Daily Memo: The Future of the US Navy

A new study is expected to recommend a dramatic increase in the U.S. fleet.

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You sank my drone. The Pentagon is expected to release its long-awaited “Future Navy Force Study” in the coming weeks. It looks like the study will recommend a whopping increase in the fleet’s size and some interesting changes in its composition. According to Defense News, which says it obtained an early draft of the findings, the study may recommend a fleet of between 480 and 530 ships. That’s a dramatic increase from the current target, 355 ships by 2030, which itself was a large jump from the Obama administration’s target of 308 warships by this year. The bulk of the increase, interestingly, would come from unmanned vessels. This makes sense both from a budgetary standpoint and a strategic one, as it reflects the broader emerging consensus in Washington that, to counter China’s own massive naval and missile buildups and accompanying militarization of coast guard and even fishing fleets, the U.S. Navy needs a much more distributed fleet and basing structure. In other words, less emphasis on carrier-based operations, more on building a fleet where a single, well-placed Chinese anti-ship missile wouldn’t be devastating. Though this is just the early stages of a long process of transformation in America’s posture in […]

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