For years to come, the United States will likely be mired in great power competition. Much of this competition will take place in an increasingly contentious maritime domain, where the U.S. Navy has long played a key role in underwriting the post-World War II U.S.-led security order. While the National Defense Strategy calls on the nation to prepare for, so as to deter, conflict with a rising China and a revanchist Russia, the U.S. Navy faces a number of daunting challenges as it carries out this role. For America’s naval forces to continue to defend the nation’s strategic interests on the high seas, the Navy aims to grow and modernize its fleet—but it must also address significant shortfalls in its current operational readiness. Achieving desired future growth and modernization, and addressing existing shortfalls will take years and considerable financial investment—but it remains an open question if the nation’s fiscal and political environment will be able to deliver it.
On January 28, Brookings Senior Fellow Michael O’Hanlon engaged Chief of Naval Operations Admiral John Richardson in a discussion on the Navy’s operational outlook, its plans for future growth, and its assessment of the increasingly contentious maritime domain in this era of great power competition.
Questions from the audience followed the conversation.
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