China, Russia, and Iran pose regional and strategic submarine threats and are building up undersea warfare capabilities as the Navy is cutting its submarine force by 30 percent, the admiral in charge of Pentagon submarine programs told Congress on Thursday.
Rear Adm. Richard Breckenridge, director of Navy undersea warfare programs, said the decline of U.S. submarines is placing a key U.S. military advantage at risk.
"Our adversaries are not standing still, and so even though we have an advantage and we have a lead, we can't sit on our lead," Breckenridge told a hearing of the House Armed Services seapower subcommittee.
"We have to continue to move or we do have the potential within 20 years of losing this crown jewel, this advantage that we have in the undersea domain," he said.
Breckenridge then outlined advances in the submarine warfare programs of China, Russia, and Iran.
China's submarine warfare power is advancing in both numbers of submarines and growing sophistication and missile capability.
Beijing's submarines currently are "predominantly a maritime, regional undersea force," he said.