America faces a national security crisis as we allow our naval fleet to shrink. The Navy currently has 294 ships in the fleet. That number will drop to 290 by next year. Based on previously enacted budgets, this country is on its way to a 250 ship Navy. Current budget practices of providing an average of six ships a year will shrink the fleet to 180.
In the post 9/11 world, the U. S. naval fleet is being stretched beyond its limits. prior to 9/11, Naval Fleet Commanders testified that 360 to 400 ships were needed to execute the military strategy in response to high operating tempos. Since 9/11, Chief of Naval Operations, ADM Vern Clark, has testified before Congress that the Nation needs a naval fleet of 375 ships to meet present and emerging threats to our homeland.
Below are some materials to demonstrate how the fleet has declined and how it will only get worse as ships are not replaced as quickly as they are retired.
You can also download a Microsoft powerpoint presentation with all the charts listed below by right clicking here (and selecting “Save Target As”). To view the presentation, click on any of the slides below.