Trump wants 350-ship Navy, but how and why?
There could be a lot more ships in the Navy’s future, though it remains unclear where the money will come from and exactly how those ships might be used.
President-elect Donald Trump pledged to boost the fleet to 350 ships, a proposal advocated by an outgoing Virginia congressman reportedly being considered as the next Navy secretary.
“My plan will build the 350 ship Navy we need,” Trump said in an Oct. 21 speech, according to his campaign website. “This will be the largest effort at rebuilding our military since Ronald Reagan, and it will require a truly national effort.”
The speech provided no additional details. However, U.S. Naval Institute News reported that a source close to Trump attributed the idea to Rep. Randy Forbes, whose southeast Virginia district is part of the Navy’s East Coast hub.
The Navy’s 272-ship deployable fleet is operating under a 30-year shipbuilding plan that would bring it up to 308 ships.
However, just getting the service up to 308 would require $4.5 billion more in annual shipbuilding spending than planned, according to the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office.
Getting to 350 would cost about $4 billion more annually on top of that, according to a Nov. 9 Congressional Research Service report. That doesn’t include several billion dollars more in maintenance, staffing, weapons acquisition and long-term costs.
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