China’s Navy Advances as U.S. Budgets Flatten

China1National Harbor, Md. — The Navy’s top weapons buyer on Wednesday said sequestration is putting the U.S. at a disadvantage in maintaining its technical edge over a rising China in the Pacific.

Sean Stackley, Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Research, Development and Acquisition, told a crowd at the Sea Air Space Exposition that U.S. dominance across the world is owed to “constant investment” in the Navy and Marine Corps.

He chose to single out a recent demonstration of U.S. Naval power last August to highlight his point. It was a test of an airborne-relay sensor aboard the E-2D Advanced Hawkeye that directed a surface-to-air missile fired from the USS Chancellorsville, a guided missile cruiser.

That’s the next great leap,” Stackley said referring to the airborne-relay sensor called the Naval Integrated Fire Control-Counter Air System. “This first test of [NIFC-CA] demonstrated our ability to match the reach of our platforms, our sensors, our networks and our weapons in order to extend our battle space beyond the enemy’s reach.”

He chose to highlight the test because it displayed the Navy’s ability to attack over the horizon targets – an important capability should the U.S. enter a war with China and its highly capable radar systems. The Navy must continue to invest in the research and development needed to develop advanced systems like NIFC-CA, Stackley said.

However, the budget cuts have put these investments in danger, he said. Of course, most observers would say the Navy has weathered the recent sequestration cuts the best amongst the services, but the Navy has also seen their expected defense spending flatten.

The reduction in development and procurement of weapons systems reduces the distinct advantage the U.S. military presently enjoys, Stackley said.

“That is our asymmetric advantage, and it is imperiled,” he said mentioning the sequester cuts. “Whether you’re counting numbers of ships, of aircraft, steaming days or flight hours, or training of sailors and Marines … the fact is that by whatever method you choose to count … the measure will be less, and in some cases much less.”

He said that Chinese naval leaders don’t have to worry about sequestration as China’s defense budget has risen over recent years.

“The threat is rising … China knows no sequestration. And their budgets are rising rapidly,” he said.

Of course, China spends only a fraction of what the U.S. does on its military. The U.S. Navy has a larger budget than the entire Chinese military.

However, Stackley said the U.S. still must maintain its military funding and get rid of sequestration.

“It is given to Congress by the Constitution to provide and maintain a Navy,” he said toward the end of the speech. “However it is up to us to educate and inform the Congress on what it is and what it is not the naval strength adequate to provide for our nation’s security.”

For that reason it is imperative that both government and industry do what it can “to rid the budget of any burden that does not go directly to building sea power.”

About the Author

Bryant Jordan
Bryant Jordan is a reporter for He can be reached at Follow him on Twitter at @BryantJordan.
  • Lance

    There is a BIG REASON why that is the way it is. Thanks to Obama and Bush’s war in Iraq we are broke and cannot afford to build a 1945 size Navy. We gave China all our jobs and now they can spend spend spend and we cant. I don’t give a crap to began with about China most of there weapons are junk. But this defense budget deficit is nto the result of WW3 coming in a year or two like many of these China fear mongers here on this blog want you to think, its about we wasted trillions on crap we don’t need and programs we don’t need this both for the military and civil affairs in the federal government. Sequestration is needed to undo some of the debt we made for ourselves, we can only blame ourselves. time to junk the billions in civil crap like teacher unions we don’t need junk crap like JSF JLTV and LCS we don’t need focus on stuff we do need F-15 upgrades F-22 maintenance DDG-1000 and Ford class carriers.

  • Andy

    then stop support they economy…like forcing the CEO’s stop outsourcing JOBS and MANUFACTURES there PROBLEM SOLVE otherwise I truely believe we are like Pakistanies on 1 hand they support TERRORIST and on the other hand they claim that they fighting TERRORIST to get MORE US MONEY…Look what happen to the DOCTOR helping the CIA to kill BIN LADEN……

  • hibeam

    China’s Navy Advances to Flatten US.

  • BlackOwl18E

    “Of course, China spends only a fraction of what the U.S. does on its military. The U.S. Navy has a larger budget than the entire Chinese military.”

    Yet, we are still losing our edge according to most. Sounds more like a problem with how our money is spent rather than needing enough money in the budget.

