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Navy Force Structure and Shipbuilding Plans: Background and Issues for Congress

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Technical Report

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The current and planned size and composition of the Navy, the rate of Navy ship procurement, and the prospective affordability of the Navys shipbuilding plans have been oversight matters for the congressional defense committees for many years. On December 15, 2016, the Navy released a new force-structure goal that calls for achieving and maintaining a fleet of 355 ships of certain types and numbers. Key points about this new 355-ship force-level goal include the following The 355-ship force-level goal is the result of a new Force Structure Assessment FSA conducted by the Navy. An FSA is an analysis in which the Navy solicits inputs from U.S. regional combatant commanders CCDRs regarding the types and amounts of Navy capabilities that CCDRs deem necessary for implementing the Navys portion of the national military strategy, and then translates those CCDR inputs into required numbers of ships, using current and projected Navy ship types. The analysis takes into account Navy capabilities for both warfighting and day-to-day forward-deployed presence. The Navy conducts an FSA every few years, as circumstances require, to determine its force-structure goal the new 355-ship force-level goal replaces a 308-ship force-level goal that the Navy released in March 2015. The actual size of the Navy in recent years has generally been between 270 and 290 ships Compared to the previous 308-ship force-level goal, the new 355-ship force-level goal includes 47 additional ships, or about 15 more ships, including 18 attack submarines, 1 aircraft carrier, 16 large surface combatants i.e., cruisers and destroyers, 4 amphibious ships, and 8 other ships. The 355-ship force-level goal is the largest force-level goal that the Navy has released since a 375-ship force-level goal that was in place in 2002-2004. In the years between that 375-ship goal and the new 355-ship goal, Navy force-level goals were generally in the low 300s.

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  • Naval Surface Warfare
  • Military Forces and Organizations
  • Marine Engineering

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