There are plenty of reasons to suspect that the Battle Force 2045 plan for remaking America’s Navy, unveiled by Secretary of Defense Mark Esper on October 6, will not produce a sea change in U.S. military preparations.
For starters, President Trump is trailing in the polls and probably won’t be reelected. Even if he is, Secretary Esper is expected to be gone soon (the two men are barely speaking). In addition, the government is facing a fiscal hangover from fighting the coronavirus pandemic that will limit future defense spending. And Esper’s plan is so imposing—nearly a dozen new ship classes, half of them unmanned—that it would be challenging to implement even in normal times.