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Pentagon budget 2024: US Navy targets ships for early retirement

The US Navy intends to retire guided-missile cruiser USS Cowpens earlier than its planned service life. (US Navy)

The proposed US Navy (USN) fiscal year (FY) 2024 budget includes the early retirement of eight ships as the service looks to divest of expensive platforms the navy deems to be unworthy of further investment, according to USN budget documents released on 13 March.

“The department's budget includes a reduction of 11 ships, eight of which are listed here before their end-of-service-life (ESL),” USN Undersecretary Erik Raven said during a 13 March media briefing about the budget.

The ships being retired before their ESL are the following: Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruisers USS Cowpens (CG 63), USS Shiloh (CG 67), and USS Vicksburg (CG 69); Whidbey Island-class landing dock ships (LSDs) USS Germantown (LSD 42), USS Gunston Hall (LSD 44), and USS Tortuga (LSD 46); and Independence-class littoral combat ships (LCSs) USS Jackson (LCS 6) and USS Montgomery (LCS 8).

The USN is decommissioning ships early, “as we commit to more lethal, more modern platforms”, Raven said.

“For the cruisers and LSDs, the decision to request this divestment was based on material condition, life remaining, cost, and then time to upgrade. And then, of course, the warfighting value. These six vessels did not pass that ROI [return on investment] analysis. In addition to the time and money saved with this divestment, we will also free up over 1,500 sailors to support higher-priority efforts,” he added.

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