Wicker Secures Commitment to 355-Ship Fleet, Taiwan from Top Pentagon Nominee

October 19, 2021

WASHINGTON - U.S. Senator Roger Wicker, R-Miss., today attended a hearing of the Senate Armed Services Committee that featured testimony from Sasha Baker, President Biden’s nominee for Deputy Undersecretary for Policy at the Department of Defense. In an exchange with Baker, Wicker secured key commitments, including her intent to pursue a 355-ship Navy fleet and a statement of support for the sovereignty of Taiwan.

In his remarks to the committee, Wicker cited Baker’s testimony that China was the pacing challenge for the U.S. Navy and that the size of the Chinese navy had recently eclipsed the U.S. Navy as the world’s largest fleet.

In response to Wicker’s comments, Baker committed to supporting the national requirement for a 355-ship fleet.

“I am concerned about the emphasis that China has put on building its fleet. I think that China has pursued a strategy of seeking to thwart U.S. advantages across the board,” Baker said. “If I'm confirmed, I will support the plan of record.”

Baker agreed with Wicker that the people of Taiwan had the right to self-determination and that preventing an invasion of Taiwan is in the national security interest of the United States. She also affirmed that this interest is bipartisan and longstanding and will be something she would champion if confirmed.

“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 noted.

The nominee also agreed that the best way to prevent an invasion would be by fielding an adequate Navy in the Pacific Rim and assisting Taiwan in its self-defense.

To see the full exchange, click here.