The Navy can begin building up its fleet size in the near-term through accelerating hot production lines of relevant warships, but going forward it will need to focus on the weapons, unmanned vehicles and networks that will boost the capability of both individual hulls and the fleet as a whole.
Chief of Naval Operations Adm. John Richardson, in a call with reporters Monday night, outlined a new plan to achieve a larger and more capable fleet on an accelerated timeline. A linear increase in combat capability through building new ships at today’s rate would not be sufficient to keep up with growing global threats, he said.
“We need to act urgently to achieve that greater naval power as quickly as we can,” the Navy’s top admiral said in the call. “So as we think about it, we’re going to be targeting something in the mid-2020s, exponential types of growth, step types of growth, rather than linear types of growth which would achieve this level of power out decades beyond.”
The Navy was ordered by Congress to conduct several studies last year to look at the appropriate size and composition of the fleet in the mid-term, around 2035 to 2040, but the CNO said the Navy could not afford to wait that long.
The service is on track to reach a Navy of about 310 ships, Richardson said, but needs to get creative to grow faster.
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