The Secretary of the Navy cited climate change as a top priority as Biden suggested reducing the fleet
Minister of the Navy Carlos del Toro said he sees combating climate change as a top priority for the Navy as the Biden administration proposes reducing the fleet by two ships and concerns grow about how the US Navy will stack up to China.
“As Secretary of the Navy, I can tell you that I have made the climate one of my top priorities since the first day I took office,” del Toro said March 1 in remarks at the University of the Bahamas.
Del Toro said he met Bahamian Prime Minister Philip Davis during his visit and spoke with him “at length” about the issue. Climate crisis The bulk of his observations focused on climate.
“The US Navy and Marine Corps team has been working on climate and energy security for a long time,” he said. And we are working to accelerate and expand those efforts.”
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He added, “We look at the climate crisis the same way we look at the damage control efforts on the ship in distress. It’s a moment of public action on deck.”
Del Toro spoke just days before the Biden administration released its proposed 2024 budget, which calls for shrinking the Navy’s fleet even though most military experts and senior Navy officers have called for more ships. Deterring the larger Chinese fleet.
Several years ago, the Navy set a goal of having 355 manned ships. But over the past three years, the Biden administration has proposed shrinking the fleet below the 298 ships currently available, rather than increasing it toward a target of 355 ships.
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This year, Biden’s budget called for 11 ships to be decommissioned and just nine built, for a net loss of two. That budget proposal was met with skepticism from members of Congress, which has acted in the past two years to spare the Navy from fleet cuts proposed by the Biden administration.
“Regardless of today’s favorite phrase—“divestment for investment’s sake,” “strategic pause,” “capability to capacity,”—the president’s defense budget is, in practice, sinking our future fleet,” said Sen. Roger Wicker, R-Miss. , the top Republican on the Senate Armed Services Committee.”A strong naval base begins with preparation today and a plan to grow our fighting power and command the seas tomorrow. President Biden risks our maritime security by refusing to act toward any of these goals.”
While preparing the Navy’s budget for its release, del Toro was stressing the importance of using the Navy to combat climate change in the Bahamas, and made reference to the many climate-related events the Navy would be participating in.
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“There is no trade-off between addressing climate security and our core mission of being the Marine Corps’ most capable and prepared team,” he said. “Just the opposite is true. Embracing climate-focused technologies and adopting a climate-informed attitude strengthens our ability to stand by our partners and allies.”
Concern about climate change will lead to new technologies that the Navy can use to create “a virtuous cycle of energy efficiency, cost savings, maritime dominance and climate security,” del Toro said.
He noted that the Presidential Special Envoy for Climate John Kerry He had just been in the Bahamas and was going to meet with Kerry in Panama at the Our Oceans Conference. He said the USNS Comfort, a 1,000-bed medical ship, is often in the Caribbean to help with “climate-charged disasters.”
It will, said del Toro, head of marine research Host a conference in Florida In April the focus will be on how to “address climate change and marine pollution, regenerate hybrid energies applied in the marine domain and integrate unmanned systems”.
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Climate change is one of, if not the most, theHe said, “The most complex issues we’ve faced – as individuals, as nations, as a race. That’s why my team and I are so fortunate to be here in Nassau to exchange ideas with all of you.”