Home » Budget Industry » Navy Wants to Grow Fleet to 355 Ships; 47 Hull Increase Adds Destroyers, Attack Subs


Navy Wants to Grow Fleet to 355 Ships; 47 Hull Increase Adds Destroyers, Attack Subs

USS Dewey (DDG-105), USS Wayne E. Meyer (DDG-108), USS Carl Vinson (CVN-70), USS OÕKane (DDG-77) and USS Sterett (DDG-104) participate in a show of force transit training exercise on Nov. 4, 2016. US Navy Photo

USS Dewey (DDG-105), USS Wayne E. Meyer (DDG-108), USS Carl Vinson (CVN-70), USS OÕKane (DDG-77) and USS Sterett (DDG-104) participate in a show of force transit training exercise on Nov. 4, 2016. US Navy Photo

The Navy released a new fleet plan that calls for 355 ships, outlining a massive increase in the size of its high-end large surface combatant and attack submarine fleets but a modest increase in its planned amphibious ship fleet, according to a Dec. 14 summary of the assessment.

The findings of the latest Force Structure Assessment adds 47 ships to the Navy’s battle force over the 308-ship figure from a 2014 FSA.

According to the summary, the service determined the 355 total was the “minimum force structure to comply with [Pentagon] strategic guidance” and was not “the “desired” force size the Navy would pursue if resources were not a constraint, read the summary.

“Rather, this is the level that balances an acceptable level of warfighting risk to our equipment and personnel against available resources and achieves a force size that can reasonably achieve success,” according to the summary, which notes it would take a 653-ship force to meet all global requirements with minimal risk.

The largest change to the 2014 totals are in the high-end ships classes of attack submarines, large surface combatants – like guided-missile cruisers and destroyers – and aircraft carriers. The new total adds 16 large surface combatants, 18 attack submarines and an additional carrier over the 2014 plan.

Since the roll out of the 2014 plan, both Russia and China have adopted a more expansionist stance and accelerated developments of high-end weapons systems – including supersonic anti-ship missiles and more sophisticated anti-submarine warfare platforms and networks. Service officials expressed increased concerns over the last two years and have told USNI News the force from the 2014 FSA would be insufficient to handle the developing threats.

There are also political implications for the new number and the timing of the release. The new total comes as Navy Secretary Ray Mabus and Defense Secretary Ash Carter have engaged in a public spat over the direction of the Navy’s shipbuilding program, and as the Trump administration prepares to take office and potentially begin moving towards its stated goal of building a 350-ship Navy.

Large Surface Combatants

The guided-missile destroyers USS Sterett (DDG-104), USS Dewey (DDG-105), USS Wayne E. Meyer (DDG 108), USS Michael Murphy (DDG-112), and USS O' Kane (DDG-77) transit the Pacific Ocean on Oct. 25, 2016. US Navy Photo

The guided-missile destroyers USS Sterett (DDG-104), USS Dewey (DDG-105), USS Wayne E. Meyer (DDG 108), USS Michael Murphy (DDG-112), and USS O’ Kane (DDG-77) transit the Pacific Ocean on Oct. 25, 2016. US Navy Photo

The uptick in large guided-missile ships are to “deliver increased air defense and expeditionary [ballistic missile defense] capacity and provide escorts for the additional aircraft carrier,” reads the summary.

Last year, USNI News reported the surface Navy was increasingly concerned with the speed and sophistication of new anti-ship guided missiles emerging from China. Officials worried the service’s assumption of 88 large surface combatants was too low.

That total was based on filling a carrier strike group with five guided-missile combatants to perform anti-submarine warfare (ASW), protect the ship from surface and air threats and protect the CSG from ballistic missiles.

However, ongoing studies and wargaming conducted by the Navy’s surface warfare establishment concluded the number of ships to keep carrier safe should potentially be increased to seven or eight due to how rapidly the Chinese have increased their high-end capability.

What’s unclear from the summary is how the Navy will organize the large surface combatant total.

The Navy has struggled with finding both the money and time to modernize the Aegis Combat Systems in its legacy Arleigh Burke-class destroyers to configurations that can simultaneously fight traditional air warfare threats like cruise missiles and fighters as well as ballistic missile threats.

Additionally, it remains to be seen if the service will revise its cruiser modernization plan that sidelines some number of the ships, if the service will accelerate a new cruiser replacement program, and if it will accelerate production of the existing class of Arleigh Burke guided-missile destroyers from the current two-a-year pace split between General Dynamics’ Bath Iron Works and Huntington Ingalls’ Ingalls Shipbuilding.

Submarines

Los Angeles-class submarine USS Hartford (SSN-768), surfaces near Ice Camp Sargo during Ice Exercise (ICEX) 2016 on March 15, 2016. US Navy photo.

Los Angeles-class submarine USS Hartford (SSN-768), surfaces near Ice Camp Sargo during Ice Exercise (ICEX) 2016 on March 15, 2016. US Navy photo.

The Navy now intends to build to a force of 66 attack submarines, up from about 50 SSNs today and stated requirement for 48, to “provide the global presence required to support national tasking and prompt warfighting response.”

A large increase in the attack submarine requirement was expected. Over the past year, the U.S. Pacific Command and U.S. European Command commanders have told Congress that they are only receiving about 60 percent of the SSN presence they request, in a time when Chinese and Russian submarine activity is increasing and anti-ship missile threats are both growing more sophisticated and proliferating. Attack subs may be the best naval tool for early battlefield shaping efforts, were the U.S. Navy to enter into a conflict, and the Navy has plans to make the current Virginia-class attack subs more lethal and stealthier through planned block upgrades.

Based on the combatant commanders’ testimony, it would take a fleet of at least 80 SSNs to fill all their requests, which would be unfeasible for the submarine shipbuilding industry – which consists of two yards, General Dynamics’ Electric Boat and Huntington Ingalls’ Newport News Shipbuilding – given the start of construction activities for the new Columbia-class ballistic missile submarine replacement program.

Though 66 would not give the combatant commanders everything they want –the Navy acknowledges in the FSA’s executive summary that the service will never be able to build enough to give the combatant commanders’ their full requests – it would go a long way in giving the Navy more options for realistic high-end training with live submarines ahead of carrier strike group deployments, mid-deployment training opportunities at sea and increased presence to counter increased Russian and Chinese presence.

The Navy’s new FSA does not make any changes to the service’s requirement for nuclear weapon-carrying ballistic missile submarines. The Navy has 14 Ohio-class SSBNs today and intends to replace them with 12 Columbia-class boats that can provide the same level of presence.

Aircraft Carriers

USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74) and guided-missile destroyer USS Stockdale (DDG 106) transit the Pacific Ocean in late 2015. US Navy Photo

USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74) and guided-missile destroyer USS Stockdale (DDG 106) transit the Pacific Ocean in late 2015. US Navy Photo

The new plan calls for adding one additional aircraft carrier to the Navy’s force structure, bringing the service total to 12.

A carrier strike group is among the most in demand assets from the U.S. combatant commanders for its imposing conventional deterrent and its ability for the U.S. to conduct strike operations almost anywhere in the world. The Navy today has 10 and will have 11 when the first-in-class Gerald R. Ford joins the fleet next year, though it will not begin overseas deployments until it finishes a couple years of post-delivery tests, shock trials and maintenance work.

The Navy’s 10-carrier fleet has struggled to balance maintenance needs and combatant commander demand. The Navy tried to move to a supply-based deployment model with its Optimized Fleet Response Plan but has still seen carrier deployments extended to avoid gaps in carrier presence in the Middle East and the Pacific. As a result, presence has varied wildly in the last couple years: over the summer the Navy had two carriers in the Mediterranean and two operating together in the Philippine Sea, and yet today only one carrier is in the Mediterranean and none underway in the Pacific.

An additional carrier could provide additional overseas presence, but it could also provide a buffer to ease pressure on the force, allowing ships sufficient time for maintenance and training.

Only one shipyard, Newport News Shipbuilding, builds aircraft carriers. The yard currently builds the carriers in five-year centers, though the shipyard and its supporting vendor base have argued it would be more efficient to deliver a carrier once every four years. For the Navy to increase its carrier fleet size, it would have to build the ships faster than they are set to decommission, and moving to four-year centers is the most likely way to do that.

Amphibs

A Landing Craft Air Cushion (LCAC) transits to amphibious assault ship USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD-6) on Aug. 18, 2016. US Navy Photo

A Landing Craft Air Cushion (LCAC) transits to amphibious assault ship USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD-6) on Aug. 18, 2016. US Navy Photo

The new FSA calls for 38 amphibious ships, which is up from today’s requirement of 34 and today’s actual fleet of 31 ships, but not nearly as large an increase as many in the Navy and Marine Corps had hoped for.

