2017 Budget Request Boosts Navy Fleet
The Navy plans to buy seven battle ships in fiscal year 2017, as the service continues to grow its fleet in the face of increasing threats.
The move would increase the deployable battle force from 280 ships at the end of 2016 to 287 ships in 2017. Over the course of the future years defense plan, or FYDP, which covers fiscal years 2017 to 2021, the battle force would increase to 308 ships, according to the Navy’s fiscal year 2017 budget request, released on Feb. 9. During that period, the service plans to spend $97.3 billion on shipbuilding, procuring 38 battle force ships as well as 55 amphibious vessels and other platforms.
The Navy is asking for a total budget of $139.9 billion for 2017 including $7.9 billion for overseas contingency operations and $18.4 billion for shipbuilding procurement. The $132 billion base budget amount is $4.9 billion less than was appropriated for the service in fiscal year 2016. Much of that decrease is due to a decline in spending on aircraft procurement.
The Navy’s OCO funding would increase $200 million in 2017, from $9.3 billion in 2016 to $9.5 billion. Total funding for the department, which includes money for the Marine Corps, would be $8.2 billion less than the president’s fiscal year 2016 budget anticipated for 2017.
Over the next five years, the Navy plans base budget spending of $826.4 billion.
That would fund seven new-build ships in fiscal year 2017: two Virginia-class nuclear attack submarines; two Arleigh Burke class destroyers; two littoral combat ships; and one amphibious warfare assault ship.
Thirteen battle force ships are slated for delivery in 2017 including: two Virginia-class nuclear attack submarines; four littoral combat ships; two expeditionary fast transports; one amphibious transport dock; three Arleigh Burke-class destroyers; and one Zumwalt-class destroyer. Six ships are scheduled for retirement, and the long-term LCS program would be cut from 52 ships to 40.
Over the course of the FYDP, the shipbuilding construction program includes funding for: advanced procurement for the Ohio-class replacement ballistic missile submarine program; procurement of the lead ship in the Ohio-class replacement; detailed design and construction of the second Ford-class aircraft carrier, and advanced procurement for the third ; nine Virginia-class nuclear attack submarines; 10 Arleigh Burke-class destroyers; seven littoral combat ships/fast frigates; one amphibious warfare assault ship; one LX(R) amphibious ship; four fleet oilers; 42 ship-to-shore connectors; and 11 landing craft utility replacements.
For fiscal year 2017, $14.1 billion requested for aircraft procurement would buy: four F-35C joint strike fighters; two F/A-18E/F Super Hornets; six E-2D Advanced Hawkeyes; 11 P-8A Poseidons; and 11 unmanned aerial vehicles. Over the course of the FYDP, the Navy plans to procure 476 aircraft including: 64 F-35Cs; 16 F/A-18E/Fs; 23 E-2Ds; 30 P-8As; and 53 UAVs.
In fiscal year 2017, $3.2 billion would go toward weapons procurement, including Tomahawks, Standard Missile-6s and MK 48 torpedoes.
Active duty end strength would decline by 4,400 personnel, to 322,900, while Reserve end strength would increase by 600 to 58,000. Civilian manpower would increase by 1,800 to 181,600. Military basic pay and civilian pay would increase by 1.6 percent.
The fiscal year 2017 request includes: $42.1 billion for procurement; $40.4 billion for operations and maintenance; $17.3 billion for research, development, test and evaluation; and $29.9 billion for active duty and Reserve personnel.
The budget request makes a veiled reference to the threat posed by China to help justify spending.
“Today’s global security environment is characterized by the rising importance of the Indo-Asia-Pacific region, the ongoing development and fielding of anti-access/area denial capabilities that challenge our global maritime access … [and] the increasing frequency of maritime territorial disputes,” the document said.
The need for modernization was given special emphasis, as other powers enhance their military capabilities.
“The department has been challenged to build the capability for full-spectrum warfighting to deter high-end adversaries,” the Pentagon said. “This budget takes calculated risk in balancing today’s requirements and those required to counter 21st century threats, with gaps in training and maintenance that creates readiness risks in the event of a major contingency. The department prioritizes investments in modernization efforts to recapitalizes our forces.”