China’s Global Maritime Leap Over America

A new article in The Washington Post lays bare China’s pursuit of maritime superiority in the Pacific and elsewhere.

Quoting a scholar at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, the article convincingly posits that “China is now the world’s premier commercial maritime power, and its strategic hold over the world’s supply routes could be used to interdict or restrict U.S. trade, troop movements and freedom of navigation in a range of different ways.” 

Though the United States is a maritime nation, our commercial fleet is now roughly 1/10th of its size at the end of WWII. Our continued delay in fully grasping the ramifications of China’s maritime offensive could have dire consequences down the road. 

In the event we must engage militarily with China, it would enjoy an immense advantage.  

Having modernized its merchant fleet, the Chinese military can tap more than 5,500 vessels to transport troops, supplies, fuel, armaments, and tanks. The U.S. has under 100.  

A key component of America’s maritime security is having at the ready highly qualified, militarily obligated merchant mariners when war breaks out. This is where the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy (USMMA) comes into play. The USMMA provides the vast majority (over 80%) of the US Navy’s Strategic Sealift Officers that will be essential in times of conflict. 

Thank you to the Midshipmen at the USMMA who have made a commitment to the security of the United States.