The Navy and Marine Corps agreed several years ago that it would take 38 amphibious ships – and a particular balance of fixed-wing capable amphibious assault ships (LHDs and LHAs), sophisticated San Antonio-class amphibious transport docks (LPDs) and workhorse dock landing ships (LSDs) – to support a two-Marine Expeditionary Brigade forcible entry operation. They also agreed that despite the need for a two-MEB force, they could not afford 38 ships in the current budget environment, so they would aim for 34 as a budget-constrained figure.

Requirements for Marine Corps presence around the world has only increased since that agreement. The service has sent out land-based Special Purpose Marine Air-Ground Task Forces (SP-MAGTFs) to provide presence in Africa, the Middle East and South America. Without ships, though, these forces rely on their MV-22 Ospreys and KC-130J Super Hercules aircraft to move around – and importantly, they rely on the permission of other nations for basing and other support, rather than being self-supported from a U.S. warship at sea.

In addition to the SP-MAGTFs, the 3rd Marine Division in the Pacific is located forward in Japan but does not have any ships it can access regularly to for training, partnership-building with local Pacific partners or to respond to a contingency.

In total, the Marine Corps has said it would need upwards of 50 amphibious ships to provide the presence around the world it provides today but with proper amphib ship support.

Small Surface Combatants

An MH-60R Sea Hawk helicopter and an MQ-8B Fire Scout unmanned aerial vehicle conduct coordinated flight operations with the littoral combat ship USS Freedom (LCS-1) in the Southern California operating area on April 30, 2015. US Navy photo.

An MH-60R Sea Hawk helicopter and an MQ-8B Fire Scout unmanned aerial vehicle conduct coordinated flight operations with the littoral combat ship USS Freedom (LCS-1) in the Southern California operating area on April 30, 2015. US Navy photo.

The new total also restores the Navy’s old 2012 requirement of 52 smaller surface combatants, which will include the Littoral Combat Ship and frigate programs.

Last year – on Dec. 14, 2015 – Carter ordered the Navy to trim the LCS and frigate program to 40 ships from 52 and route the money into higher-end weapon systems.

Carter issued a terse directive that chided Mabus’ shipbuilding priorities and accused the department of promoting shipbuilding “at the expense of critically-needed investments in areas where our adversaries aren’t standing still… this has resulted in unacceptable reductions to the weapons, aircraft and other advanced capabilities that are necessary to defeat and deter advanced adversaries.”

Uniformed officials have continued to say at events and in congressional testimony that, though Carter may have curtailed the small surface combatant program at 40, the warfighting requirement remained at 52.

Littoral Combat Ship USS Jackson (LCS-6). Austal USA Photo

Littoral Combat Ship USS Jackson (LCS-6). Austal USA Photo

Since the 2015 memo, the LCS program has come under sustained scrutiny from Congress, and the both the Lockheed Martin Freedom-class and the Austal USA Independence-class variants have suffered high-profile engineering failures.

In September, the Navy rolled out a new plan that restructured the deployment of both classes of LCS, but given the continued criticism of the program it’s unclear what further changes may need to be made.

Also unclear, based on the restored 52-ship requirement, is whether the Navy will transition to the frigate with both or just one LCS hull design. The service originally intended to make frigate upgrades to both the Freedom-variant and Independence-variant designs, adding survivability and lethality and permanently installing both surface warfare and anti-ship warfare equipment rather than using interchangeable mission packages. Carter’s memo last year not only directed the Navy to stop at 40 LCSs and frigates but also instructed the service to downselect to a single vendor for the frigates. The Program Executive Office for LCS told USNI News recently that it crafted its latest request for proposals in a flexible way that would allow the office to buy a range of numbers of LCSs or frigates from either or both yards, depending on what the next administration directs it to do.

Auxiliaries

USNS Lewis B. Puller (T-ESB-3). Military Sealift Command Photo

USNS Lewis B. Puller (T-ESB-3). Military Sealift Command Photo

The FSA calls for the Navy growing its Combat Logistics Force by three ships, its Expeditionary Support Base (formerly called the Afloat Forward Staging Base) by three and its command and support ships by two.

The executive summary notes the combat logistics ships are needed to support an additional aircraft carrier and the larger fleet of large surface combatants, which require refueling and resupplying at sea. The increase in command and support ships reflects two additional surveillance ships.

The doubling of the ESB fleet comes as only one has joined the fleet but Commandant of the Marine Corps Gen. Robert Neller has said the combatant commanders are already clamoring for more. The Navy converted an LPD set for decommissioning into an interim AFSB in 2012 to support mine countermeasures operations in the Persian Gulf. The resounding success of that deployment led the Navy to convert its Expeditionary Transfer Dock (formerly called the Mobile Landing Dock) design into an ESB that could support mine countermeasures operations, special operations forces and even Marine SP-MAGTF operations.

The guided-missile cruiser USS Vicksburg (CG-69) conducts a replenishment-at-sea with the Military Sealift Command fleet replenishment oiler USNS Kanawha (TAO-196). US Navy Photo

The guided-missile cruiser USS Vicksburg (CG-69) conducts a replenishment-at-sea with the Military Sealift Command fleet replenishment oiler USNS Kanawha (TAO-196). US Navy Photo

Neller said in February that the first ESB, USNS Lewis B. “Chesty” Puller (T-ESB-3), would deploy to the Middle East but that he wanted a ship like that in the Mediterranean Sea to support the Europe-based SP-MAGTF crisis response force that covers Africa.

“I would like very much for that ship to be based in the Med. Right now that’s not the plan, but we’re going to continue to work on that,” he said at a Brookings Institution event.
“The COCOMs, both AFRICOM and EUCOM, have written a letter saying hey we’d like to have this capability in the Med to service West Africa and the Med because there’s stuff going on there that we need to be able to move around. You don’t want to be tied to a land base.”

The 3rd Marine Division in the Pacific has also expressed interest in an ESB if it couldn’t get access to amphibious warships, as an alternate means of being able to move its force around the Pacific. Adding three additional ESBs to the plan could help fill these requests for ESBs in the Pacific, Mediterranean and Gulf of Guinea areas.

The Politics

Secretary of Defense Ashton B. Carter and Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus tour USS Makin Island (LHD-8) on Sept. 27, 2012. DoD Photo

Secretary of Defense Ashton B. Carter and Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus tour USS Makin Island (LHD-8) on Sept. 27, 2012. DoD Photo

The release of the new set of shipbuilding goals comes as Mabus and Carter are locked in a public fight over shipbuilding priorities.

Earlier this month, the Navy submitted its proposed Fiscal Year 2018 budget that included $17 billion in additional spending in open defiance of guidance from Carter, as first reported by Defense News That money would buy surface ships Carter ordered trimmed as well as additional submarine, Defense News reported.

In a memo, Mabus chided Carter’s direction.

“The instruction your office conveyed directed cuts that would reduce the Navy’s and Marine Corps’ essential role as a forward-deployed and forward-stationed force to a fleet confined to home ports with infrequent overseas deployments,” Mabus wrote in the memo.
“In order to build some types of ships, I will not cut other ships, regardless of their function in the fleet. That is not how you maintain a Navy, one of our nation’s most precious assets.”

The timing of this FSA is unusual, since it typically follows the submission of the entire defense department budget to Congress every few years.

The release, almost two months ahead of the full budget release to Congress – and several months after the planned Summer 2016 rollout – is thought to be a move from Mabus to cement his shipbuilding legacy over Carter’s objections. It could also support the incoming Trump administration that has called for a battle force total of more than 350 ships.

“My budget submission will be the bridge to future budgets that reflects a new Force Structure Assessment and builds the Navy and Marine Corps the nation needs to maintain American influence, assure allies and partners and protect critical pathways of trade and commerce,” Mabus wrote in the December memo.
“If you ultimately decide to submit a budget that takes away the ability of the Navy and Marine Corps to do their job, it will not have my support, and I will make my objections widely known.”

  • another_engineer

    Where is the 125 Billion dollars missing that the military quietly disregarded ?

    I did military work for 10 years as a contractor, the waste and fraud was amazing

    • hiram floss

      well, based on what Trump has already done with Boeing I’d say those days are (mostly) OVER. YESSS! Trump!!!!

    • 35Whelan

      And the several trillion that the Pentagon had go missing, just as Nine-Eleven destroyed the offices responsible for investigating the loss? Curious coincidence, no?

  • epm54338

    Bring back the battleships!

    • Mardasee .

      Battleships are obsolete.

  • 338Lapua

    Carter chided Maybus for wasting money on ships, when it should have been spent on transgender bathrooms.

    • NavySubNuke

      Don’t give Mabus too much credit – he would be just as happy to spend the money on transgender bathrooms. There is a reason this plan didn’t emerge until after the election. It is his last gasp at claiming he was an effective SECNAV even though he really wasted most of the last 8 years on social engineering issues like removing “man” from ratings titles since you wouldn’t want a woMAN, a member of the huMAN, race to have a job description that includes the offensive ending of “-man”….

