How did US Navy fleet lose 9 ships?
Between February and March, the U.S. Navy lost nine ships.
The web page where the service lists its vital statistics — including number of people, number of ships, etc. — showed a fleet of 284 ships on Feb. 27. But on March 2, the page listed only 275 ships, according to a Defense News report.
Last year, the Obama administration changed the way it counts the fleet, adding ships that were previously not counted. The resulting fleet jumped from 283 ships to 290, the report said.
Opponents in Congress cried foul, the News said, arguing the Navy was inflating its size, and inserted language into the 2015 Defense Authorization Act forcing the service to return to the old ways of counting. It's those requirements that the Navy has just implemented.
"Ship-counting changes reflect direction outlined in the 2015 act," said Lt. Rob Myers, a Navy spokesman at the Pentagon told Defense News. "The change in the numbers does not reflect an actual change in our ship inventory; rather, what has changed is the counting methodology, which excludes certain ships such as patrol coastal ships and hospital ships. Despite these changes, we affirm our commitment to reaching over 300 ships by the early 2020s and this is reinforced by ship procurement in our 2016 budget submission."
No one's arguing about aircraft carriers, submarines, destroyers or amphibious. It's the ships on the fringes that are under contention.
It's a political move, the Defense News report said. Republicans bashing the president for under-funding shipbuilding want to keep the fleet number down, while Democrats say the fleet has actually grown since an all-time low of 275 ships during the Bush administration.
Read the Defense News report here.