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7 Things to Know About the Pentagon’s New Plan for a 500-Ship Navy Fleet

The secretary of defense this week detailed an aggressive new plan to significantly boost the Navy fleet to more than 500 vessels, with an emphasis on attack submarines, unmanned ships and "light carriers."

Defense Secretary Mark Esper on Tuesday unveiled the long-awaited results of a Navy review to determine the size of the future fleet. Coined Battle Force 2045, Esper said the future fleet will eventually include more than 500 manned and unmanned ships, making it a "more lethal, survivable, adaptable, sustainable, modern and larger force than we have seen in many years."

"If we can assemble the collective will and determination to see it through, I'm confident Battle Force 2045 will maintain our maritime superiority far into the future and ensure the United States Navy remains the greatest in the world for generations to come," he said.

The new plan, which matched a document Defense News first obtained and reported on last month, marks a significant increase in the 355-ship fleet the Navy has been working toward. Esper acknowledged the U.S. will face challenges in building a 500-plus ship fleet under tightening budgets. But he stressed the buildup is necessary, citing China's troubling and "brazen destabilizing" actions in the Asia-Pacific region, as well as Beijing's plans to modernize its force in the next 15 years and field "a world-class military by 2049."

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