    • This year’s defense budget is a farce. John McCain took $8.4M from the military’s Tricare funding and moved it over to funding for transgenders. On the plus side, the military psychiatrists in following the DSM IV as been discharging the transgenders because the hormones they want shot uo with causes major depression and grounds for military discharges.

  • patriotsunitedin2016

    My biggest question here is, why are we telling our enemies exactly what we are going to do? I do not see similar reports of troop or ship strength from China or Russia. I think this kind of information should be discussed in budget and military circles behind closed doors. Maybe we should just tell them where all of our planes and missiles are too, oh yeah and how many.

    • Bruce Becker

      It doesn’t really matter, They would know it anyway. Just like we know theirs. Satellites.

    • Kimona

      Pfft they would know this stuff anyway, its not secret.

    • acceptreality

      How do you hide the construction of an aircraft carrier?

      • CMDPrompt✓ˢᵘᵖᵉʳᵐᵃⁿ

        In a really big Tuff-Shed?

    • NavySubNuke

      Actually Russia broadcasts their ship building just as loudly. China is a little, but not much, quieter. It is pretty hard to hide something as big as a major ship building effort since the money is allocated years in advance of the completion of the ship, the ship yards themselves are public and easily seen from public roadways and they are built by thousands of workers many of whom don’t actually have security clearances.

  • Nothing personally against the military – especially the young boys politicians send out to die for naught. This is a total waste of tax payer dollars so you guys can continue to play your games while we roll over pot holes due to money missing at the Pentagon. What a waste of my money!

    • PeteD

      You mean the young boys that volunteer? This is not a waste of money by any means.

    • Horn

      Military spending eventually leads to conflict. Isolationism leads to global wars and atrocities.

    • NavySubNuke

      Don’t be such a sexist – there are plenty of young women proudly volunteering to serve in the military as well.
      And spending money on the Navy is never wasted – for one thing it provides thousands of high paying technical jobs at the nations shipyards both during construction and throughout the life of the ship as they are maintained.
      For another thing a strong Navy ensures the free flow of global commerce by providing for the safe navigation of goods from one end of the planet to the other.
      There are plenty of arguments to be made about reducing the US level of engagement and involvement throughout the world but reducing the size and scale of the Navy’s involvement isn’t a rational part of that discussion.

  • Michael Hare, MCPO, Retired

    While the goal to increase the size of the fleet may be admirable, the Navy no longer has the manpower to crew those ships or the infrastructure to maintain and support them. Additionally, Congress has no desire to provide the increased funding to build such a fleet!

    • Bruce Becker

      I think they will now as we have a POTUS soldiers would be willing to work for.

  • Bruce Becker

    It’s about time

  • Kimona

    Before you foaming at the mouth leftists start whining war monger, “Freedom is never Free” A strong offense is the best defense. Why am I saying this? The leftist commie loving tards have no common sense and will never understand these basic concepts. Instead they would rather give our sovereignty away and allow an invasion of illegals to take over.

    • PolicyWonk

      It isn’t the leftists that are proclaiming their love for Vladimir Putin and Russia. That’s the hallmark of what passes itself off as today’s GOP.

      Reagan, and even Jimmy Carter never would’ve considered doing any such thing.

      Yet this is what we have today.

  • Dan

    Why in god’s name would we need more ships? This is outrageous!

    • Jack Coyote

      A dangerous and unpredictable world. More ships means the less likely we’ll need to actually use them in combat. Capiche?

    • Temp Fourthirty

      To kill more enemy faster.

    • Glen Dorn

      No.

      Your hero, Hillary Clinton, is outrageous.

  • Jack Coyote

    It’s a positive sign and a good start, but we should be well over 400 ships. Including ships that are lightning fast and can perform close in maneuvers to protect ports and larger, more vulnerable ships.

    • Cali son bound for Idaho

      It would be nice if some of the newly commissioned ships could actually perform their sea trials without breaking down….I think Lockheed and other defense contractors need to be held accountable for some of these engineering failures….Really we can’t build a new ship capable of voyages from the eastern seaboard to the west coast? WTF is going on here?

    • JOHN T. FOX

      PT BOATS.

  • suzy_que

    PEACE THROUGH STRENGTH! Happy Days are here again! NO PAY TO PLAY! It is so good to think that 0bama’s idiot presidency is finally coming to a close!

  • Mardasee .

    Missiles I believe will eventually make war ships obsolete.

    • Horn

      I heard the same thing about missiles versus guns in fighter aircraft.

  • Charles

    Three questions:
    1. Why are we so unwilling to include much cheaper yet still capable diesel electric subs in our fleet mix, like virtually every other seafaring nation?
    2. Where does the overpriced and underperforming DDX program fit into this mix?
    3. Are we still spending money on the mission flexible modules for the LCS program, or are we just going to build frigates.
    We can afford a lot more ships if we don’t waste money.

    • Horn

      On DE subs:
      A) We don’t have the global support structure for a DE fleet.
      B) Those other seafaring nations you refer to use those subs for coastal defense only. Look at Russia, China, France, UK, & India. Six of the top 8 navies in the world have nuclear submarines, because you can’t have an effective blue water navy with DEs. Their range, endurance, capabilities, and payload capacity just aren’t up to snuff for global deployments.
      C) We haven’t built a DE sub in over 60 years. What makes you think we’d be able to make a cheap one?

      On the LCS, they are just going to frigates now. They will complete the current LCS orders until they begin construction on the frigate variant, then they will retrofit existing LCS hulls with permanent mission packages. Some will be MCM, ASW, ASuW, or combinations of the three.

      On the DDG, it seems more and more likely that the DDG will act as testbeds for new technologies until they can be properly integrated into the fleet. Modernization of existing cruisers will be done to fill the capability gap the DDG’s derivative (CX) was supposed to replace. Hopefully they will have a new AEGIS cruiser design in the next decade.

    • NavySubNuke

      On 1) Primarily because diesel aren’t actually cheaper and still capable – you have to choose one or the other. To get the same performance out of a diesel submarine fleet that you get out of a nuclear fleet you need to buy 4 – 6 diesel boats per nuclear boat you replace because of the limited range, speed, and capacity of individual diesel submarines. Once you factor in the costs of maintaining the additional submarines, paying the extra crews (even though the crew of each boat is smaller you come out with about 2 – 3 times more total sailors to man your equivalent diesel fleet), and buy the extra diesel submarines you quickly end up spending more money.
      2) DDG-1000 I believe you mean. She and her two sisters fit in to the high end large surface combatant mix. Just as the SSN-21 and SSN-21 (remember SSN-23 is special) fit a niche role in the submarine fleet the DDG-1000s will serve as a test bed for new technologies and also provide a high end punch the other large surface combatants lack. Look for most of their deployments to be in the vicinity of Japan and Taiwan as an added deterrent to China — particularly if the Navy ever gets the rail gun figured out.
      3) Still wasting far too much money on the little crappy ships unfortunately. The surface warfare package is “done” but under performs. The anti-sub and anti-mine packages are still in the works and “should” be out by 2020 (don’t be even a $1 on that though!). The frigates won’t have the packages either way though. What the frigate will actually be largely remains to be seen – there is still time and hope that SECNAV Forbes (or at least rumored SECNAV Forbes) will be able to make something of this disaster – though not much hope or time unfortunately.

  • BelieveInAmerica

    Good, now send them over and sink China’s artifical island.

  • Temp Fourthirty

    Too modest of an increase considering China’s expansion. Going back to 15 aircraft carrier battle groups would seem prudent.

    And it just not the Navy that needs to be re-built. The Army and Air Force have been on life support. I can’t believe all the hardware the US gave to Iraq when they pulled out. Much of which ended up in ISIS hands.

  • Angela Invited Me

    What’s the comparison to the combined China and Russia fleet?

    Do 🇫🇷 🇬🇧 🇩🇪 combined come close to 🇨🇳?

    🇮🇷 🇰🇵 Have more ships than EU excluding 🇫🇷 🇬🇧 🇩🇪?

    Hopefully someone is looking at this.

    • silencedogoodreturns

      What do European navies have to do with the requirements given OUR Navy to fulfill?

      • Angela Invited Me

        should we not be concerned with relative naval strengths of our potential allies and enemies?

        On a relative basis what is their position?

        US strength, yes ok fine, but why build a fortress if everyone else is throwing twigs?

        • silencedogoodreturns

          The U.S. Navy has global commitments. Our allies do not

  • Angela Invited Me

    Build more for the pacific.

  • Ronald G Miner Jr

    not nearly enough…The Navy needs a minimum of 500.

