WASHINGTON: The Navy's new Force Structure Assessment calling for a 355-ship fleet puts an important intellectual arrow in Donald Trump‘s quiver as he campaigns for more ships. But it doesn't put any more money in the budget to buy them, or any more machinery in shipyards to build them. The Navy analysis will shape the budget debate, starting with the supplemental spending request Trump is likely to introduce early in his term, but there are many obstacles along the road to 355, a road that may well take into the 2030s.
“What's really important about this report is it came from Barack Obama's secretary of the Navy [Ray Mabus], which I think will help depoliticize, to some degree, this issue,” said Rep. Joe Courtney, the ranking Democrat on the House seapower subcommittee. “If this report was part of the new president's budget, if that was the first we saw of it, I think frankly the politics would have been more challenging.”