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US Congressional Budget Office notes US Navy shipbuilding increase

The proposed US Navy (USN) 30-year shipbuilding plan requires more annual outlays than in previous budgets, according to a Congressional Budget Office (CBO) report released on 16 September.

“The cost of the navy's [fiscal year (FY)] 2022 plan would exceed recent shipbuilding budgets,” the CBO reported.

In June, the Pentagon submitted the USN's 30-year shipbuilding plan for FY 2022 to Congress, as required, to describe the annual inventory, purchases, deliveries, and retirements of the ships in its fleet over the next 30 years.

Under the 2022 plan, the CBO points out, the USN's fleet would grow from 296 manned ships at present to between 398 and 512 manned ships and unmanned vessels “at some unspecified date in the future”.

The number of manned ships would increase to between 321 and 372, and the inventory of unmanned surface and undersea vessels would rise from just a few prototypes now to between 77 and 140.

“The navy's 2022 plan discussed, in broad terms, how the fleet should evolve in coming decades to meet the nation's national security challenges,” the CBO noted. “However, it omitted many details that are found in previous plans, including all of the annual long-term projections. The plan also omitted any discussion of costs, other than the budget request for the ships the navy would purchase in 2022.”

The CBO completed its own cost analysis, estimating that the cost of shipbuilding for a fleet of 398–512 manned ships and unmanned vessels as envisioned in the 2022 plan would be about USD25 billion to USD33 billion, in FY 2021 dollars, per year, over 30 years, compared with an average of about USD23 billion per year over the past five years.

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