The Navy has been called to grow its fleet in the face of an aggressively growing Chinese navy, but leadership changes and conflicting shipbuilding plans have bewildered Congress in recent years.
Now, the chief of naval operations tells the Washington Examiner that competition with China is not about the size of the U.S. fleet the way it was when then-President Ronald Reagan mandated 600 ships to face the Soviet Union.
In recent years, the Navy has suffered ship collisions brought on by fatigued crews, overpriced and late-delivered combat ships, and questions about industrial base capacity. The service also cycled through military and civilian leadership while Pentagon leaders tried to prove the U.S. Navy could compete with China by promising an ever-increasing, but unfunded, fleet size that by October reached a goal of 500 manned and unmanned ships without clearly explaining to members of Congress how the vessels would be paid for.
Adm. Michael Gilday said