  • NavySubNuke

    Although I am sad to see how much money the Navy will waste on little crappy ships the rest of the plan is great.
    No matter how you feel about foreign entanglements – especially in h*ll holes like the middle east – the United States is and will always be a maritime nation. You can’t make America great again without a great Navy that ensures the freedom of our commerce (and the commerce of our trading partners) to navigate the oceans of the world.
    This is a great step and one that will help address the decades of neglect the Navy has suffered since the end of the cold war.

    • PolicyWonk

      Instead of another nuke carrier, I’d prefer three light carriers. We’d get far better coverage, and could send them to less volatile parts of the world, thereby freeing up the nukes.

      • NavySubNuke

        I’d love to see an honest study on what we could do produce light carrier wise. Considering how many people on a carrier exist only to support other people who are on the carrier we could probably get some serious crew reductions. We could also see a lot of savings in the construction costs and the construction time too. It might make sense for it to be nuclear but honestly with how often our carriers have to top off with jet fuel during sustained flight ops I’m not convinced it isn’t better to just save the money and make them conventional.
        The real question is can we find a design that is half the cost to build, has less then half the crew (thus is less than 1/2 as much to sustain through its life since the crew is the most expensive part) and still delivers something close to half the fighting power? I’d rather have two light carries that can only do flight ops for 12 – 14 hours per day in a battle group than 1 large carrier that can do 24 hours — more baskets is always a better option when we can afford it in my opinion.

  • acceptreality

    The Adults are back in control and the dreamy, petulant adolescents are pissed.

    • Marion Mitchell Morrison

      Keep your fingers crossed.

    • PolicyWonk

      What adults?

  • Ron Arrendale

    It’s about time…….

  • Ex Rays

    I like carriers and all, but I feel they have become increasingly vulnerable as platforms due to advancements in missile technologies around the world. We should be careful and not fall into a Big Gun Club doctrine for carriers as there was for battleships.

    • James Brown

      Wrong, those advancements of offensive missile to which you speak have not happened in a vacuum. The US Navy has developed and is developing counter-measures to defeat them. Our carriers are the best protected ships in the world, they can control and monitor the entire air, surface and subsurface battle space within, lets just say for 1000 miles around the carrier, it’s actually more but I’m not going to give the actual number. It’s going to be awhile before the Aircraft Carrier is not needed, how valuable is it that we can park a mobile military airfield anywhere in the world, it is a capability that none of our enemies have.

  • Smokey

    Scrap the LCS program, and apply its funding toward increasing the number of Amphibs in the fleet. The LCS program has proven to be a joke from day one, and the Marines need the Amphibs. Lastly, we need to go back to naming ships after real American heroes, instead of the misfits that bay-buss has chosen during his tenure as SECNAV.

    • noamsaying

      Amen. The LCS program is building a series of toothless, trouble plagued, love boats, and should be cancelled and the funds used to procure ships that can actually fight.

      • JOHN T. FOX

        AGREED!

    • Duane

      We need the LCS, with refinements that have been shown necessary in both manning and in its offensive capability (true also for most of the fleet) that needed up gunning from the post-Soviet era of unchallenged supremacy on the seas. We also need the more capable Frigates too.

      • PolicyWonk

        LCS is barely suitable for delivering mail, let alone fighting. It’s operational budget, in light of the botched crewing plan and ultra high maintenance requirements, is now projected to be equal to 90% of that required to run a Burke class DDG.

        All with pitifully few of the benefits.

        Now we’re just throwing good money after bad.

        • Duane

          Not true at all. The LCS is functional, the concepts behind it have either been proven out or discarded (such as going to the blue-gold crew organization, long used in the submarine service). The engineering casualties are typical of a new power plant design (we had plenty of engineering casualties as well as weapons casualties on all new ship types, such as nuclear submarines, that actually killed entire crews unlike the extremely minor consequences of what came of the recent LCS engineering casualties which neither injured nor killed a single soul).

          The difference today is the internet and social media where every little nit gets reported at exhausting length. Everybody on the comment pages fancies themselves a weapons expert. A huge proportion of people today are basically ninnies with totally unrealistic expectations, because on the video games they play, all the weapons, ships, and aircraft perform exactly as the computer programmers designed them to do. It doesn’t work that way in the real world of real warfare. In the real world, stuff breaks, and then real fighters have to figure out how to deal with it, and it doesn’t all get resolved within the extremely short attention span of the average internet commenter.

          All new weapons platforms go through extensive trial and error development, whether ships or aircraft. The P-51 Mustang today is universally considered the finest fighter aircraft of the second World War … but of course, that is only in reference to the final “D” model that we all think of as the Mustang … the A, B, and C models had significant engineering design issues that rendered the Mustang ineffective for its intended role. The builders literally changed out the entire powerplant to the Merlin engine and redesigned the central fuselage to go to the bubble canopy design before the P-51 became the fighter everyone knows today.

          • tteng

            The LCS and Zumwalt DDGs, IMO, are casualties of supposed post-blue-water evolution; they were conceived when Soviets were no more and China was not yet. By the time they were in water, Westpac has changed; Chinese A2AD has pushed out, and Chinese is building its fledging blue water navy. That is why USN is back to blue water mode and pulled back its littoral evolution because it needs to get back in. Also, Burke and Perry frigates were results of generations of blue water navy evolution, thus they were all tried and true good products. Had the westpac strategic pictures didn’t change, the ‘littoral’ concept/product will evolve and matured through its growing pain. It didn’t have the chance.

          • Duane

            You are thinking with false choices … we either have a dark blue water navy or we have a light blue water navy … uhhh, no, we have to have both elements in our Navy. The latest naval force plan says exactly that. More of both.

          • tteng

            Understood, but you must take strategic pic in mind. There are two things going against ‘littoral involvements’. 1. POTUS Trump has an aversion towards world cop role (such role is more suited with LCS deployments against small bad actors). 2. With fracking, we don’t need ME oil/trouble as much before, and big blue is more than sufficient.

          • PolicyWonk

            Um, w/r/t LCS, neither the navy’s own IG, DOT&E, OMB, or any other auditing agencies, or any of our allies, agree with your sunny assessment. Tons of money spent, yet we have no littoral combatant.

            LCS represents a failed program, with minimal benefits at maximum cost to the taxpayers. The frigate program should be cancelled, and replaced with the HII Legend class National Security Cutter (navalized version).

          • Duane

            The US Navy command does not agree with you. The Navy is still very high on the LCS, and it is certainly not a “failed program”.

            Virtually every major weapons system we’ve developed has had its share of critics who claimed the weapon or the system was “failed” and “must be shut down”, only to prove itself in actual warfare when actually needed. From the intermediate range nuclear missiles that was the final nail in the coffin of the Soviets, to “star wars” which actually exists and actually works today, to the AH-64 Apache which the Air Force tried desperately to kill off, to the B-2 stealth bomber, to the nuke submarines that the surface fleet proponents hated and continually tried to tamp down or shut down because it didn’t conform to Naval protocol, but which program was saved by iconoclastic Admiral Rickover’s excellent relationship with key members of Congress.

          • PolicyWonk

            The Navy command isn’t like to admit they blew it to anyone, and preferred to sandbag their own IG’s report on the many failings of what is deceitfully called the “littoral combat ship” – when even former CNP Adm. Jonathan Greenert declared that LCS “was never intended to venture into the littorals to engage in combat…”.

            Yes, every platform has its teething issues: but LCS went from teething to gumming without ever reaching adolescence.

    • john

      Smokey….. Get real. The biggest threat is in the South China Sea….. An amphibious assault needed to take all they have constructed, and adding now, would result in a high casualty rate among our marines. The only way to land on those fake islands is to level them first. I would not want to land heroes on the shores without decimating the ability of the ChiComs to defend themselves first.
      As for naming ships… Yes, I am waiting for the MLK or BLM naming before this appeaser leaves the helm.

      • JOHN T. FOX

        THE GREATEST THREAT IS A NUCLEAR IRAN CLOSING THE STRAITS OF HORMUZ. HOW WOULD YOU GET OUR TROOPS THERE? HOW WOULD YOU SUPPORT THEM? CHEAP LABOR IN CHINA IS NOT WORTH FIGHTING OVER! WE CAN GET CHEAP LABOR IN CENTRAL AMERICA RIGHT NOW!

        • Dustoff

          Typing in caps, doesn’t help you.

        • john

          Nuke em. Not much else there but oil. Turn the desert into glass

          • JOHN T. FOX

            MOSTLY TRUE. HOLY LAND AND PETRA. THAT’S ABOUT IT.

        • john

          If the threat is nuclear, why would YOU consider putting our troops into a tactical Nuclear Theater?!?!?! But…. You do have a point. The great Appeaser has left our forces unable to defend interests in one theater let alone two. Our Navy needs it all. At least you got that right….

    • JOHN T. FOX

      AGREED!

