For too long, the U.S. has lived off the dividends of its Cold War investments. Consider its Navy.
In the first years following the Soviet Union's dissolution, the nation closed four public shipyards and rapidly reduced the fleet by over 137 ships. Now, however, with the resurgence of Russia and an assertive China, it is a trend the Secretary of Defense Mark Esper is working hard to reverse.
On October 6, Esper channeled the great naval thinker Alfred Thayer Mahan at a fireside chat, making a persuasive case that things must change. His call for upwards of 500 ships, including numerous unmanned platforms and new classes of warships, is welcome. It represents one part of a wider effort to bend trend-lines towards a revitalized Navy for great power competition.