JUST IN: Navy chief says flat budget will hamper fleet growth (updated)
Photo by Marine Photographer’s Mate 3rd Class Rob Gaston
The Navy will not meet its fleet growth targets if the service does not receive a budgetary boost, Chief of Naval Operations Mike Gilday said on July 20.
There are currently just under 300 ships in the Navy’s manned combat force. The 30-year shipbuilding plan released in December in the last weeks of the Trump administration, called for increasing the fleet to 316 ships by 2026 and to 355 by the early 2030s.
“I still think 355 is a good target, but the reality is that we can’t really afford to have a larger Navy than we can sustain given the resources we are receiving,” he said. declared at a Navy League event. “Based on our current budget, I think the analysis shows that we can afford a fleet of around 300 ships, which includes manning, training, equipment, supply parts, ammunition. ,… Flight hours, all that. “
In June, the Biden administration provided an update to Congress that envisioned a fleet of 321 to 372 manned vessels. A new, more detailed 30-year shipbuilding plan is expected to be released along with the fiscal year 2023 budget request next year, according to Navy documents.
It will be difficult to develop the Navy towards a fleet of 355 vessels “if our turnover remains the same or if it decreases”, added Gilday. “If it goes down, I think we’re probably going to see a declining fleet in terms of capacity.”
Sixty percent of the Navy’s budget is for manpower, operations and maintenance, Gilday noted. “These costs increase on an annual basis at about… two and a half percent above inflation. It will eat away at our ability to grow [to a] capacity that will never reach more than 300 vessels depending on how we are currently funded. ”
President Joe Biden’s budget request for fiscal year 2022 would increase Navy revenue slightly but reduce the service’s funding for shipbuilding and aircraft purchases, according to documents released on May 28.
In the request, the Department of the Navy, which also includes the Marine Corps, would receive revenue of $ 211.7 billion, an increase of 1.8 percent over the enacted budget of $ 207.1 billion. dollars for fiscal year 2021.
The Navy’s shipbuilding account would decrease by $ 700 million to a total of $ 22.6 billion. The request would maintain a fleet of 296 vessels.
In recent days, Gilday has testified before members of Congress about the tax proposal and described the service’s investment strategy for the revenue proposed by Biden. Congress holds the power of the stock exchange, and officials determine the amount of funds the military receives.
“I really spoke about the need to make strategic investments in three key areas,” Gilday said at the Navy League event. One of them is the Columbia-class guided missile submarine, which is the service’s main procurement priority. “We need to deliver this platform on time before the end of the decade in 2028,” he noted.
Other areas of additional investment highlighted by Gilday include the need to strengthen shipyards and strategic maritime transport.
“It is an investment once a century that we must make [for shipyards] in order to maintain many of the submarines we build today, ”he said. “Strategic shipping is another area in which I feel we have under-invested for a number of years.
Update: This story has been updated to note that the Biden administration submitted an update to the shipbuilding plan to Congress in June.
The subjects: Navy News