The U.S. Navy’s Submarine Force Is Shrinking Fast (And Trump Just Made It Worse)

The U.S. Navy already was facing a huge shortage of attack submarines. Then came Pres. Donald Trump’s budget proposal for 2021. The Trump administration’s budget, if Congress approves it, would make the shortage worse.

Arguably the big winner in Trump’s Navy budget is China, which continues to add to its undersea force as America cuts its own.

The Navy long had planned to buy two Virginia-class attack submarines in 2021. But the $207-billion budget Trump has proposed for the Department of the Navy would buy just one attack submarine.

The Navy’s 2021 budget proposal is smaller by several billion dollars than the budget Congress ultimately approved for 2020 and reflects growing concerns over the health of the U.S. government’s finances. The government began running trillion-dollar annual deficits shortly after Trump and Republican allies in Congress in 2017 passed deep tax cuts for corporations and the wealthy.

Trump’s request includes just $20 billion for new ships, far short of the $24 billion the Navy spent on shipbuilding in 2020. The fleet had expected to buy at least 11 new warships in 2021, but Trump’s budget reduces the number to just eight, the lowest level of new shipbuilding since 2015, when the “sequestration” budget crisis imposed mandatory cuts.

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