Navy Force Structure and Shipbuilding Plans

The Trump Administration has identified the achievement of a Navy of 355 or more ships within 10 years as a high priority. The Navy states that it is working as well as it can, within a Navy budget top line that is essentially flat in real (i.e., inflation-adjusted terms), toward achieving that goal while also adequately funding other Navy priorities, such as restoring eroded ship readiness and improving fleet lethality. Navy officials state that while the355-ship goal is a priority, they want to avoid creating a so-called hollow force, meaning a Navy that has an adequate number of ships but is unable to properly crew, arm, operate, and maintain those ships. The Navy states that its proposed FY2021 budget requests the procurement of eight new ships, but this figure includes LPD-31, an LPD-17 Flight II amphibious ship that Congress procured(i.e., authorized and appropriated procurement funding for) in FY2020. Excluding this ship, the Navy’s proposed FY2021 budget requests the procurement of seven new ships rather than eight. A figure of 7 new ships is less than the 11 that the Navy requested for FY2020 (a figure that excludes CVN-81, an aircraft carrier that Congress authorized in FY2019) or the 13 that Congress procured in FY2020 (a figure that again excludes CVN-81, but includes the above-mentionedLPD-31 as well as an LHA amphibious assault ship that Congress also procured in FY2020). The figure of 7 new ships is also less than the 10 ships that the Navy projected under its FY2020budget submission that it would request for FY2021, and less than the average ship procurement rate that would be needed over the long run, given current ship service lives, to achieve and maintain a 355-ship fleet. Purchase this Volume