Not since the Cold War era has the demand on Navy shipbuilding been so high, but the difference now is a flat defense budget and a decade of lost buying power, a top service official told lawmakers.
By law, the Navy must have a 355-ship fleet but presently has just 296 ships, and its latest 30-year shipbuilding plan would not reach the requirement until 2031 to 2033 if it was funded fully. But that plan projects 4.1% budget increases each year. This year’s defense budget is flat (0% growth), making the benchmark to keep pace with China’s rapidly growing navy impossible, service officials and hawkish lawmakers warn.
“Competition on, under, and above the seas is intensifying,” Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Michael Gilday told members of the House Appropriations Committee in a hearing on the fiscal year 2022 Navy and Marine Corps budget.
“China and Russia are rapidly modernizing their militaries, attempting to undermine our alliances,