  • ChuckNoland

    With $20 trillion in debt now is not the time to expand our military. We need to pay down the debt or we will be at a point in the near future where the annual interest payments will be more the military budget. The Pentagon employees over a million pencil pushers who make an average of $200,000 a year in salary and benefits. They cost approximately 25% of our defense budget every year. The military can be much more efficient with the money they get, just as all areas of the government need to become.

    • NavySubNuke

      We waste $80B a year on food stamps – simply cutting that program by 10 – 15% would easily pay for this and would put thousands of extra people to work in high paying ship yard jobs — a win win if I ever saw one!

      • ChuckNoland

        I would prefer to feed hungry people and cut the jobs of worthless Pentagon contractors who make 200K a year. We don’t need a million of these people.

        • NavySubNuke

          I’d rather pay people to do work – and if you think contractors really are making $200K a year you really have no idea what you are talking about.

          • ChuckNoland

            Google “Pentagon buries evidence of $125 billion in bureaucratic waste.” That is a report commissioned by the Pentagon, not a liberal organization. Supporting our military doesn’t mean accepting egregious waste. It means a lean, mean fighting machine where the money goes to the ability to fight war, not push pencils. Read the article please.

          • NavySubNuke

            Read it already. Even if it is true, which I doubt most of what the report said, it doesn’t matter to this argument because we are still talking about paying people to go to work. I’d rather pay people to sit in an office all day and push meaningless paperwork than just give them money for nothing.
            We should do what we can to reduce waste but hiring outside contractors to come in and do a quick look over a few months is hardly going to correct that. Most of the problem is actually from congress pushing work into their own district even when it doesn’t make sense. This is hardly a new problem – it has been going on since congress had the original 6 frigates of the navy built at 6 different shipyards in 6 different states.

          • ChuckNoland

            Of course, why would you believe the Pentagon’s own report? Your mindset is the reason why nothing will be fixed and we will continue to waste a quarter of our defense budget on bureaucracy.

          • NavySubNuke

            Actually it wasn’t the pentagon’s own report — it was a report prepared by outside business consultants who came in and spent a few weeks looking over the books and decided what could be cut and where a magic wand could be waved to create magic savings. My personal favorite was how much money they are going to magically save by upgrading IT equipment – never mind how terrible the government is at actually doing that.
            But I can see why someone with your limited intelligence and extensive biases latched right onto it.

          • ChuckNoland

            Don’t be obtuse. It was a report commissioned by the brass who personally choose the business experts to produce the study. The article states that the study was an “internal study.” I realize that you may have not been able to read that far into the report before your mouth tired out, but it’s right there in black and white. So go ahead and continue to advocate for a million pencil pushers. I’m going to advocate for fighting men and women as well as more weapon systems.

          • NavySubNuke

            If you were smarter you would realize I am also advocating for fighting men and women as well as more weapons systems. I just choose to pay for it from a different source. You want to fire a million people who get up every day and actually go work and I want to not only keep them employed but employ a million more instead of wasting the money on people who are just going to waste it themselves anyway.
            But please go ahead and keep believing in the mythical savings McKinsey identified – sensationalism is far more enjoyable than reality after all.

          • ChuckNoland

            You really can’t help being pathetically dense, can you. Where did I, or the report, suggest firing all one million? You’re the guy at the party when someone suggest more efficiency for the post office hyperbolically scream that they don’t want mail delivery. It’ not black and white world. It’s not all of what we have or nothing. It’s not fix welfare, but don’t fix Pentagon waste. The problem is more complex than your myopic perception affords you.

          • NavySubNuke

            Your quote: “So go ahead and continue to advocate for a million pencil pushers. ”
            Also, I didn’t say we couldn’t rein in pentagon waste — I just said the junk report by McKinsey wasn’t they way to do it and that if we really want to pay for this ship building plan the easiest place to find money is to take it out of wasteful domestic spending.
            Also, if you really want to fix the pentagon’s waste problem you don’t go after the contractors, that is a short term fix at best, you start doing career continuation boards and pushing out the senior GS-15’s who are promotion and pay step capped out and haven’t done any real work in years and won’t for another decade until they finally retire or die. Every max-stepped GS-15 you force out allows you to employ 2 – 3 junior folks who still have drive and ambition and actually get sh*t done. So not only do you save money and provide more jobs you actually get more work done too.
            Or you could just trust in magic money to fall out of the sky via mythical IT upgrades that take too long and never actually work the way they are supposed to.
            But go ahead and keep thinking I am the dense one – your ignorance and arrogance are by far your two most entertaining traits.

          • ChuckNoland

            So you read about not advocating for a million pencil pusher and the only thing you can think of is no pencil pushers? That is best example of myopia I’ve seen in awhile. You can’t envision that there are about one million options between keeping it the way it is and firing every single one? And if they are eating up a quarter of the budget getting rid of the ones performing redundant task would be significant savings year after year. But I’m glad to see your other suggestions and they sound promising, but I hate that it took so many post to get you thinking that the status quo might not be the best thing for a strong military.

            The great Jerry Pournelle wrote the following after reading the report

            “Long ago, Dan Golden fired over a thousand senior civil servants at NASA headquarters. When I visited him a few weeks before he fired them, the 8th Floor was humming, lines at the copy machines, loud sounds of typing and printing. A couple of weeks after he dismissed them I visited Dan again. The place was quiet. People working at their desks. I asked a senior career engineer “What did all those people do? You seem to be handling it all.” He looked up and said, “You know, we can’t figure out what they did.”

            Another of Pournelle’s laws of bureaucrat: work expands to fulfill the requirement that bureaucrats look busy. “

          • NavySubNuke

            My thinking hasn’t changed in the slightest – I just got tired of you ranting and raving about imaginary savings that could never possibly realized and wanted to clue you in on something that could actually work so you wouldn’t be quite so ignorant.
            You’ll notice a key part of Jerry’s statement is that they fired senior civil servants — exactly the people I said we should fire. Remember that the next time you arrogantly and ignorantly say we should fire contractors as if they are actually the problem. It is the bureaucrats who are the real issue.
            But the point remains that even if we fire those people and get the headquarters to be function again instead of just a disaster – the money to modernize the military should come from our domestic waste. Any savings we get from trimming the retired on active duty civil servants should stay in the department to fix the issues already in the department. The money for the expanded ship building plan needs to come from out of house and the easiest place to find that is to reduce what we are wasting on the domestic side.

  • Captain Reynault

    Dump the gold-plated bricks that are the F-35 and the LCS and you can pay for the rest of it.

    • James Brown

      The F-35 is the most effective and stealthy platform flying today, now that their software is fixed and they can fly using all of their capabilities. No other aircraft can beat it, and most missile systems will never detect them and will not know their in the area until the bombs start going off. They give the US capabilities that no other aircraft in the world can provide. Were they too expensive, yes, and no doubt the defense contractor that built them overcharged the taxpayer for them. But, the way to end that is not to cancel the F-35, but rather to punish Lockheed for their overcharges on that program and force them to become leaner and to fight waste and fraud, which is rampant in the industry. As for the LCS, absolutely cancel that program and sell the shitty ships for scrap or transfer them to the Coast Guard where they would likely be very effective chasing drug runners and doing search and rescue operations, but they will be floating Cluster-F#cks as naval combatants and will eventually be known as the Widow Makers for the ease and speed by which our enemies will sink them.

      • silencedogoodreturns

        Not most stealthy (F-22 is). NOT most effective. (F-18 E/F, F-15 far more).

  • geosdb

    A strong military is a deterrent to war, not an incitement of it. But among the worst burdens of our thirty-year-aversion to the military is the way a smaller fleet and fewer sailors must still fulfill the obligations of 100 years of treaties. Our fleet, dropping in size and scope for a generation, is still expected to patrol certain seas, along certain coastlines and trade routes, for a certain number of days every year. Reducing the size of the fleet just means that each ship and each sailor must remain on station longer.

    If you keep that up long enough, you end up with sailors at sea for nine, ten, or more months every year. That can do nothing to help morale, boost preparedness, or maintain retention of higher ranks.

    All the while our congress (and don’t lay the blame just at the feet of presidents — no matter how craven and evil some have been) has been chopping the sea strength and burdening every remaining member, they have also been crushing our Army, Air Force, and Marines in ways no external enemy ever knew.

    It will take a generation to rebuild what has been lost; and not just in our naval forces. Add to our duty a restoration of domestic bases, recruit training centers, expanded recruitment and concentrated retention. We need more planes in the air, boots on the ground, and watches along the perimeter.

    And never forget that the men and women who are willing to die for the country and our freedom should be praised and rewarded — if not with money, then with honor and appreciation, and the constant expressed gratitude of the congress and the people for whom they (supposedly) work.

