Donald Trump has laid out the most serious plan for rebuilding the U.S. military since Ronald Reagan was President. Under the Obama-Clinton Administration, our Navy has shrunk to the smallest it has been since World War I; the Army is the smallest it has been since before World War II; and the Air Force is the smallest it has ever been. Under defense sequestration, the military is also experiencing the most serious readiness crisis in over a generation, with training hours cut, ships deploying longer than ever, and pilots even taking spare parts for their aircraft from museums.
Hillary Clinton was Secretary of State when the deep cuts were implemented. By contrast, in his Contract With The American Voter, Donald Trump has pledged to work with Congress to immediately reverse sequestration. Mr. Trump has also proposed building toward a 350 ship Navy, as recommended by the bipartisan National Defense Panel. This includes a significant investment in both new undersea and surface combatants, which means significant new work for facilities like the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard.
Rebuilding our Navy will be a truly national effort and require a significant expansion of our defense industrial base to meet the needs of a growing Fleet. Facilities like Portsmouth Naval Shipyard will be at the very heart of this effort, with their history of service to our Navy and tremendous human capital. Mr. Trump has pledged to establish or expand “centers of excellence” at facilities like Portsmouth and elsewhere to train our civilian public shipyard employees in the critical skills they need to advance toward the “master” designation in their chosen field. Welders, pipefitters, and other skilled tradesmen will be essential to growing our Fleet under a Trump Administration.
Mr. Trump’s vision for the U.S. Navy will necessitate the type of investment in facilities like Portsmouth Naval Shipyard that has been withheld for far too long. In a dangerous world, the United States requires a robust Navy capable of defending American interests and deterring conflict. Only by expanding our critical public shipyards and investing in a vibrant cadre of shipbuilding and ship repair craftsmen will we be able to rebuild the Navy our national security requires.