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Navy Eyeing Alternative Way to Beef Up Fleet

However, the CBO assumed that all of the additional ships in the larger Navy would come from new construction, noted Bryan Clark, a naval analyst at the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments. “That combination of [service life extensions] and then new construction could mean that you could get to a larger fleet sooner and then with a little less cost,” he said. “But you’re still going to have probably … an approximately 20 percent larger shipbuilding budget being needed” to reach 355 ships.

In the News

Mattis telegraphs pursuit of 5 percent budget growth beginning in FY-19

Kate Blakeley, a budget analyst with the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments, said partisan politics were likely to throw a wrench in Mattis' plans for budget growth. "In this political environment, the Pentagon should brace for another four years of continuing resolutions and funding delays, with only limited topline increases," she said. Blakeley said a 3 percent to 5 percent growth rate would mean DOD would have a base budget somewhere between $700 billion and $770 billion by FY-22, or 15 percent to 30 percent bigger than the FY-18 request. "The only way that kind of defense budget growth has a prayer of happening is if Sec. Mattis convinces President Trump and the rest of the administration that national security spending must be considered on its own merits, not paid for by ever-deeper cuts to other government efforts," she said.

In the News

CNO: Navy ‘Taking a Hard Look’ at Bringing Back Oliver Hazard Perry Frigates, DDG Life Extensions as Options to Build Out 355 Ship Fleet

Bryan Clark, a naval analyst at the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments and former aide to retired former Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Jonathan Greenert, told USNI News that the missions for the frigates would be limited and the cost would be high in reintroducing them to the fleet. “The Perry class are going to be an expensive proposition to bring out of mothballs and maintain just for the purpose of going out and doing some presence missions,” Clark said. “You’re talking about having to come up with a 150 billets for each of those ships out of an already stressed manpower pool. They’re also not going to offer that much in terms of combat capability. So if you bring them back, they’re essentially going to be like how they were when they left the fleet, which was as a theater security cooperation, maritime security asset.”


The New World Disorder

During Donald Trump’s presidency and after, US foreign policy is likely to be wracked by crises.  From the instability and violence in Ukraine, to the unrelenting turmoil in the Middle East, to the provocations of an increasingly dangerous North Korea, to the dangers posed by a rising China in the South China Sea and elsewhere, American policymakers are currently facing crises more numerous and geopolitically significant than at any time in a generation.  Crises, however, are merely symptoms of deeper changes in the structure of global affairs.  And so for the United States to meet these challenges effectively, American officials will first need to come to grips with the fact that global politics are now changing in profound ways.  The fundamental fact of international politics today is that the post-Cold War era has ended, and the United States now confronts a more disordered, difficult, and contested global arena.

In the News

Navy identifies aircraft carrier midlife refueling as LCS budget offset

Bryan Clark, a senior fellow at the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments, told ITN June 8 the Navy could send Congress a letter describing the budget offset but, because Congress has its own appropriation and authorization processes, it does not need an amended budget. "Congress gets to decide what to buy and how," he continued. "In effect, the budget is just a recommendation to Congress, so they could add a LCS using [Overseas Contingency Operations] funds or another offset."

In the News

How to Fast-Track to an Improved Navy

“This was a very focused excursion into how we could do better with what we already have with modest adjustments in the next few years,” said Bryan McGrath, one of the co-authors of a recent fleet architecture study conducted by the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments. “I was grateful to see that group of smart people had looked very hard at the near-term horizon. There are a world of things we can do in the next few years that are interesting and can have impact.”  But McGrath noted that “there’s a considerable amount of diplomacy to be done to make those things happen,” referring to the multiple forward-basing proposals. He also brought up another issue.  “There has to be a reason why, a sense of urgency, compelling reasons to force the Navy and Congress to make these adjustments,” McGrath observed. “But that compelling narrative has not been created, and no one is out preaching it. I know in my heart there is one.  “I think Admiral MIller’s team makes a very useful contribution that when a compelling narrative arrives that makes these things important, they will be useful first steps, and relatively straightforward to implement. But without that narrative it’s going to be difficult to pull off.”