    • JOHN T. FOX

      TRUE! IT WILL TAKE LONGER THAN A GENERATION AND WE ARE OUT OF TIME!

  • Timothy Hudson

    I remember a 600 ship Navy… one that could fight in the Atlantic and Pacific at the SAME time….

    • Duane

      We never actually got to 600 ships .. and quite of few of those that were part of that program were simply unretired from mothball and forced into service despite aging and unreliable systems … such as the faults in the USS Iowa that killed 60 some men in that gun mount. The “600 ship Navy” was largely a PR campaign designed to intimidate the Soviets. It worked, along with other things including the INF missiles we placed in Europe despite the wailing from anti-nukes and the Russkies.

      You don’t just pull a number out of your hind-quarters and say “this is it”. The analysis provided here underlying this aspirational plan is at least based upon specific missions by specific ship types that just happens to come to 355 ships. The Navy wants more, but then all militaries always want more than they have, and it will always be thus.

      Rear Admiral Donitz famously advised Adolph Hitler that if he were provided with 300 u-boats he would easily win the Battle of the Atlantic and ultimately World War Two. That would have presupposed Hitler holding off on starting the war for a couple more years. As it was, Donitz had only a few dozen boats available to open the war in 1939. Hitler should have listened to Doenitz

      • silencedogoodreturns

        Reagan and Lehman didn’t just “pull a number out of their hind-quarters.” They looked at what role and missions they wanted the Navy to perform, and came up with 600.

        • Duane

          Not true. The number was artificial and the evidence is that they pulled old World War Two ships out of mothballs to serve no viable mission just to try to get to the artificial number 600 ships. The Iowa, for instance, had no real mission to perform, it was of course, like all battlewagons since the opening of World War Two, useless in actual battle due to its extreme vulnerability to both air and subsurface and missile attacks. It had only one purpose – to serve as a mobile aerial bombardment platform from short range, of which there was zero need in the 1980.

          I’m not arguing that the strategic point of stating a 600 ship Navy as a goal was dumb. It was actually smart policy. It helped convince the Soviets that there was no way they could continue to compete militarily with the United States with their weak government-controlled economy. Reagan forced the Soviets to either keep bankrupting their economy or give in. They gave in, and within a few years entirely collapsed.

          • silencedogoodreturns

            You are misinformed. The IOWA had several missions to perform. It was a strategic weapon with nuclear-armed TOMAHAWKS, the 6th Fleet Flagship for a time, among its other roles. And the turret explosion was not due to ship “faults,” It was due to faulty handling of ammunition by the crew. All four ships of the class performed with distinction without any such “faults” as you allege. And an Exocet missile would likely bounce off its armored protection. It was the most INVULNERABLE of any ship the Navy had.

            and the 600 number is derived from the number of CVBGs desired for the missions they wanted to the Navy to perform around the globe, and what it would do in any war with the Soviet Union. Remember, we had 16 CVGBs then, almost double today’s. This was all calculated out, and was behind Navy strategic and operational planning and training all thru the 1980s. I was there…I suspect you were not.

          • Jon Tessler

            actually the explosion on the Iowa was NOT due to faulty handling of ammunition by the crew, but was due to unstable powder, which had been incorrectly stored in barges in extreme heat over the previous summer. also the FCCM in charge of gunnery plot was conducting unauthorized experiments, using powder and shell combinations that were not supposed to be used together because the powder had a higher burn rate than recommended for the shells they were shooting on the day of the explosion.

            in the yard period prior to the explosion, 1 million dollars that was slated to be used on turret repairs was moved to work on the engineering plant, and the turrets which had electrical and hydraulic problems were not fixed.

            I know many of the crew on board at that time, and they were some of the best sailors, in the Navy at the time.

          • silencedogoodreturns

            I agree they were some of the best sailors. I served onboard on two occasions. But your opening para appears to me to agree with what I said.

    • JOHN T. FOX

      WE NEED A GLOBAL NAVY CAPABLE OF FIGHTING AL OF OUR PRESENT ENEMIES. THAT WOULD REQUIRE NO LESS THAN A 1,000 WARSHIPS AND 4-6 TIMES THAT IN SUPPLY SHIPS.

      • Dustoff

        John.. Turn off the capps.

        • JOHN T. FOX

          TURN OFF YOUR MOUTH AND TURN ON YOUR BRAIN! LOOK AT YOUR KEYBOARD.

  • Thanks be to God for delivering President-elect Trump to America!

    • PolicyWonk

      Thanks you, comrade!

  • This article would be more useful if citing how many ships we are comparing to, as in how many are currently in the fleet.

  • Mailman

    Hopefully part of this expansion will be a move away from bio-fuels!

  • CounterCultureRadical

    Obama’s stern shot. He can now claim that he beat Trump to it. Hopefully, Trump will scrap this window dressing plan and go for 400+.

    • Glen Dorn

      I’d rather see Trump to a complete reevaluation of what the Navy actually needs to perform what is asked of it, and….

      Get rid of the hyper-hi-tech, constantly breaking down, overpriced clown cars, er, “ships” that the Pentagon so loves to buy.

      If it’s overpriced and undependable, scrap it. Let the Chinese steal the blueprints – they do, anyway.

      • James Brown

        You really don’t understand what the military does vis-à-vis high tech. It is the hyper hi-tech stuff that gives us our advantage. And it doesn’t always break down, you only hear about that tech when it breaks down and most of what you’ve been hearing lately are just typical types of issues new programs have. Finding problems is why the military has test and eval programs for new tech and ships so we can perfect them before the fleet has to depend upon them.

  • Mark edward marchiafava

    If you define “great” by your military, well, never mind.

  • Mark edward marchiafava

    If ruling the world by force is your goal, you’re gonna need more ships / weapons.

    • PT Parks

      It’s not about ruling the world, it’s about keeping the bad actors bottled up in their own back yard. We need to get to the point that even the threat of American military power (and the will to use it if necessary) is enough to stop countries like N. Korea and Iran from banging the war drums.

      • James Brown

        Exactly, I said basically the same thing. sorry, didn’t see yours before I posted.

    • James Brown

      The world has always been ruled by the aggressive use of force, that is an historical fact. The difference is we do not build our military in order to rule the world, we build it in order to deter the rogues that seek to rule the world by force. We build such awesome military stuff in the hopes that just having them will deter others from attacking. If you cannot understand this basic truth then nothing can help you.

    • CMDPrompt✓ˢᵘᵖᵉʳᵐᵃⁿ

      “Naked force has resolved more conflicts throughout history than any other factor. The contrary opinion, that violence doesn’t solve anything, is wishful thinking at its worst. People who forget that always die.” – Jean Rasczak

    • silencedogoodreturns

      no problem. That is not the goal of the US.

      • Mark edward marchiafava

        actually, it is.

  • PT Parks

    The only way to survive in today’s environment is to be the biggest, baddest, quickest, most lethal force on the block; be it ground, sea, or air. The Obama administration has gutted the military services, killed morale, and driven off many of our best and brightest Commanders and Leaders. I pray that the incoming Trump administration will recognize the errors of the past, and build our military back to where it can be the deterrent to hostiles it once was.

  • xman_11530

    These ships aren’t free. The more offensive capabilities we have the greater the temptation for our leaders to meddle in places where we do not belong.
    Do we really need to be able to project so much power abroad?

    • Angela Invited Me

      Totally wrong. More strength decreases the likelihood of usage.

      • xman_11530

        While I do agree that countries need to be able to defend their borders, study of history shows that countries only invade other countries because they think they can win.

        Look at US foreign policy pre and post WW2. Completely different.

        Should we have a strong defensive military- of course. Should we be able to obliterate any nation that dares launch a nuclear strike on US- you bet.

        However, 12 aircraft battle groups and two brigades of marines afloat are not necessary to defend North America. Those are assets that allow us to meddle abroad. Defense of NA could be done much more cheaply.

        The carrier battle groups and marines are to project US power onto foreign shores and are frequently used to conduct operations that actually make the world much more dangerous.

        • Donald Carey

          Our economy depends on more than North America – it hasn’t for over 100 years. Therefore, the U.S. needs to have a global reach.

          • xman_11530

            Every other country’s economy also depends on more than NA. However, we are the only ones spending billions building and maintaining an aircraft carrier fleet.

    • silencedogoodreturns

      in short, yes. We need to be “able.” Doesn’t mean we have to do it.

      • xman_11530

        If we are ‘able’, we ‘will’.

        If we are ‘unable’, we ‘won’t’.

        Why is US involved in meaningless wars across the globe that are costing the lives of Americans? Because we can.

        Other than some aircraft carriers off the 3 coasts for defense, 12 give Presidents way too many opportunities to meddle in situations we shouldn’t meddle in.

        • silencedogoodreturns

          we have thousands of nuclear warheads. When have we used them?

