Adm. Jonathan Greenert - The Navy has increased its force structure goal by two ships, saying it would like to have 308 ships in Fiscal Year (FY) 2020 instead of the 306 it stated last year.
The increase reflects the addition of a third Afloat Forward Staging Base and a 12th amphibious transport dock, Navy spokesman Capt. Danny Hernandez told USNI News. The Navy added the additional AFSB to its plans last year, and Congress pushed the LPD on the Navy over the past two budget cycles.
Navy acquisition chief Sean Stackley first cited the higher figure in testimony last week to the House Armed Services Seapower and Projection Forces Subcommittee, and Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Jonathan Greenert echoed that number in testimony to the Senate Appropriations Defense Subcommittee today.
Service officials confirmed that the Navy’s Force Structure Assessment, conducted in FY 2012 and revised in FY 2014, was being reviewed again – a standard practice as the Navy prepares its 30-year shipbuilding plan. The review is still working its way through Navy leadership, and therefore the 308-figure is not final yet. But it indicates the Navy is looking for opportunities to grow its fleet, rather than bring in new platforms to replace older ones. The FSA review should be finalized this spring, USNI News understands.
Due to a rule Congress passed last year rejecting the Navy’s inclusion of “patrol coastal ships, non-commissioned combatant craft specifically designed for combat roles, or ships that are designated for potential mobilization” in its Battle Force ship count, the Navy’s FY 2020 ship goal is 308 under its previous counting system and 304 under Congress’s preferred method.