Eaglen testifies to Congress: Navy’s 30-year shipbuilding plan doesn't match needs

Article Highlights

  • Navy's shipbuilding plan is based on dubious assumptions about increased life expectancy that will not survive reality

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  • Real sacrifices in Navy shipbuilding, both in terms of fleet size and future innovation, may come back to haunt us

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Eaglen testimony to HASC Oversight and Investigations, April 18, 2012

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While the Quadrennial Defense Review Independent Panel recommended a Navy of 346 ships in order to meet global requirements and ensure continued deterrence in vital regions like the Asia-Pacific, the Navy’s latest shipbuilding plan produces a fleet averaging 298 ships. Rather than recommending increases in naval and air forces in order to meet increased regional commitments, the Obama administration’s 30-year shipbuilding plan for 2013 shrinks the force. Yet a smaller Navy and Air Force are widely expected to see increased demands on their personnel and equipment as a result of the latest guidance.

AEI resident scholar Mackenzie Eaglen testified Wednesday to the U.S. House Armed Services Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations, in which she explained that the 2013 long-term shipbuilding plan "does not accurately portray the forces or funding necessary to execute the administration’s strategy."

"There is a growing disconnect between resources and strategy that should not go unaddressed by members of this committee. This plan is based on dubious assumptions about increased life expectancy that will not survive reality. ... While the Navy gets some things right in the new shipbuilding plan, this service is making real sacrifices both in terms of fleet size and future innovation that may come back to haunt all of us."

Eaglen also offered an assessment of the plan on AEI's Enterprise blog, where she described the Navy's decisions as "hopelessly optimistic."

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About the Author


  • Mackenzie Eaglen has worked on defense issues in the U.S. Congress, both House and Senate, and at the Pentagon in the Office of the Secretary of Defense and on the Joint Staff. She specializes in defense strategy, budget, military readiness and the defense industrial base. In 2010, Ms. Eaglen served as a staff member of the congressionally mandated Quadrennial Defense Review Independent Panel, a bipartisan, blue-ribbon commission established to assess the Pentagon's major defense strategy. A prolific writer on defense related issues, she has also testified before Congress.


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