Twitter Facebook Google RSS
Budget Matters 

Analysts: More Money Needed to Boost Navy Fleet 


By Jon Harper 

As the Navy considers whether to increase its force structure requirements, analysts said the service would need billions of dollars in additional funding each year to grow and maintain a fleet sufficient to deal with potential threats.

The Navy’s latest assessment calls for a fleet of 308 ships. But the sea service is undertaking a new review to see if that force level would be enough in a different strategic landscape.

“We’re on track to meet that number of 308 ships,” Adm. John Richardson, the chief of naval operations, said at a conference in February after the fiscal year 2017 budget request was released. “But even that assessment is a little bit old. The last time we did that … we really didn’t have to account for a resurgent Russia. We really didn’t have to account for [the Islamic State]. And so we’re starting again.”

The force structure assessment is expected to be completed this summer.

“Some observers believe this new [assessment] will result in an increase in the Navy’s force-level goal to a figure higher than 308 ships, in part because it will call for an increased Navy forward-deployed presence in the Mediterranean, a region that was deemphasized … during the post-Cold War era,” naval specialist Ronald O’Rourke said in a recent Congressional Research Service report.

Beefing up the fleet to deal with an increasingly assertive China and Russia would require a big boost in the shipbuilding budget, analysts noted.

“The Navy said they needed 308 ships, which is going to require $3 billion or $4 billion more per year [over the next 15 years] than they’re receiving today,” said Bryan Clark, a senior fellow at the Center for Strategic and Budget Assessments, and a retired Navy officer.

“If you add on these additional requirements from the new great power challenges … that [ship level] requirement is likely to go even higher, which means even more money is necessary if you want to maintain the fleet size that is going to produce sustainable deployments,” he said during a recent conference call with reporters.

Retired Navy officer Bryan McGrath, deputy director of the Hudson Institute Center for American Seapower, said the service needs about 350 ships to project power in the Asia-Pacific, Europe and Middle East, and fulfill maintenance needs for vessels that aren’t on deployment.
Despite budget constraints, McGrath believes the Navy can get the funding it needs if future administrations push for it.

“The dirty little secret is that the Congress of the United States gives the Navy year in and year out virtually every penny that it asks for,” he said. The problem is that administrations, as they try to do their job of balancing all of the other requirements, they hamstring” the Navy.

Photo: Navy
Reader Comments

Re: Analysts: More Money Needed to Boost Navy Fleet

The US spent as much on it's military as the sum of what rest of the world's nations spend on theirs in 2001 --- and the budget has more than doubled since then. That budget gives Navy's leaders the real life equivalent of Scrooge's Money Bin to work with, so if they can't squeeze 308 warships out of that, they need to find a new job outside the US government.

After all, the US Navy had more than 400 warships in service in 180 with only a fraction of that defense spending!

Blacktail on 06/20/2016 at 01:54

Submit Your Reader's Comment Below
The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.
Please enter the text displayed in the image.
The picture contains 6 characters.
*Legal Notice

NDIA is not responsible for screening, policing, editing, or monitoring your or another user's postings and encourages all of its users to use reasonable discretion and caution in evaluating or reviewing any posting. Moreover, and except as provided below with respect to NDIA's right and ability to delete or remove a posting (or any part thereof), NDIA does not endorse, oppose, or edit any opinion or information provided by you or another user and does not make any representation with respect to, nor does it endorse the accuracy, completeness, timeliness, or reliability of any advice, opinion, statement, or other material displayed, uploaded, or distributed by you or any other user. Nevertheless, NDIA reserves the right to delete or take other action with respect to postings (or parts thereof) that NDIA believes in good faith violate this Legal Notice and/or are potentially harmful or unlawful. If you violate this Legal Notice, NDIA may, in its sole discretion, delete the unacceptable content from your posting, remove or delete the posting in its entirety, issue you a warning, and/or terminate your use of the NDIA site. Moreover, it is a policy of NDIA to take appropriate actions under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act and other applicable intellectual property laws. If you become aware of postings that violate these rules regarding acceptable behavior or content, you may contact NDIA at 703.522.1820.

  Bookmark and Share