U.S. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, writing in our Sunday News this week, underlines the concern all Americans should have over our state of defense readiness.

In this particular case, Shaheen points to the very real negative effects that would happen at the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard if President Trump succeeds in using dedicated defense funds for his border measures.

The border problems are real and serious. But between Trump’s “there’s no more room” mantra and liberals’ interest in handing out drivers’ licenses to illegals, there is room for meaningful action.

That need not come by jeopardizing our long-range defense preparedness, of which the Portsmouth shipyard is a key component.

The Chinese, as Sen. Shaheen points, out, are on course to have 70 submarines in service by the end of this year.

Meanwhile, the U.S. Navy’s sub fleet is going backward.

That is why the planned and budgeted shipyard improvements are so important. U.S. dry docks have an average age of over 60 years. The new funding at Portsmouth would address this with a new dry dock flood basin, and consolidation under one roof of other key facilities.

Painting, blasting, and rubber work don’t sound very exciting, but if the shipyard can’t get up to speed in servicing our subs, Americans will wake up one day to Russia and/or China dictating terms to us. We can only hope someone who has Trump’s ear can get that point across.