The Royal Navy today is a shrinking shadow of its former self. Nineteen surface ships currently exist in the entire Royal Navy where more than three times that number made up the surface fleet during the Falklands War of 1982. The U.S. fleet has also experienced large decreases, although not on the same scale. Where the U.S. Navy had almost 600 ships in the mid-1980s, it is down to 284 today with the likelihood of additional large reductions in the future even if sequestration is lifted.
Admiral Christopher Parry, Royal Navy (ret.), was the keynote speaker at a November 11, 2013 Hudson conference on the implications of ongoing American and British naval retrenchment for both transatlantic powers—and for NATA and the west generally. Parry devoted particular attention to the simultaneous rise of China as an Asian seapower, and to the meaning of this development where Western naval strategy and the current international security order are concerned. Following his remarks, Admiral Parry joined resident Hudson scholars and other distinguished expert guests for an extended panel discussion.
This November 11 conference was the inaugural event of Hudson Institute’s new Center for American Seapower. Consistent with Hudson’s decades-long commitment to independent analysis of emerging and future security issues, the Center will examine the size, shape, and character of American sea power—along with associated, broader questions of U.S. and Western maritime strategy in an era of shrinking NATA defense budgets; growing challenges from non-Western seapower aspirants; and looming threats of non-traditional, asymmetric naval warfare.