Lawmakers and Navy leadership spent the past year going back and forth over how to count the number of ships in the Battle Force fleet. The Navy made some changes last spring that immediately increased the size of the fleet and complicated the ship-counting effort: certain ships would count only if they were forward deployed but not if they returned home to the United States. Congress pushed back, passing into law what was essentially a compromise counting rule – and the third methodology to be used in a one-year span.
As a result of the back-and-forth, the Navy’s most recent ship-count projection it submitted to Congress contains two sets of figures: one with the Navy’s preferred method, and one following Congress’s rule.
The dueling methods have led to confusing charts and tables earlier this year, but the conflict over how to count Navy ships is not new – the Carter and Reagan administrations both created their own sets of rules for counting ships. Read More