The US Navy Needs More Money, Its Top Admiral Bluntly Argues

 In China, GDI, Russia, Defense, Sea

The sea ser­vice is push­ing for a fleet of 355 ships in the next decade, and that’s not count­ing unmanned ves­sels.

The U.S. Navy needs more money for war­ships — per­haps tens of bil­lions of dol­lars more over the next decade — if it is to keep pace with China and Russia, its top admi­ral said.

“We need more money,” Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Michael Gilday said blunt­ly Tuesday at a Surface Navy Association con­fer­ence in Arlington, Virginia. “There’s broad agree­ment across the gov­ern­ment that our Navy needs to grow,” Gilday said. “We need to pursue unmanned tech­nolo­gies and we need to solve tough tech­nol­o­gy and policy issues asso­ci­at­ed with unmanned instead of run­ning away from them.”

The admi­ral spoke less than a month before the White House is to send Congress a 2021 defense budget that is capped at $740 bil­lion — up just $2 bil­lion after after three years of sub­stan­tial growth.

The Navy has been want­i­ng to build a fleet of 355 ships by 2030, up from the 293 it has today. In the coming week, Navy lead­ers plan to unveil a new force struc­ture assess­ment detail­ing the types of ships needed to ful­fill its mis­sions.

The admi­ral said that the 355 will not include unmanned ves­sels. Insted, the Navy will give a sep­a­rate rec­om­men­da­tion of the number of unmanned ships it needs. 

“We haven’t made a deci­sion yet that those [unmanned ships] are going to be includ­ed as battle force num­bers because they’re con­cep­tu­al,” Gilday siad.

There’s been a long-run­ning debate about whether unmanned ships and sub­marines should count toward the 355-ship fleet, par­tic­u­lar­ly as the unmanned ves­sels grow in size and the types of weapons they could carry.

Gilday said his high­est acqui­si­tion pri­or­i­ty is the Columbia-class sub­ma­rine, the future bearer of the sea-based leg of the nuclear triad. The class, which cur­rent­ly con­sumes 20 to 25 per­cent of the Navy’s ship­build­ing bud­gets, and its share will grow to more than 30 per­cent by the mid-2020s, he said.

Source: Defense One

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