NEWS FROM SEA-AIR-SPACE: Navy Keeping Watch on China's Expanding Global Presence
NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. — The Navy will need to adjust to changes in the maritime domain and match China’s efforts to put beef up its seapower around the world, according to the service’s chief of naval operations.
China is expanding its areas of operation by moving out of the South China Sea, Adm. John Richardson noted May 6 during an address at the Navy League’s Sea-Air-Space conference at National Harbor, Maryland
Chinese vessels are moving across the Indian Ocean, up through the Suez Canal and into the Mediterranean Sea, he said.
“We've seen Chinese naval missile exercises in the Mediterranean,” he said. “We've seen [the] Chinese navy exercising with the Russian navy in the Baltic. ... This is becoming a global navy.”
To maintain its influence, the U.S. Navy plans to concentrate its operations in these areas as well.
“If that is where all the activity is happening, if that is where the conflicts are happening, if that is where our economic prosperity is, then ... that is where your Navy is going to be,” Richardson said.
However, the South China Sea will continue to be an area of great strategic importance because a third of the world’s trade travels through the area. It is critical for the United States to ensure that trade can flow freely, the CNO said.
“That is why the United States Navy is there and that is why we're going to stay there,” he said. “We just have too much of our national interest tied up in that part of the world.”
Meanwhile, the sea service is demonstrating its agility with the redeployment of the USS Abraham Lincoln carrier strike group, Richardson noted. The aircraft carrier and accompanying ships are being sent to the Middle East amid rising tensions with Iran.
“What's going on with Abraham Lincoln strike group is exactly what you would want to happen for your naval forces on a scheduled deployment,” he said. The contingent was busy “doing great operations" with allies and partners, but it was able to pivot and "move a tremendous force package to wherever national leadership needs it," he added.
Topics: Maritime Security