The following is the Aug. 9, 2023, memo from Secretary of the Navy Carlos Del Toro, Department of the Navy Two-Year Review.
From the memo
Today marks my second anniversary as your Secretary of the Navy and it continues to be an honor to serve by your side. In that time, our Navy and Marine Corps team has made much progress advancing our three enduring priorities: Strengthening Maritime Dominance, Building a Culture of Warfighting Excellence, and Enhancing Strategic Partnerships. Together we are improving readiness and modernization in order to ensure we can always fulfill our mission to be combat-ready; our future depends on the work we do today to create a more ready, modem, and capable Navy and Marine Corps team.
Visiting you at naval bases, shipyards, depots, training ranges, tarmacs, and runways world-wide, I have witnessed firsthand the progress you have made towards improving the training, readiness, and modernization of our fleet and force. Along with your senior leaders throughout the Department, I strive to ensure you have the resources you need today and well into the future. Thanks to your collective efforts, we have worked effectively with Congress via the President’s Budget Requests for Fiscal Years (FY) 2022-24 to increase the Department of the Navy’s top line budget by more than $47 billion, a 23% increase from FY 2021. There is still much work to be done, and this increased investment in our fleet and force by the American people is a sacred trust that reflects the centrality of the Navy and Marine Corps to our national security strategy in this era of competition.
The highlights below describe some of the ways we are making the most of the American people’s strategic investment:
- Taking Care of Our People First. You, the nearly one million Sailors, Marines, and Civilians who serve in our Department of the Navy, are our most valuable treasure and indeed the reason why so many allies, partners, and adversaries around the globe recognize us as the most powerful naval force in the world. With the support of our President and Secretary of Defense, we will continue to prioritize treating you with dignity and respect and we will make even more investments in your care, welfare, and training, as well as that of your family members who also sacrifice so much.Over the past two years, we have made significant investments in basic pay, housing, childcare, education, healthcare, and numerous other benefits. It’s absolutely the right thing to do and we pledge to continue to do so to make you the most combat- ready and well-cared for military in history. I also recognize the many remaining personnel challenges that we must face together to resolve.
- Shipbuilding. Since August 2021, we have delivered 17 battle force ships to the fleet that are far more capable than those we have retired. In partnership with Congress and industry, we are more efficiently and affordably procuring ships by leveraging the advantages of block buys and multi-year procurements that provide more predictable ship and submarine build schedules. We currently have 86 ships under contract with 54 in construction, including our highest modernization priority, the Columbia-Class SSBN. We just awarded nine Flight III DDG-51 destroyers last week. A year ago we began construction on the future USS CONSTELLATION (FFG-62) and we now have three additional frigates awarded that will provide added lethality to the small surface combatant force. Construction continues on the world’s most advanced aircraft carriers. The first operational deployment of the first-in-class USS GERALD R. FORD (CVN-78) earlier this year marks a new era in aircraft carrier operations. Our amphibious transport fleet also welcomed USS FORT LAUDERDALE (LPD-28), a ship that will provide added capability to our Navy and Marine Corps team in the conduct of maritime amphibious operations around the globe.
We recognize that the submarine industrial base (SIB), in particular, faces increased demand as the Navy ramps up production of the Columbia-Class while working to procure two Virginia-Class submarines per year. With congressional support, SIB investments have led to improved workforce hiring across our submarine shipbuilders and supply chain partners; the establishment of dedicated defense manufacturing trade centers and pipelines; and the training and placement of over 4,500 people within the industrial base since 2020. We expect these numbers to grow as we resolve COVID and supply-chain related challenges faced these past several years. I am committed to closing the gaps.
Download the document here.