The time for building ships is when your nation is at peace. Once the shooting starts, it may be too late and playing catch-up is hard. So it is disturbing that, as Christopher Bodeen of the AP reports:

China's navy commissioned 17 new warships last year, the most of any nation. In a little more than a decade, it's expected to have three aircraft carriers, giving it more clout than ever in a region of contested seas and festering territorial disputes.

It will be a long time before China, or any other nation, can match the U.S. Navy.

Still, as Doug Cameron of the Wall Street Journal reports, while China builds:

The U.S. Navy may take a year to decide on the fate of the USS George Washington in a move that could reduce its aircraft carrier fleet to 10, a senior executive at its largest shipbuilder said Tuesday. Pentagon spending constraints could force the Navy to retire the USS George Washington rather than its preferred plan to start refueling the ship in 2016 and extend its life for another 25 years.

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