Letter to the editor at The Wall Street Journal from Senator Roger Wicker: 

The Navy has outlined a minimum force requirement of 355 ships, and the president has signed into law a bill that supports meeting this benchmark.

Seth Cropsey is a perceptive naval analyst and a persuasive champion for a bigger fleet in an emerging period of naval competition with China and Russia (“The U.S. Navy Lowers Its Sights,” op-ed, Jan. 18). However, his conclusion—that President Trump and the Navy have reversed course on a fleet buildup—is hasty. There is nothing to suggest the Navy and President Trump have abandoned this priority.

Mr. Cropsey cites the Navy’s recent fleetwide readiness review and the president’s national security strategy as evidence of diminished ambitions. He is right that an aggressive buildup is part of the solution to keep U.S. ships ready, safe and present around the globe. But Mr. Cropsey should not be too concerned by the absence of 350 ships in the president’s national security strategy. This strategy represents a review of national security threats and ways to secure vital U.S. interests, not specific force-structure goals. The Navy has outlined a minimum force requirement of 355 ships, and the president has signed into law a bill that supports meeting this benchmark as a matter of national policy. Further, Congress not only wants a larger fleet but is willing to pay for it.

At the very least, Mr. Cropsey’s assessment is a sobering reminder that there is still a great deal of work to do. In early February, the Navy’s budget will include requested funding for new ship construction and modernization programs. The budget will be accompanied by the administration’s first 30-year Shipbuilding Plan that, by law, will provide the projected inventory of Navy ships through fiscal year 2048. This plan is the surest gauge of the administration’s commitment to growing the Navy, and we eagerly await it.

Sen. Roger F. Wicker (R., Miss.) Press Release

Rep. Rob Wittman (R., Va.)