WASHINGTON — China has showcased its first aircraft carrier landings while maintenance woes have reduced the United States to a single carrier in the Gulf, pointing to the beginnings of a subtle shift in the balance of naval power.
With South China Sea tensions growing, the threat of Middle East conflict still very real and counterterrorism [sic] and counter piracy operations also demanding resources, demands on Western navies — and the U.S. in particular — seem ever-growing.
Even as it emerged that problems with the USS Nimitz would leave Washington unable to maintain its standard two-carrier Gulf force for the first time since 2010, its navy found itself sending new forces to a volatilce eastern Mediterranean.
Tough choices loom, with the U.S. military facing years of tighter spending – and the prospect of even starker reductions from sequestration still very real just as European allies seem less able than ever to offer support.
“None of these developments is overwhelming or shocking in its own right,” says Nikolas Gvosdev, professor of national security studies at the U.S. Naval War College.
“But they point to a larger trend. The U.S. is going to have to get used to not always having the capability to be everywhere. There are going to be more gaps, and there are going to be other countries that fill those gaps.”
Full article: Global naval balance of power shifting with introduction of China’s aircraft carrier (National Post)