|Image: Flickr User - Greg Bishop|
By SYDNEY J. FREEDBERG JR.
PENTAGON: Despite his campaign pledge of a 350-ship fleet, President Trump’s first budget cuts Navy shipbuilding and aircraft procurement below what was enacted in 2017, documents released today reveal. Despite Trump’s criticism of President Obama’s defense plans, this budget sticks with Obama’s shipbuilding plan for 2018: eight ships. And it actually buys eight fewer aircraft than Obama planned.
So we were overly optimistic last week when we predicted Trump would add at least one warship (a $1.8 billion Aegis destroyer) and possibly two (a $550 million Littoral Combat Ship) to the Obama plan. Instead, it adds zip, zero — nada.
Even the mix of types is exactly the same as under Obama:
- one aircraft carrier (the future CVN-80, Enterprise);
- two attack submarines (Virginia-class SSNs);
- two Aegis destroyers (Arleigh Burke-class DDGs);
- one Littoral Combat Ship or — if the new class can be started in time — a frigate;
- and two support ships (a T-ATS tug/salvage ship and a “T-Interim,” presumably what was previously called the T-AO(X) oiler).
We have heard persistent rumors that OMB director Mick Mulvaney added a second Littoral Combat Ship at the last minute after a working group warned him that buying only a single LCS would shutter one of the two shipyards involved. “There’s a discussion right now on whether or not we add some additional Littoral Combat Ships,” Mulvaney told the Hugh Hewitt Show on May 4th. “We did not add any of those as part of this $21 billion dollar request…The Navy doesn’t want them.”
Read the full story at Breaking Defense