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State of the Navy 2023


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Has the fleet settled on a consensus shipbuilding plan just in time to be disrupted by the unmanned revolution? When U.S. Navy leaders unveiled their fourth long-term shipbuilding plan in as many years last April, lawmakers were a bit surprised to see it take the form of a menu. The 30-year plan this years edition of the annual update required by Congress offers definite quantities of various ship types only out to 2027, wrote Defense Ones Caitlin Kenney. To cover the rest of the years through 2052, the 28-page document offers three sets of numbers albeit with a common plan for ship retirements. Each option calls for shrinking the fleet now to free up funds to enlarge it later. Navy officials said this unusual offering reflected the rising difficulty of looking forward more than about a decade. But after several years of rip-it-up-and-start-over, the fiscal-2023 plan may also be a somewhat desperate attempt to chart a course that the Navy and its contractors can follow for at least a few budget cycles. The planning turmoil of the past few years has not helped solve the central conundrum: to keep up with China, the U.S. Navy needs far more ships than its recent budgets will support.



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