APRIL 6, 2018 – The Congressional Research Service (CRS) has issued a new report “Navy Force Structure and Shipbuilding Plans: Background and Issues for Congress” that looks at the Navy’s latest plans to achieve a 355 ship fleet.
Additional shipbuilding funds are only a fraction of the total costs that would be needed to achieve and maintain the Navy’s 355-ship fleet instead of the previously envisaged 308-ship fleet, says the report. CBO estimated in 2017 that, adding together both shipbuilding costs and ship operation and support (O&S) costs, the Navy’s 355-ship fleet would cost an average of about $11 billion to $23 billion more per year in constant FY2017 dollars than the previously envisaged 308-ship fleet. This figure does not include additional costs for manned aircraft, unmanned systems, and weapons. Depending on total levels of defense spending in coming years, achieving and maintaining a 355-ship fleet could require reducing funding levels for other Department of Defense (DOD) programs.
The U.S. shipbuilding industrial base has some unused capacity to take on increased Navy shipbuilding work, particularly for certain kinds of surface ships, and its capacity could be increased further over time to support higher Navy shipbuilding rates. Navy shipbuilding rates could not be increased steeply across the board overnight—time (and investment) would be needed to hire and train additional workers and increase production facilities at shipyards and supplier firms, particularly for supporting higher rates of submarine production. Over a period of a few to several years, with investment and management attention, Navy shipbuilding could ramp up to higher rates for achieving a 355-ship fleet over a period of 20 to 30 years.
Read the report HERE