    • too much blown on contractors who sit and stare at a hole like caltrans

    • Nadnerbus

      Our defense industry looks a bit like early 1970s Detroit auto manufacturing. Just a couple of big companies that have a virtual monopoly on the entire market, with the added disadvantage of only a single consumer of their products.

      Just like the Japanese auto industry forced the US industry to start competing again and either lose the overhead and stupidity or die, I think US defense acquisition needs to look to the foreign market for more if its defense needs, to shake up the US domestic industry. A purchase of a foreign frigate design would be a good place to start.

      It’s a pity that Congress would never let that happen.

  • William_C1

    Of course China still pays workers very little compared to what we pay ours. The pay of their soldiers can’t be all that great either.

    But honestly, what do you expect when our current politicians are more concerned about implementing “political correctness” across the military instead of providing them with the equipment to do the job asked of them.

  • tal

    ”The U.S. Navy has a larger budget than the entire Chinese military.”

    Yet the PLAN pumps out an astonishing amount of ships annually while the USN procure ships in single digital numbers for every FY.

    • Jeff

      It’s called legal corruption, which is baked into the system.

      Is there any reason to keep BOTH models of the LCS in production? I thought the whole point of the LCS competition is to produce only the winning design. So how did we end up keeping both of them?

      The answer lies in institutionalized corruption.

      • Dfens

        Corruption my ass. We pay our defense contractors more to fail and they fail. It’s all quite legal. It may not be morally right, but it’s very legal.

        • Dfens

          Oh, you said “legal corruption”. Sorry!

    • Big-Dean

      not only that, but they are building destroyers while we build little (large) crappy ships like the LCS

      • Jeff

        The Freedom class LCS has repeatedly suffered from engine breakdowns, electrical blackouts, hull cracks, rust problems, delays, and cost overruns.

        It also has a survivability rating LOWER than a fleet oiler!

        Since when did it become OK to build a ‘warship’ with a survivability rating lower than a fleet oiler and then put it in use in heavily defended littoral waters?!

        I mean WTF?! This is like sending a Marine wearing only underpants and armed with a spoon to storm a fortified beach.

    • Active Navy 937

      Quality over quantity. Our Navy displaces more weight than the other top 5 navies combined.

      • peter_jones

        Those are facts….. This forum is only interested in self-appointed internet educated “experts” opinions. I.E. they want their own preconceived notions to be confirmed. Facts and logic, as well as people who actually served in the military or as a contractor, are not wanted.

  • Virgil Cuttaway

    You guys never tell your readers why the Chinese are gaining so fast on the US militarily and economically: our people keep buying Chinese goods and the money is used first to build up Chinese military.

    Moral of the story: its our own fault!

    • d. h. gilmour

      Thank you Wally World and Sam’s

  • pretty sure china could chug along for quite a few years before they would even come close to the US navy

  • dr horrible

    How clarifying! I guess we’re done here, then?

  • Darth Cheney

    Just think if we didn’t have all the lazy poor people on welfare and food stamps, or the troops returning home to no jobs and having to use food stamps and welfare for housing. Or, all those hungry kids on school lunch programs draining the United States financially. Just think – how much more money could go to the corporations for tax breaks and the military for protecting Americans for those foreign threats! That is America’s problem – poor people with no jobs because corporations sent them overseas for greater profits – not the tax breaks for the rich! Geez, if only Americans knew the freedoms of being Rich and Republican! After all – it is Obama’s fault that GWB started those wars – it’s all Obama’s fault!

    • Jim

      Well, when Obama took over, we had 7 trillion fewer dollers on our credit card, and considerably less unemployment. What happened to all of Obama’s promises?

      • Dfens

        I’m guessing you meant “considerably less employment”. It’s funny to watch Republicans and Democrats point fingers at each other, when there’s not a bit of difference between the economic policies of either group of con artists. I’m sure it would be much more amusing if they weren’t both taking this country to hell in a handbasket.

    • Ruger

      The funny thing is that when Democrats are in control it’s not dems and rich democrats, it’s always repubs and rich republicans. It’s those unicorns that keep getting in the way of ending this cronyism. (curruption). Remove the politics and think like an American, not divided.

