The leaked graphic depicts shipyards in China as being able to build new naval vessels at a rate that's 232 times greater than that of the United States. The ONI confirmed its authenticity to The Drive, which first published the slide.
This outsized capacity to support China's People's Liberation Army (PLA) Navy has caused some analysts to raise the alarm that the United States won't be able to close the gap for many years to come.
Retired Capt. James Fanell, a former director of intelligence and information operations for the U.S. Pacific Fleet, doesn't share the same level of pessimism, although he does acknowledge the challenges involved in rebuilding the United States' shipbuilding capacity.
He says closing the gap with the Chinese regime will require "a dramatic shift in the policy of unaccountable engagement that now characterizes the Biden administration."
"The challenges are also greater than just political will," Mr. Fanell told The Epoch Times. "There is an issue of America's shipbuilding industry that has gone into disrepair since WWII."
Despite a few political hurdles, "America is a nation of optimism and the can-do attitude that will be essential to any effort to close that gap," he said.