US Navy assessment backs Trump’s 350-plus ship plan

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A U.S. Navy report on its future naval force requirements is in line with U.S. president Donald Trump’s plans of building a 350-plus ship navy.

Trump announced the goal of a 350-ship navy during a speech in September when he said his plan was based on a 2014 Pentagon quadrennial review of projected threats and U.S. responses.

The 2016 Force Structure Assessment (FSA), unveiled by the Secretary of the Navy on Friday, recommends a 355-ship fleet including 12 carriers, 104 large surface combatants, 52 small surface combatants, 38 amphibious ships, and 66 submarines.

The assessment will be one input to the navy’s FY-2018 30-year shipbuilding plan. The current proposed navy budget is seen as a bridge to this larger navy, with shipbuilding on an upward glide slope towards 308 ships.

“To continue to protect America and defend our strategic interests around the world, all while continuing the counter terrorism fight and appropriately competing with a growing China and resurgent Russia, our navy must continue to grow,” said current Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus. “All of the analysis done to date, inside and outside of the Navy, recognizes, as we have for nearly the last eight years, the need for a larger fleet.”

This navy assessment opposes a warning made by Barrack Obama’s Secretary of Defense Ash Carter over a year ago who said the navy should emphasize quality over quantity.

The navy noted the 2016 FSA was not constrained by budget control act funding levels.

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