  • Bill

    Don’t fall for any of this crap. Let the Navy have a cake/cookie sale if they want more
    toys. The American public are getting conned by the likes of Lockheed/Boeing (retireed
    Admirals/Generals), etc. While the european union spend their money to improve the
    quality of life for their citizens, we waste ours on new military toys. Enough is enough.s

    • William_C1

      And when Russia is at the gates what good will The European Union’s welfare programs do then?

      • Dfens

        At that point most of the countries will probably prefer Russia to the EU’s decimation of their economies.

        • peters

          Putin has more brains, will and governing power than all US Con-gressmen put together. Putin is not a puppet, unlike US politicians.

          Putin can win a cold war this time easily, especially when China, India, Iran, and many countries in Asia and S. America are in the league.

  • Bernard

    We’re dumping hundreds of billions into the failed F35, we wasted billions on the useless V22, and we overpay for everything so of course we’re following behind. Clean up the defense contract business. Stop letting them get away with under bidding and then going over budget. Every contractor who has gone over budget by more than 20% should be barred from further contracts for the next 10 years unless waved by a congressional consensus.

    • Bernard

      Of course this should only be applied to contracts started after such a rule is put into place. Many of the contracts currently in place simply need to be cancelled. In fact any time a project goes over budget there should be an investigation for fraud and it should be treated as a serious violation of the public trust. Finishing a project within the budget should not be the exception, it should be the rule.

      • Jim

        Good idea, oh, but by the way, no changing of the requirements after the contract is signed.

        • Bernard

          That’s critical. If you change requirements then you cannot guarantee a budget anymore. You’ll have to change all estimates.

          Now, as an software engineer I understand the need for iterative development, however that requires strict discipline with project scope. Every change is going to affect the budget and the contractor needs to report those things. However, the government also needs restrictions on how much change they are allowed to do before a project should be forced to be put up for a rebid.

          I think if requirements changes increase the budget needs by more than 15% the project needs to be halted, new requirements need to be drafted, and other contractors need to be given the chance to bid on the new contract. If you don’t have a penalty in their for scope creep than all projects will suffer from scope creep and that will be used to cause budget overruns and delays.

  • francis

    The comments on this site are like being back in the hip coffee house with those gaudy paintings on the wall. And the attitudinizer booming on about Texas, consmerism, and this months fascists.

  • superraptor

    We could have a more powerful Navy in a flat budget environment: cancel LCS, cancel the F-35C, decrease our supercarriers to 10, build 4 new Virginia subs per year including the 70 ft long VLS addition which is already planned. Reequip the USN with 2000 tactical nuclear cruise missiles (Russian and China have tactical nukes on their ships, we don’t, thanks to Obama, all removed in 2010). Go for an atack sub fleet of 100 subs. Bring back the anti-ship tomahawk missile which also was eliminated. The reason that we have such a weakened military is political correctness, it is not money. We could buy 1000 Brahmos missiles from India for 2 billion, instead we spend 134 billion dollars on the F-35 and get nothing. The USN wants to cancel the F-35C, but is prohibited by the Pentagon to do so. And the GOP is unwilling to cancel sequestration which is fulfilling the Ulratleft’s dream of the utter failure and destruction of the US military. So much for GOP patriotism. One day we will be wiped out.

    • peter_jones

      Brahmos missiles? Jesus. What garbage.

    • blight_

      With that logic India would replace all of its carriers, land vehicles, Sea Harriers and Mig-29K’s with…Brahmos missiles!

      India is keeping and building out a surface navy. They are buying Mig-29K’s for their STOL carrier. They aren’t trading anything even with the Brahmos.

  • Rob

    China realizes it can match our arsenal and out do us in the Pacific. Our forces are spread globally. Theirs are not. Then add in the fact that Russia would back China in any conflict, Japan & NATO needs to step up. Otherwise, if we continue to cut back we are best to just handover Pacific influence to China now in trade for our debt.

  • Israel

    China can spend more because of their political structure. They can build this fleet at a less cost. For one their working class does not have the same rights that American working class citizens have. They can screw their workers over into longer work shifts at less pay. This is just one facet of their structure. The U.S. has to rethink their strategy. Size means nothing if the strategy of the leaner fleet size is superior.

    • Dfens

      Our strategy is to pay defense contractors more to drag out the design of new weapons and to pay them more to jack up the price. You think there is a better way?

