The Biden administration’s emerging fleet plan incorporates smaller ships and large numbers of unmanned systems, as proposed by many strategists, but high costs, production limitations, and congressional opposition may prevent full implementation.
Unlike the other services, the Navy has sought to grow significantly. However, its previous plan to reach 355 ships collapsed. A new plan incorporates smaller ships and large numbers of unmanned systems.
The U.S. Navy is gearing up for great power conflict even as it struggles to meet day-to-day operational demands. In the second white paper in his series on the U.S. forces, CSIS’s Mark Cancian analyzes the Navy’s force structure, proposed changes, and long-term challenges.
The overall theme of this year’s military forces report is the struggle to align forces and strategy, unrelenting operational demands, and legacy programs whose smooth operations and strong constituencies inhibit rapid change.
There is no question that Pentagon’s 2020 budget takes significant steps to move the department from a focus on regional conflicts and counter-insurgency to a focus on great power conflicts. But the four services clearly are struggling with this balance.
The Navy had several viable approaches for adapting its carrier force to the new defense strategy. Instead, it opted to avoid a decision and will waste billions of dollars as a result. Funds for shipbuilding are too scarce to waste. It’s time to make a decision about carriers.