A retired admiral says the US needs to start building boats fast because China's going to outpace the US Navy in no time


  • The US Navy needs more ships to match up to China, says retired US Navy Adm. James Stavridis.

  • China has the world’s largest navy, with over 355 vessels in its fleet.

  • “We have a lot more experience, but quantity has a quality on its own,” Stavridis said.

The US is going to have to expand its Navy and get more boats if it wants to keep pace with China’s forces, says retired US Navy Adm. James Stavridis.

“You don’t have to be a Nobel Prize-winning mathematician to realize the number of Chinese ships is going to continue to outpace us,” Stavridis, a former NATO commander, said in a Sunday radio interview on “The Cats Roundtable.”

In July, leaked US Navy intelligence said that China’s shipbuilding capacity is 232 times greater than the US.

China has the world’s largest navy, with over 355 vessels in its fleet, per a 2021 US Navy Institute report. The US has a smaller fleet of 296 ships, according to a 2021 report by the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

“We have a lot more experience, but quantity has a quality on its own,” Stavridis told radio host John Catsimatidis. “We need to build more warships. We need to think about a US Navy that approaches 350 ships.”

“We don’t want to be the world’s policemen, but we want to live in a safe neighborhood. And sometimes that means having very capable military forces,” Stavridis said. “We need a bigger Navy to do that.”

This isn’t the first time Stavridis has weighed in on the US and China’s naval capabilities, and how they stack up against each other. Stavridis said in an interview on “The Michael Medved Show” in December that China isn’t ready to take on the US.

“Even though China is building a massive fleet, even though they’re acting very aggressively, they’re not ready yet to line up all that they need to take on the US Pacific Fleet,” Stavridis said.

The former NATO supreme allied commander said the strength of US military alliances would blunt a Chinese offensive.

“If we ended up in a war with China, it wouldn’t be just the US and China. We have treaty allies who are sworn to come and be a part of a military campaign like that,” Stavridis said.

“That’s Japan, South Korea, the Philippines, Australia, New Zealand,” he continued. “So that’s a lot of firepower when you kind of put it all together.”

Representatives for Stavridis did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Business Insider sent outside regular business hours.

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