Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator John McCain (R-AZ), Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, released the following statement today on the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments’ new U.S. Navy fleet architecture studies. The studies are available here, here and here:
“Nearly two years ago, I called for studies of U.S. Navy future fleet platform architectures in the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2016 for three primary reasons. First, 11 Navy combatant ship classes begin to retire in large numbers between 2020 and 2035. Second, other world powers are challenging our Navy’s ability to conduct sea control and project power. Third, as the Columbia-class submarine program proceeds, it is projected to consume the equivalent of one-third to one-half of the historical shipbuilding budget, which is already insufficient to meet the Navy’s desired force levels. Given the confluence of these three trends, now is the time for Navy leaders to consider a broad range of future fleet architecture options and set the Navy on the proper course for decades to come.
“Yesterday I received the three studies, which are an impressive body of work that Navy leaders must draw upon to increase the warfighting capability and capacity of the future fleet. Performed by a Navy team, the Mitre Corporation, and the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments (CSBA), the studies were independent yet reached many similar conclusions, including the need for:
- “a significantly larger fleet compared to today’s 275 ships;
- “naval forces to operate in a more distributed manner;
- “increased use of unmanned systems;
- “smaller aircraft carriers;
- “increased lethality of weapons systems; and
- “adjustments to naval aviation, logistics, future surface combatants and amphibious forces.
“Furthermore, two of the studies call for transitioning from variants of the Littoral Combat Ship to a more capable Frigate as quickly as possible.
“I am particularly impressed with the comprehensiveness of the CSBA study, which should serve as the starting point for the new administration’s review of naval forces. The study clearly recognizes the great power competitions at hand and the imperative to deter great power conflict. It proposes necessary new strategic, operational, basing, and force structure recommendations that deserve immediate consideration by Navy leaders.
“My recent white paper ‘Restoring American Power’ has much in common with these studies and recommendations. The question now is what tangible steps Navy leaders will take to turn these recommendations into reality. I look forward to reviewing their proposals and working with them to build the future fleet.”