WASHINGTON, D.C. — The chairman of the House Armed Services seapower and projection forces subcommittee believes the Navy can reach a 355-ship fleet in the 25- to 30-year timeframe, given industrial base capacity and expected funding levels.
Rep. Rob Wittman (R-Va.) told USNI News today that, based on a Congressional Budget Office report, achieving a 355-ship fleet in under 20 years would be impossible due to industrial base capacity, and so the question for lawmakers is now whether they want to aim for a 20-, 25- or 30-year track.
“I believe that we can truly send that signal (to industry) and we can get that production ramped up to where we can get to 355 I think somewhere in the 25- to 30-year timeframe,” Wittman said at an event cohosted by the Center for Strategic and International Studies and the U.S. Naval Institute.
After the event, he told USNI News that spending an additional $5 to $6 billion a year above recent averages for shipbuilding would get the Navy to 355 ships in 25 years. While he would like to speed up that timeline a bit, the reality of continuing resolutions, budget caps and other political hurdles may slow the shipbuilding spree to a 25- to 30-year pace instead.
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