The United States Navy released its Annual Navigation Plan highlighting its target key investments over the next five years on Monday.

Russia Plans Adequate Response To U.S. Navy Warship Expansion
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The plan supports the Navy’s missions and functions to maintain the leadership of the United States and its priorities for the 21st century defense. It supports three principles-Warfighting First, Operate Forward, and Be Ready.

In a statement, Admiral Jonathan Greenert, Chief of Naval Operations said, “This year’s navigation plan highlights our Navy’s key investments, which support missions and functions outlined in the defense strategic guidance (DSG. Our mandate is to be where it matters, when it matters, ready to respond to crises and ensure the security that underpins our global economy.”

Greenert emphasized in the navigation plan that the U.S. Navy must have the capability and capacity to conduct a war at sea and win decisively.

U.S. Navy’s priorities in its Annual Navigation Plan

The U.S. Navy has six priorities in its proposed budget this year including the following:

  • maintain a credible, modern, and survivable sea-based strategic deterrent
  • sustain forward presence, distributed globally that count
  • develop the capability and capacity to win decisively
  • focus on critical afloat and ashore readiness to ensure the Navy is adequately funded and ready
  • enhance the Navy’s asymmetric capabilities in the physical domains as well as in cyberspace and electromagnetic spectrum, and
  • sustain a relevant industrial base, particularly in shipbuilding

The U.S. Navy aims to maintain its edge in warfighting by expanding and modernizing its equipment and warships over the next four years. It requires funding to sustain its 14-ship nuclear ballistic missile submarine force (SSBN), the Trident D5 ballistic missile and support system, and the Nuclear Command, Control and communication systems.

The U.S. Navy also required funding to procure ten Virginia-class SSNs, nine Littoral Combat Ships (LCS, Fit 0+), and new Small Surface Combatants (FRIGATES) among others.

Russia threatened by U.S. Navy’s expansion

Colonel Oleg Pyshny, department head at the 4th Central Scientific Research Institute of the Defense Ministry of Russia estimated that the U.S. will convert as much as 49 warships by 2020 as part of Washington’s global missile shield program.

Pyshny also estimated that more than 200 interceptor missiles will be installed on board U.S. ships equipped with defense systems by 2020.

According to Pyshny, the expansion and modernization of the U.S. Navy pose certain threats to the maritime component of the Russia’s strategic nuclear forces.” He emphasized that “Russia will take an adequate response to offset these threats.”

Last month, President Vladimir Putin announced that Russia would increase its nuclear arsenal with more than 40 intercontinental ballistic missiles capable of penetrating all existing and even the most advanced missile defenses.

It was recently reported that Russia is developing large airships equipped with ballistic missile defense radars, and it would test new Sarmat heavy intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBM) within two years.

Russia has focused on its massive rearmament program and modernization of its defense industry. Putin promised to spend $400 billion to modernize Russia’s military by 2020.

A “powerful army equipped with modern weapons is the guarantor of sovereignty and territorial integrity of Russia,” said Putin during a speech at the Kremlin in June.

Political observers suggest that the Russian government is preparing as it perceives a threat of U.S. deployment in Eastern Europe.

Russia warns of explosive consequences amid US-led military drills

Yesterday, Russia warned of “explosive consequences” regarding the military exercises led by the United States in western Ukraine. The Russian Foreign Ministry said the exercises could upset the peace process with separatists in the eastern part of Ukraine.

“The military drills involving NATO members and Ukraine’s army that started in Lviv region under U.S. command are a clear demonstration of NATO’s provocative policy to unequivocally support the policies of current Kiev authorities in eastern Ukraine. These actions may threaten to disrupt the visible progress in the peace process concerning the deep internal crisis in Ukraine,” according to the Foreign Ministry of Russia.

The United States and other NATO members intensified their cooperation and increased military exercises in Europe after Russia’s annexation of Crimea. The NATO also accused Russia of supporting the separatists in Ukraine. The Russian government strongly denied the allegations.

The NATO is expanding its military presence in Eastern Europe and plans to install elements of missile shields in Romania and Poland.

“In response to Russia’s actions, we have increased our military presence in the eastern part of the alliance. This presence is rotational, defensive, proportional and in line with our international commitments,” according to NATO.

Russia criticized NATO’s actions and warned that Baltic States of Estonia, Lithuania and Latvia will become targets of future conflicts if they would agree to host missile shields.

Yevgeny Lukyanov, deputy secretary of the Russian Security Council, said, “[The Baltic states] better think about other things – the deployment of missile defense system elements that are targeting our strategic nuclear forces, that is where their problem is, as they become our targets.”