The Huffington Post
The United States Navy is of critical importance to the defense of this country and to maintaining freedom of the seas internationally. Freedom of navigation, as ensured by the Navy, is critical to America's ability to project power by moving men and equipment over 70 percent of the earth's surface and to maintaining world trade and commerce. The Navy's missions in this regard have expanded significantly in recent years. Simultaneously, the Navy faces a strategic challenge from China in the Pacific. Yet the number of ships in the fleet continues to fall. If this trend is not reversed quickly, American security and influence in the world will be diminished for many years to come.