Just call him John Paul Jones.
A couple of weeks prior to moving into the White House, then President-Elect Donald Trump was saying he would like to dramatically build up the number of naval ships in order to keep pace with the Russians and Chinese.
During the American Revolutionary War, Jones became the first well-known naval commander. Born in Scotland, he began his maritime career at age 13 and eventually joined the U.S. Navy to fight the British.
Trump won’t be at the helm of any ships, but he is taking a good look at the Navy’s 355-ship proposal. Like everything else, the key is money. One projection estimates that more than $5 billion would be needed annually to meet the Navy’s goal.
An increase in the number of naval ships – regardless of how many more might be built – would be good for our national defense. It would also allow for shorter deployments for sailors and more time for ship maintenance. Of course, shipbuilders would also be happy to get more work.
During the eight years Obama occupied the Oval Office, the U.S. military was degraded across the board. Trump vows to change that, but he understands it must be done in a fiscally responsible way.
As Lawrence J. Kolb, a retired naval officer, says, “You never have enough money to buy a perfect defense. You have to make trade-offs.”