The US Navy is assuring lawmakers that its proposed 2022 budget will meet key priorities, and that the budget will support its vision even if not supporting an investment strategy which will meet fleet size goals. The Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Mike Gilday commented in a 2021 interview that the budget request for next year would continue to provide funding for increased capabilities across the Navy, but that this would not translate to a larger fleet size unless size of the budget was increased.
William Davies, Associate Analyst at GlobalData comments: “The budget that the Navy have submitted will likely cause friction with Congress, especially because it does not provide details about how ship numbers will change beyond the next year. Congress continues to push to for the Navy to achieve and maintain the 355-ship goal, but recent budgets have failed to show that the fleet is on track to reach it.”
The Navy is required to provide Congress with a 30-year plan on fleet size every year, outlining how many ships it intends to procure and when – but they have increasingly overlooked this requirement in recent years with 2022 being no exception. The capabilities that the Navy is pushing for include a greater number of fifth-generation aircraft (F-35C), development of deployable hypersonic missiles, and investment in sensors and network architecture, improving the Navy’s battle management effectiveness as part of ‘Project Overmatch’.
Davies continues: “The Navy is asking for eight ships in its FY22 budget, and Congress will potentially add more to that – but even with these additions the Navy is not on track to reach its 355-ship goal and this will likely antagonize members of Congress who are concerned about China’s growing naval power.”
The ships that the Navy are requesting funding for include one Arleigh Burke-class Flight III destroyer and two Virginia-class attack submarines amongst others, and will cost $18 Billion in total. Top of its ‘unfunded priorities’ list is a second destroyer; which Congress is likely to fulfill. Additionally, the Navy is requesting to decommission seven Ticonderoga-class cruisers as well as three Freedom-Class Littoral Combat Ships – but this is likely to encounter Congressional pushback.