          • xman_11530

            Completely different analogy. The prospect of nuclear winter would make use of nukes a last resort.

            The ease of use for aircraft carriers (and certainly unmanned drones) makes them much more highly utilized.

  • pfwag

    Here’s what illustrates the problem in building up the military:

    Probably the best single-seat, US fighter-bomber (after it got the Rolls Royce Merlin engine…) in WWII was the innovative and legendary P51 Mustang. Its high speed, long range, and performance is what defeated the Luftwaffe over Germany. Until the arrival of the P51, the unprotected American bombers were easy prey for the Luftwaffe.

    In mid 1943, 230 B17 Flying Fortresses attacked a ball-bearing plant in Schweinfurt and again two months later, with 291 planes. The plant was severely damaged but at huge cost – 36 aircraft in the first raid 77 in the second were shot down. Altogether 850 airmen were killed or captured.

    The P51 changed all when it came into the European theater in quantity in late 1943 with the more powerful Merlin engine. The now protected bombers then brought Germany to its knees, as the beefed-up P51 could defeat Germany’s primary attack fighter, the legendary Messerschmitt Bf 109.

    From the start of the P51 design to the time the first prototype took off on October 26,1940 was only 23 weeks, even if the plane did have “borrowed” wheels. And the design engineers used slide rules, pencils, and paper, not computers with 3D modeling software.

    In 1945 the P51 cost $50,985 each and 15,000 of them were made. In today’s dollars that would be $684,697 each.

    The F35, currently seven years behind schedule and still plagued with problems, costs about $100 MILLION each. And that is without an engine.

    THE P-51 MUSTANG: A CASE STUDY IN DEFENSE ACQUISITION
    http://www.dau.mil/pubscats/pubscats/AR%20Journal/arj56/Haggerty_ARJ56.pdf

  • James Brown

    No, we never quite got to 600.

  • cincinnaticl6

    This is good to hear. The Navy should adopt the old Hallmark Card slogan which was, “When you care enough you send the very best.” If Hillary had been elected she probably would have spent the Navy budget on an updated version of “Cleopatra”s Barge” and charged people to ride it.

  • Rick Myles

    Isn’t Obama on record as wanting to reduce the the number of Carriers by 2 more to a total of 9? The guy wanted to dismantle the U.S. military.

  • TincanJoey

    I wouldn’t exactly classify a destroyer as a large surface combatant.

    • Modern destroyers displace close to 10,000 tons, much more than the WWII era ships.

      • TincanJoey

        I was stationed on one. It still pains me that this is the only “large surface non-carrier” combatant the Navy is investing in.

    • publius_maximus_III

      Pound for pound, they’re the meanest kids on the block.

      • TincanJoey

        The Cruisers were much better.

    • old guy

      It is when it displaces more than 15,000 tons.

    • Secundius

      By 1942 Standards? Or by 2016 Standards…

      • TincanJoey

        By 2007 standards (the last time I was stationed aboard one).

        • Secundius

          Fletcher class weighed less then the Current Freedom class by more than 1,500-tons…

          • TincanJoey

            That may be true. I still don’t consider it to be a large surface combatant. Of course it is all relative. I was in when the T-class Cruisers were the top dogs in the surface fleet and also saw the last few years of the battleships.

          • Secundius

            The closest that Anyone in the US Navy is EVER going to get to a Battleship. Is either a Strike Cruiser variant of the AB class or a Arsenal Ship based on the San Antonia class…

  • Marcd30319

    We need to bring back and build new high-speed fast combat support ship (AOE) to act is the middle conveyor between the carrier strike groups and MSC oilers and cargo ships.

  • TheDeplorableX

    Definitely a step in the right direction!

  • john

    The good news is, the times are a changin’! The loss of the appeasers in the last election should clear the way for our needs. With China actively establishing the South China Sea as a base for operational activities, it is clear that a larger surface presence and attack sub presence will be necessary to defend our interests. And that an initial exchange will be more than a few odd ships as China is building offensive capabilities in its reclamation endeavors.

  • Angie Nathan

    If our nation can afford to divert U.S. treasure to these defense contractors (especially the foreign ones). I propose that a percent of the money awarded to them go into a separate fund for a forensic level audit of every dollar spent. Another percent (I propose a higher amount) should be dedicated to prosecute waste, fraud, and abuse. If the incoming administration is serious about improving our defense industry, they will go back as far as the statute of limitations allow, and clean house. In my opinion, stealing or wasting money that taxpayers spend on defense programs should be regarded as one of the highest forms of treason.
    If I know that the Pentagon has never been audited, so do their contractors. I would speculate that we could have three superior vessels with proper oversight and commons sense contracting than what we currently spend funding one vessel under our corporate welfare system.

    • john

      Soros Troll…….

      • Angie Nathan

        Not quite. Permit an analogy, throwing money at a school system does not mean that the students will get a better education. Some systems are disfunctional, so demanding change or proper oversight does not mean that you are against educating children (in this case against a superior Navy). President elect Trump thinks that Boeing can do better, and I know that the Department of Navy needs to improve their accountability in contracting.

        • john

          Ditto. Soros Troll. Yes the DOD is an issue. It’s procurement is mired in regulation and protocol. Reduce it. Don’t vote for politicians who force there local jobs programs on the DOD. Fire Civil servants. All things Trump has said he would do…. Back to point, the South China Sea (SCS) is just a stepping stone for the ChiComs. The great Appeaser will be remembered in history as the leader who let SE Asia fall to China…. unless a deterrent is offered. The build up by the ChiComs in the SCS is reminiscent of historical designs in the past.

          • silencedogoodreturns

            how does anything you say conflict with anything he said?

  • I’d prefer we finally realize Reagan’s 600-ship Navy.

    • john

      Yes indeed!!

  • Rhonie Briley

    I would like to see at least a 2,000 ship Navy. In my opinion 4 to 6 thousand is not out of the question.

  • kek

    Navy wants to MAGA too, Go Navy.

  • jimt5367

    I’d like to see more A-10s and if the Air Force doesn’t want them then give them to the Marines. It would also be nice to have a carrier based version of the Warthog.

  • sunshinegal

    Arup_2. You win for being first to use the phrase “Military Industrial Complex.” Are we still in the 60s? Instead of new ships we could fund fixing bridges and roads, plus a lot of free stuff, like food stamps, welfare, college, medical care, internet, phones, housing. We know how successful these programs, starting with LBJ’s 1960s War on Poverty. Have they cured poverty and moved the poor to the middle class? Will the roads and bridges protect the US and keep the global waterways open for free passage?
    Same old mantra. Same old outcome.

  • PolicyWonk

    The new total also restores the Navy’s old 2012 requirement of 52 smaller surface combatants, which will include the Littoral Combat Ship and frigate programs.
    ============================================
    Awesome!

    Each of the current LCS’s that we’re stuck with today cost the US taxpayers $661M – not counting any of the monstrously flawed “missions packages”. The crewing plan has been dumped, and the so-called frigate version now tops $1.2B per sea-frame, based on a failed concept and lousy design.

    The SUW mission package is junk; The ASW one is having problems and is massively over price; the anti-mine warfare one is a gawd-awful mess. The LCS now costs 3X what it was supposed to, and every charming aspect of what it was supposed to be is a miserable failure. Yet the navy think we should let it build 12 of ’em – and pay in advance for ’em – based on a completely FAILED program.

    The operational cost for LCS, is now estimated to be 90% of the expense of a Burke, according to War Is Boring.

    90% of what a Burke costs to operate – with only a tiny, tiny fraction of the value or ROI.

    • publius_maximus_III

      More Arleigh Burkes, more Arleigh Burkes, more Arleigh Burkes…

      • PolicyWonk

        Burkes are find ships – but as the ONR determined – they aren’t suitable for brown-water (littoral) operations. This is why they came up with the “street fighter” concept in the first place: small; fast; heavily armed; well protected; $90M/sea-frame.

        Almost everything an LCS isn’t.

  • parum imperium

    This website censors all viewpoints it doesn’t agree with. Sad!!

  • Curtis Conway

    There should be consideration for the Arctic. The SQS-53 sonar ships should not go into the Northern Latitudes in the presence of ice during many times of the year. A very capable and long range frigate is required that can handle thin ice, and extreme temperatures for extended periods. A command platform for the region is needed, that can double as an icebreaker/command ship, and perhaps encompass a BMD mission. The Legend Class NSCs are already performing in that region, and the US Navy should build upon that success.

  • old guy

    I agree with the top 3 classes. all the rest need serious utility and need studies before committing billions to construction.
    Example: A logistic ship that is capable of continuous through feed and loading of hovercraft like LCAC.

    • publius_maximus_III

      And capable of at-sea transfers in something rougher than Sea State 2.

