that have been proposed by Biden.
Senator Roger Wicker (R-Miss.), the top Republican on the Senate Armed Services Committee, said that the proposed budgets by Biden are “sinking our future fleet.”
“No matter the favored phrase of the day — ‘divest to invest,’ ‘strategic pause,’ ‘capability over capacity,’ — the president’s defense budget is, in practice, sinking our future fleet,” he said. “A strong naval footing begins with readiness today and a plan to grow our battle force and command the seas tomorrow. President Biden is risking our maritime security by declining to work toward either of these goals.”
Meanwhile, the secretary of the Navy, Carlos Del Toro, has stated that he sees fighting climate change as a top priority for himself and the Navy.
Del Toro was in the Bahamas, visiting with Prime Minister Philip Davis. He said that during his visit, the two spoke “at length” about the climate crisis.
“As the Secretary of the Navy, I can tell you that I have made climate one of my top priorities since the first day I came into office,” Del Toro said at the University of the Bahamas. “The U.S. Navy and Marine Corps team has been working on climate and energy security for a long time. And we are accelerating and broadening those efforts. We view the climate crisis much the same way as damage control efforts on a stricken ship. This is an all-hands-on-deck moment.”
Del Toro claimed that fighting climate change would lead the Navy to develop new technologies, which would lead to “maritime dominance and climate security.”
“There is not a trade-off between addressing climate security and our core mission of being the most capable and ready Navy-Marine Corps team,” he said. “The exact opposite is true. Embracing climate-focused technologies and adopting a climate-informed posture strengthens our capability to stand by our partners and allies.”
As the new budget was released by the Biden administration, Del Toro stressed the importance of using the Navy to fight climate change. He also noted that the Navy will be participating in many upcoming climate-related events.
Del Toro has also met with John Kerry, the Special Presidential Envoy for Climate, in Panama at the Our Oceans Conference to discuss strategies for fighting climate change. Furthermore, he said that the chief of naval research will be hosting a conference in Florida which will focus on climate change, marine pollution, and new energies.
“Climate change is one of the, if not the, most complex issues we have ever faced — as individuals, as nations and as a species,” he said. “And that is why my team and I are so fortunate to be here in Nassau exchanging ideas with all of you.”
This comes as U.S. relations with Russia and China are at all time low, with Chinese President Xi Jinping and Russian President Vladimir Putin set to meet in Russia next week.