Welcome to the (Hopefully) 296-Ship Navy
The president’s fiscal year 2022 budget request has gone live and it includes a modest 2.7 percent pay raise (what is the inflation rate?) and “the largest-ever research, development, test and evaluation request — $112 billion, which is a 5.1% increase over fiscal 2021.”
Notably for the Navy, what isn’t mentioned much is a series of cuts to the fleet, at a time when China, Russia, and Iran are all rattling sabers and hulls are spending record amounts of time underway.
Gone are 7 of the beautiful, but aging Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruisers (with 854 VLS cells), four more almost brand new Littoral Combat Ships, an amphibious warship, the remaining legacy F/A-18C/D Hornets (possibly replaced in the aggressor role with retired USAF/ANG F-16Cs), and a dozen Mark VI patrol boats (the newest of which were delivered in 2015!) for saving $1.2 billion in FY2022 budget proposal.
This comes as the Navy’s proposed $211.7B budget is an increase of $3.8B (1.8%) from the FY 2021 enacted budget received from Congress and just eight new ships (half of them auxiliaries) are requested. On the upside, maintenance for sidelined ships and R&D dollars for the next war, as well as building up Guam as an increasingly vital (albeit easy to target) forward hub, is increased.
The bottom line: