Today, American Enterprise Institute (AEI) defense expert Mackenzie Eaglen will testify before the House Armed Services Committee's oversight subcommittee on the US Navy's shipbuilding plan, which will shrink the Navy at the time when the demands on it are increasing.
Eaglen's testimony can be found here.
"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 will explain:
- PIVOT TO ASIA MEANS NUMBERS MATTER: President Obama has issued defense guidance emphasizing the importance of Asia yet the administration's new plan reduces the 313-ship goal that was considered the minimum needed by the last Chief of Naval Operations to a fleet averaging just 298 ships. But the Asia-Pacific region's "tyranny of distance" means quantity still matters.
- OUR FLEET IS SHRINKING: The Navy's latest plans show the service retiring ships faster than it can build them. As the fleet shrinks in size, it also changes its mix from a force heavily equipped with major surface combatants, submarines and carriers to one emphasizing small surface combatants and transport vessels in the near-term.
- MISMATCH BETWEEN GOALS AND ABILITIES: Since the 2013 defense budget does not match the goals or objectives of the newest defense guidance, the Pentagon is becoming increasingly crafty in how it presents information to paint a rosier picture. Ships that were not counted in previous shipbuilding plans are included in the Navy's newest version in order to artificially prop up the numbers. But changing how the Navy counts ships cannot disguise the simple fact that this plan shrinks the Navy at the very time the demands on it are increasing with new strategic guidance and a 'pivot' to Asia.
Mackenzie Eaglen is at defense expert at AEI's Marilyn Ware Center for Security Studies. She has worked on defense issues in the House and Senate, in the office of the Secretary of Defense at the Pentagon, and on the Joint Staff. Eaglen is available for interviews and can be reached at email@example.com or through firstname.lastname@example.org (202.862.5945).
For help or additional media requests, please contact Jesse Blumenthal at email@example.com or 202.862.4870.