Saturday, July 31, 2010

Panel calls for US Navy expansion

US Navy warships, file photo

Source: Press TV§ionid=3510203

A congressionally mandated defense panel in the US says the Pentagon should increase the number of people serving in the navy to deal with rising Asian powers.

The statement came in a report headed by former White House National Security Adviser Stephen Hadley and former Defense Secretary William Perry on Thursday, urging the expansion of US naval power in Asia from its current fleet of 282 ships to 346 ships, the Washington Times reported.

The independent panel has also called for the US military to confront "the rise of new global great powers in Asia," adding that it must prepare for the "continued struggle for power in the Persian Gulf and the greater Middle East."

"In order to preserve US interests, the United States will need to retain the ability to transit freely the areas of the Western Pacific for security and economic reasons," the Washington Times quoted the panel as saying.

The recommendation for a bigger navy goes against the policies of Defense Secretary Robert Gates, however, who maintains that US naval forces are currently unrivaled.

After reviewing the Pentagon's Quadrennial Defense Review strategy, the panel has also recommended that the US merge its military, intelligence and foreign assistance spending budgets.

According to the panel, the latest QDR is a "wartime" review, which "continues the trend of the last 15 years," and is prepared by a department that is focused "understandably and appropriately on responding to the threats America now faces and winning the wars in which the US is now engaged."

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