During a recent Senate Armed Services Committee hearing, President Joe Biden’s nominee for Deputy Undersecretary for Policy at the Department of Defense, Sasha Baker, affirmed a U.S. Sen. Roger Wicker’s (R-MS) naval fleet requirement advocacy.
A hearing exchange resulted in Baker expressing intent to pursue a 355-ship Navy fleet while also offering a statement of support for Taiwan’s sovereignty.
Wicker cited Baker’s testimony detailing China served as a pacing challenge for the U.S. Navy, officials said, and the size of China’s navy had surpassed the U.S. Navy as the world’s largest fleet.
“I am concerned about the emphasis that China has put on building its fleet,” Baker said in response to Wicker’s comments during the session. “I think that China has pursued a strategy of seeking to thwart U.S. advantages across the board. If I’m confirmed, I will support the plan of record.”
Baker and Wicker also agreed Taiwan had the right to self-determination and the prevention of an invasion of Taiwan is in the national security interest of the United States.
“I would just say that our commitment to supporting Taiwan’s self-defense is long-standing, it’s bipartisan, and it’s something that I’m prepared to support moving forward,” Baker said.