Friday, April 30, 2021

355-ship fleet not possible with the Navy’s current budget, top admiral says


The Navy cannot achieve its mandated 355-ship fleet with its current budget constraints, the service’s top officer told House lawmakers Thursday.

The fiscal year 2021 budget can support a fleet of no more than “300 to 305,” though Congress in the 2018 National Defense Authorization Act required the Navy to achieve a 355-ship fleet “as soon as practicable,” Adm. Mike Gilday, chief of naval operations, said during a budget hearing with the House Appropriations Committee subpanel on defense.


Gilday said growing the fleet is necessary to address threats from strategic competitors such as China, which has the world’s largest navy with at least 350 ships, according to a Defense Department report issued in September on China’s military power.

“I see a future where it’s going to be more difficult for us to maintain that kind of forward presence we know we need … to compete and be in a position to deter both China and Russia,” Gilday told lawmakers.

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