Navy Secretary Pledges To Target “China Threat” As Tensions Boil

( President Joe Biden’s nominee for Navy secretary is already saying some strong words about China.

On Tuesday, Carlos Del Toro said if he were to be confirmed as the Biden administration’s head of the Navy, he’d be “exclusively” focused on the Communist Asian country.

During his confirmation hearing this week with the Senate Armed Services Committee, Del Toro was asked by Florida Republican Senator Rick Scott about war games that were suggesting the U.S. would have trouble defending Taiwan if China invaded. Del Toro responded:

“It’s incredibly important to defend Taiwan in every way possible. It takes a holistic view of our national commitment to Taiwan. We should be focused on providing Taiwan with as much self-defensive measures as humanely possible.

“And if confirmed to the Navy, I am going to be exclusively focused on the China threat and exclusively focused in moving our maritime strategy forward in order to protect Taiwan and all of our national security interests in the Indo-Pacific theater.”

Del Toro made sure to note he hasn’t been privy to any of these war games that are classified. However, he said he would “dive into that immediately so I can better understand the threat and what we need to do to match that threat.”

The nominee also said it was “absolutely” necessary for the U.S. to defeat a hypothetical takeover of Taiwan by the Chinese, and that the Navy should consider the possibility of China doing so to be a priority item.

China and the seas surrounding it are likely to be a huge area of focus for the Navy in the coming years. The challenge is that the Navy is being stretched thin at the moment.

The USS Ronald Reagan aircraft carrier, for example, was moved over to the Middle East as the U.S. military is withdrawing all troops from Afghanistan. That leaves the Pacific theater without a presence of a U.S.-based aircraft carrier.

Congress has demanded that the Navy up its fleet to 355 ships, but it hasn’t been able to do so yet. The fiscal year 2022 budget proposal put forth by the Biden administration wouldn’t allow that to happen, either.

For his part, Del Toro said he supported the goal of that many ships. He also said he has no knowledge of the 2022 budget since he’s not yet confirmed, but promised he would fight for Naval resources in the 2023 budget if he were confirmed.

Del Toro is a graduate of the Naval Academy. He was born in Cuba, and spent 22 years at the Navy. His experiences include being deployed during Operation Desert Storm to the Persian Gulf and being at the command of the USS Bulkeley destroyer.

For the last 17 years, Del Toro has headed up SBG Technology Solutions, an IT firm he founded. It’s based in Virginia and works as a contractor for the government.