  • “The wariness about foreigners was to be a characteristic of the time. British intelligence had reports since 1909 about how German intelligence was being gathered in Britain and Ireland,” he says.

    When state of war broke away in Lordly 1914, sleuth paranoia soared throughout the UK with a rash of newsprint
    stories, books and films. High-visibility picture palace releases,
    including the German Snoop Peril, Guarding Britain’s Secrets and The Kaiser’s Spies, added
    fuel to the elicit.

  • mrlee

    I just love the way that all of you people get angry about military contracts going over budget, when you know absolutely nothing about military contracts. Firstly, something is hashed out on paper, and then designs are drawn up. If it is small enough, a prototype is manufactured and the problems are hashed out of it, and design specs are changed. Changes add to the cost. Then when you think that you have what you want, you realize that it is not operating quite up to what you had hoped for, and so you have to go over your designs and figure it out again only to see that you weren’t using it correctly, because it is so new. And at that stage, it is out of date because of something newer.

    • wtpworrier

      Just so you know, I tried to hit the thumbs down button…Contractors are always going over budget, and I will bet a dollar to a hole in a soggy doughnut, that it’s by design.

  • wtpworrier

    “National Harbor, Md. — The Navy’s top weapons buyer on Wednesday said sequestration is putting the U.S. at a disadvantage in maintaining its technical edge over a rising China in the Pacific”____________________________________Well thats true to an extent. China got a whole fleet of one Carrier that can’t launch a single plane. If you are gonna make a case for the US to stay on it’s toes in this matter, at least try to be a bit more realistic.

  • d. h. gilmour

    Are we sure Michelle wasn’t there to make a sale/gift agreement of our “obsolete” carriers and destroyers being decommisioned like we did with so many ships given to the Russians at the end of WWII. She looked like she was having a great time waving their flag around and cheering.

  • bob ramos

    Remember we are a slave to foreign oil we have to down size our economy and military to reduce our oil consumption dependability because we lead the world in oil consumption. This process will be very painful, that’s why the world seems to have gotten so greedy and grabbing, everyone is trying to get theirs first.
    We are in the position to cut off china from our U.S market any time we want.
    The problem here is the higher ups wont share that info.

    • We are really cutting bac on our importation of oil. Try to keep your paranoid fantasies up with the times.

  • Vitor

    The ignorance of economics here is strong. So much cheap mercantlism and keynesianism here.

  • It seems to me, at the very least, counter-intuitive to expect that asymmetry can be maintained indefinitely. The strain of resisting equilibrium will show eventually.

  • TopAssistant

    Our useless politicians in BOTH the DEMONcrat party and the RINO/GOP leadership/followers in the soon to be defunct Republican party shifted their attention and spending from on constitutional issues to unconstitutional programs. They need to move back to the limits our Founding Fathers placed on national spending and involve themselves into what is limited by the Constitution Article I, Section 8, Clauses 1-18.
    Our Constitution says three things about the responsibility of the federal government for our national defense. First, “provide for the common defense” is our national government’s top priority; second, our national defense is the only mandatory function of the national government; finally, national defense is exclusively the function of the national government. However, what happens when our national government, including our politicians ignores their Oath of Office and our Constitution when it comes to our national defense, our homeland security and the preservation of our Constitution?
    To force national politicians to follow the Constitution will require citizen/voter involvement to ask all politicians, beginning at the local level (mayor, city/town council, township trustee, county/parish supervisor/commissioner, state House and Senate members) to push our national politicians to do their jobs by placing our national defense, homeland security and the preservation of our Constitution back above Cultural Marxism i.e. political correctness and the constant pandering politicians make for votes and funding to get reelected.
    The Constitution requires the national government to “provide for the common defense” of this nation, however, the Constitution also requires the federal government to protect the nation. Article Four, Section Four states that the “United States shall guarantee to every State a republican form of government and shall protect each of them against invasion.” In other words, even if the federal government chose to exercise no other power, it must, under the Constitution, provide for the common defense. Read “A Constitutional Basis for Defense” by Jim Talent, June 1, 2010

  • meow

    Oh come on, stop exaggerating Chinese threat to waste more taxpayer money on the blundering military.

    The Chinese haven’t even started building aircraft carriers and 10000 ton class destroyers yet.

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