      • old guy

        If you can picture either a BIG catamaran (~40K tons) that could load from above, or a big A/C carrier looking ship with side ramps where hovercraft could be hauled up, loaded and sent off in a continuous stream, you have the 2 designs my guys developed in the mid-70s and rejected by the CIC (Clods-in-Charge),

        • publius_maximus_III

          I can picture it, OG. Sort of a USN/USMC Amazon-dot-com distribution center, with hovercraft arriving off the stern, and either spiraling up a ramp under their own power, or entering a bay with elevators, to whisk them forward to a stable (dock-to-vessel) loading zone, with a long sliding return to the water down a ramp running from bow to stern, maybe one along each side. All three ramps could be used for quick loading back at port.

  • silencedogoodreturns

    I had the second most popular comment here, and it was removed. I guess Navy News can’t handle the truth. And to think I just wrote a check to USNI for a charitable contribtion, in addition to already being a life member. I thought USNI stood for critical and opposing views, not slavish bowing to the official line and having smoke blown up our rear. Is it time to pull my financial support? Is this a press release, or a critical assessment? Where was this plan 8 years ago? 6 years ago? 4 years ago? 2 years ago?

    So Mabus waits until the month before he leaves office to submit a plan that doesn’t have the Navy ever-shrinking, as it has been doing continuously under his watch. And then, since there’s no money to pay for the plan, when it doesn’t happen he can say it wasn’t his fault and blame the NEXT Secnav/Administration.

    There. I took out the part about him being a weasel and a disaster. Better now?

  • Marjus Plaku

    66 attack boats is a very good thing if it happens. HUGE force multiplier and anti-access area denial buster. great for sinking enemy ships and protecting ours from undersea threats. not sure how china is going to ever break through the geographical choke points and past the first island chain when USN attack submarines can lie in wait for the clustered surface groups.

    the current carrier battle group is very much a shadow of what it should be. you basically have one cruiser most of the time and three destroyers. no dedicated SSN and no frigates. you have to have the frigates and or some sort of ships less than a DDG to deal with the undersea threat and ride shotgun for that purpose, how cruisers do for the air threat. the destroyers are more optimized for land attack and missile defense, with anti-surface coming back on with the new VLS anti-ship missile.

    adding another carrier is great but the air wing needs to expand and modernize. the Navy needs the F-35C bad, as it is networked and low observable, and it needs a long range stealthy attack drone, in addition to the tanker version. carrier ops against a near peer will require a lot of skill and overcoming distance, constant movement and clever employment of forces. the carrier can never be made or bottled up, since it can then be overwhelmed. having long range and low observable/networked aircraft is paramount if you still want to use carrier air for near shore and in shore strikes. out in the open ocean, no surface group can challenge our carriers, as enemy forces will be detected and killed from a long range. the only threat is undersea, and that’s why you need a dedicated SSN attached to a battle group and 2 frigates equipped for the anti-sub role.

  • Marjus Plaku

    the 653 number for what’s needed to “meet all requirements with minimal risk” seems very high.
    no matter how i break down the different classes and types of ships i’m hard pressed to go over 550 let alone over 600. that would basically be a Navy big enough to not need any partners/allies and that could fight against all over navies combined alone.

  • JayGoldenBeach

    More ships for gunship diplomacy.

  • SierraSierraQuebec

    An air defense command cruiser and long barrel intercontinental ranged stratospheric gun armed CCG/DDG-1000’s, more DDG-51’s in the immediate plan, AGS or Raven-type 155mm conversions of the venerable 127mm systems for destroyers and frigates, nuclear and large aluminum powered submarines, a new/evolved class of carriers after the Kennedy in attack and amphibious variants, the projected programs for LSD’s and other expeditionary and auxiliary vessels plussed up where adviseable, its all imminently feasible and affordable in the near term.

  • Jav

    Okay so you want that many ships, listing it out is the easy part. Now comes the hard part, how are you going to pay for it ?
    It an era where the theme of militaries around the world is getting smaller due to the inevitable fact that an armed soldier cost much much more to field compared to 20 years in the past. Its bloody amazing that the Pentagon can still draw up a wish list and expect the money to fall on its lap in a blank check. They want all the shiniest toys with all the bells and whistles and they want it in yuuge numbers.

  • James Bowen

    Excellent, this is definitely a step in the right direction. It is good to see the Navy facing the reality that it is not by several multiples the most powerful fleet in the world, as was being continuously regurgitated until recently. I do hope the Navy looks to build smaller, less expensive ships though. In war, we need platforms that are reliable and replaceable. I have doubts as to whether the expensive ships in our current fleet meets these criteria.

  • publius_maximus_III

    More destroyers, more destroyers, more Arleigh Burke DDG-51 Flight III destroyers. Love to see that blue bar moving to the right on the bar chart. They’re flexible, not just for escort duty. A task force of U.S. destroyers defeated a Japanese naval force in WWII during the Battle of Vella Gulf, the battle for which CG-72 was named.

  • parum imperium

    Hey why not?? It’s not like we’re $20TRILLION in debt and growing or anything….

  • Secundius

    Yeah, well?/! “Wanting” and “Getting” aren’t necessarily the SAME thing…

  • Samuel Clemens

    More throwing money at over bloated budgets with no other purpose but squandering wealth that can do no good elsewhere. Absolutely strategically pointless. Not a proud day.

  • Donald Carey

    Nothing about icebreakers – the Coast Guard cannot supply them so the Navy will have to.

    • old guy

      BUY THEM FROM THE FINNS AT HALF THE COST.

  • John B. Morgen

    Regardless what politicians are speaking about , but the truth will be told when we start seeing new hulls are joining the Fleet. As for American-Russian, and American-Chinese relations are concern, may GOD save us all from an untrained Commander-in-Chief….

    • old guy

      You mean like Prez B.O.?

      • John B. Morgen

        No because that ship has already sailed, I was referring to Trump.

        • old guy

          P/E Trump is a successful business man.As Coolidge said,”The business of the USA is business.” Watch his dust.

          • Leveller

            Six Bankruptcies all of His Making! Really, really Successful.

          • old guy

            Silly, you know, neither the circumstances nor the effects. Real estate gambles are fraught with such actions. and it is LEGAL.

          • John B. Morgen

            In some ways Trump is successful, but he has problems of [not] paying people for their services, and he has filed a few bankruptcies, which does not classified him as great businessman. Most likely his past will get him impeach if he does not set things right with other people.

        • old guy

          How quickly we forget (and forgive) incompetence

          • John B. Morgen

            We’ll be reminded about the past by the news media’s cohorts during Trump’s first year in the White House. It never fails.

        • old guy

          Not hardly. Obamination has screwed Israel, Our economy and the military. Trump has his work cut out for him. Fuzzdome libs will be no help. Marry Christmas.

          • John B. Morgen

            Are you referring to the Iran Nuclear Treaty?

          • old guy

            No, the recent UN vote, condemning Israel for upgrading waste desert into livable settlements, which we did not veto, but abstained (actually promoted)

  • Secundius

    FYI: Pakistan just reported that Iran just lost a ~700-ton Cargo Ship off the Yemenese Coast by Missile Fire. Killing its crew of Seven…

  • Secundius

    Pakistan report that Iranian Cargo Ship was Sunk off the Coast of Yemen, Killing it’s crew of seven. Cargo Ship was ~700-tons in weight…

  • old guy

    Rumor has it that there is a move to bring back the A-76 program. We saved the Navy 12 billion dollars (~20 billion in today’s money). What MUST be done:
    1. force shipyards to bid under commercial standards.
    a.. No contractor initiated changes.
    b. Cost sharing on all in-scope changes.
    c. No fee on out-of-scope changes.
    d. REAL penalties for failures,
    2. Push yards into commercial business.
    3. Cut out SWIPE (Shipyard Welfare Incentive Program, Expensive) under the
    guise of industrial preparedness. We are no longer the, “Arsenal of
    Democracy”. We are in high level competition.

    • Secundius

      If the Reference is to the (OMB) Circular A-76? The White House Transferred it to the Commercial Sector in 29 May 2003…

  • Secundius

    “Navy Times” dated 26 December 2016, Surface Force Commander Vice Admiral Thomas S. Rowden plans to KEEP the Freedom/Independence Program Ongoing. Plans call for a Crew Size Increase from 50 to 70 in a Two Crew Rotation (similar to Gold/Blue). He wants to Place ALL Freedom class Boats on East Coast and ALL Independence class Boats on West Coast in Six Divisions of Four Ships each. Three Divisions on Each Coast. Plans call for 40 Boat Crews by End of 2017 and 46 Boat Crews by 2023…

    • old guy

      Knew his dad, good guy, but very political. Like father, like son.

  • Hopefully we can cut the budget of the useless Marines and Army to pay for the expansion. Everyone knows the USA faces unparalleled naval threats and the world has few threats on the ground.