skip to main content

US Navy prepares for shipbuilding plan changes

After releasing a shipbuilding plan in December 2020 that called for a significant fleet increase, US Navy (USN) officials say they now expect a course change with the arrival of the new administration led by President Joe Biden.

“The last administration [under former president Donald Trump] had a very aggressive focus on shipbuilding,” acting Navy Secretary Thomas Harker said on 2 February during his keynote address at the National Defense Industrial Association (NDIA) 2021 Virtual Expeditionary Warfare Conference.

“They diverted funds from some areas,” he said. “They also identified internal deficiencies. There were a lot of savings identified.”

The USN and Pentagon were counting on a topline growth of 2.1% inflation and an additional 2% real growth – an increase that most defence analysts called unlikely. that the December shipbuilding plan called for 403 traditional battle force ships by fiscal year (FY) 2045, compared with 296 now and 546 total platforms, including unmanned, by that year.

Harker said he did not think the navy would now retain “everything” in the plan.

Referring to the new administration, he said, “I don’t know what the priorities are.”

However, he noted the Pentagon has indicated its continued belief that China is the basic threat to the US. “That means it’s a maritime strategy,” he said.

The expectation, he said, is the navy force will still continue to grow to meet a fleet of 355 ships, as set by law.

The new proposed FY 2022 budget proposal, usually set to be released in February, will be delayed, he confirmed. “The timeline for us to present the budget is to hopefully get something over to Congress in May,” he said.

Looking to read the full article?

Gain unlimited access to Janes news and more...