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The U.S. Navy Has Big Plans To Wage A War Against China

U.S. Navy China War
ATLANTIC OCEAN (Sept. 17, 2021) Sailors qualify in the M240 machine gun aboard the guided-missile destroyer USS Forrest Sherman (DDG 98), Sept. 17, 2021. Forrest Sherman participates in the Canadian-led exercise, Cutlass Fury, alongside USS Thomas Hudner (DDG 116) and Canadian allies. The Fury series of exercises are bi-annual, medium scale exercises off the coast of Nova Scotia and Newfoundland designed to exercise Canada’s Atlantic Fleet, allied navies, and other joint elements in tactical-level warfare. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Theoplis Stewart II) 210917-N-UP745-1755

In a recent speech at the United States Naval Academy, Secretary Del Toro explained that he supports the Navy and Marine Corps efforts to counter China better.

 The Plan

The Secretary of the Navy, Carlos Del Toro, fully supports both the U.S. Navy’s Navigation Plan 2021 and Marine Corps’ new Force Design 2030.

“For the first time since the defeat of the Soviet Union, we have a strategic competitor with naval capabilities and capacities that rival and, in some areas, even surpass our own,” Del Toro explained in a speech delivered at the United States Naval Academy.

“It’s not just the ships and the weapons that concern me. It’s what Beijing does as it strives to achieve leverage over its competitors. It uses every advantage in a corrosive, extractive and dangerously irresponsible manner.”

The Commandant of the Marine Corps, Gen. David Berger, and the Chief of Naval Operations Admiral Michael Gilday concur.

Both branches are in the midst of significant transformational change, reequipping and reorganizing to provide credible deterrence against China in the Indo-Pacific.

Force Design 2030

The United States Marine Corps’ Force Design 2030 is a radical review of the Corps’ force posture, aimed at transforming the Corps from a force focused on the kinds of grinding land campaigns that defined the conflicts in the Middle East to an amphibious, highly autonomous force capable of engaging Chinese threats above and below the surface throughout the Pacific.

In addition to retooling, fielding a much-needed replacement for the Corps’ Cold War-era Assault Amphibious Vehicle, the Marines are radically rethinking how they fight, with the mantra if it doesn’t swim, it sinks. They’ve divested all tank battalions, as well as much of their artillery and tube mortars, concentrating instead on maritime capabilities.

One of the new systems they’ve prototyped is a potent, ship-killer, essentially a Joint Light Tactical Vehicle sans cab and equipped with the Navy’s new Naval Strike Missiles. The Corps has also exploited how Marines could hunt down enemy submarines below the waves, a mission that has traditionally fallen to the Navy.

The Marine Corps is also looking to field a Light Amphibious Warship, essentially a fast and lightly-armed shore-to-shore ship that can support groups of 75 to several hundred Marines.

What’s Next? 

A former Navy officer, Del Toro explained that “We [the U.S. Navy] have to fight on every front,” to the Midshipmen present at the Naval Academy. “On space, cyber, on land, on sea, under the sea, above the sea, everywhere. It takes all of those efforts collectively for us to be successful.”

Furthermore, Del Toro emphasized that “as long as I’m Secretary of the Navy, I’m going to make sure that we have the right investments in place” to ensure the Navy and the Marine Corps remain effective fighting forces.

Caleb Larson is a multimedia journalist and Defense Writer with The National Interest. He lives in Berlin and covers the intersection of conflict, security, and technology, focusing on American foreign policy, European security, and German society.

Written By

Caleb Larson is a multiformat journalist and defense writer based in Berlin but has spent most of 2022 reporting from Ukraine. He covers the intersection of conflict, security, and technology, with a focus on American foreign policy and European security. Follow him on Twitter @calebmlarson.



  1. Clifford Nelson

    October 10, 2021 at 9:59 am

    Seems like the Marines want to replace the Navy. More fighting between branches than fighting anyone else. Marine corps hunting submarines. How extremely stupid. Will not even have heavy weapons so no staying power. Just another special warfare group, a massive one at that, and useless for future conflicts like Iraq and Afghanistan. Already the Army had 3 light divisions: 2 airborne and 1 mountain. Now almost half the US divisions will be light divisions. And I suspect that in the future the US will be less able to depend on allies to make up for its deficiency in front line divisions.

  2. Den

    October 10, 2021 at 12:48 pm

    The force-design pendulum always swings back and forth between “light” and “heavy.” Typically we end a war, the politicians want a “peace dividend” and the forces get lighter and smaller under the guise of being “rapidly deployable” and somehow magically enabled by technology and pixie-dust “jointness” or “cross-domain integration” or somesuch. Then when the next conflict erupts we are shocked to discover that light forces have insufficient firepower, insufficient sustainment and all that purported magic tech secret-sauce dramatically underperforms. So we spend the first few years of the new conflict bulking everything up. Rinse and repeat.

  3. JohnRussell

    October 10, 2021 at 3:43 pm

    Brilliant… So, America is going to go to WAR with the nation to whom CORPORATE AMERICA and our corrupt bought and paid for political class…OFFSHORED NEARLY OUR ENTIRE MANUFACTURING BASE? SOUNDS LIKE A WINNER… No need for China to counter attack… as America will self destruct from within… ANARCHY due to shortages of…VIRTUALLY EVERYTHING… ECONOMIC DEPRESSION on an EPIC scale… This is ONLY about bought military leadership upping the ante to feed the voracious appetite of the Military Industrial Complex. Defeat from within. Recall Eisenhower’s final speech. HOW do We The People bring the slightest bit of sanity to governance…

  4. Bterclinger

    October 11, 2021 at 1:51 am

    “It uses every advantage in a corrosive, extractive and dangerously irresponsible manner.”

    In other words our woke SecNav is triggered by the nation that bought the White House with a $ 1.6 billion “investment” in a hedge fund run by the son of the former vp now present-addled POTUS that they know as “the big guy”.

    And that’s not even taking into account how much of our digital backbone and our mil-tech is filled with chips Made In China.

    God willing Japan, Vietnam, Singapore, Korea and Thailand and Philippines realize that stopping China now when we are so incompetent (that we left $84 billion in weapons in Afghanistan) will be easier than after we totally collapse (or Biden sells out Taiwan the way he is selling out Israel to a nuclear capable Iran).

  5. Colin McGrath

    October 11, 2021 at 1:58 am

    I think the USMC should stick with what they know best. Sure, new technologies should be integrated, but don’t get rid of the heavy fire-power of tanks, artillery and mortars. Leave the sub hunting/killing and ship sinking to the navy.

  6. John Hinman

    October 11, 2021 at 5:34 am

    The U.S. can have all the military weaponry and men in the world but with Pathetic leadership we are doomed to fail.
    The idiots in power now couldn’t even manage a simple withdrawal from Afghanistan without totally screwing that up.

  7. Blue

    October 11, 2021 at 1:20 pm

    This title and the whole notion is totally stupid! BIG PLAN to commit national suicide? What kind of moron running the show?

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