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The Pentagon is eyeing a 500-ship Navy, documents reveal


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534 rowboats, that's the ticket! Think of how many admirals they can make with that one.

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The Pentagon is eyeing a 500-ship Navy, documents reveal

WASHINGTON — The Pentagon’s upcoming recommendation for a future Navy is expected to call for a significant increase in the number of ships, with officials discussing a fleet as large as 530 hulls, according to documents obtained by Defense News.

Supporting documents to the forthcoming Future Navy Force Study reviewed by Defense News show the Navy moving towards a lighter force with many more ships but fewer aircraft carriers and large surface combatants. Instead, the fleet would include more small surface combatants, unmanned ships and submarines and an expanded logistics force.

Two groups commissioned by Secretary of Defense Mark Esper to design what a future Navy should look like suggested fleets of anywhere from 480 to 534 ships, when manned and unmanned platforms are accounted for — at least a 35 percent increase in fleet size from the current target of 355 manned ships by 2030.

The numbers all come from an April draft of inputs to the Future Navy Force Study conducted by the Office of the Secretary of Defense. While the number will likely have changed somewhat in final recommendations recently sent to Esper, the plans being discussed in April are notable as they reflect what will likely be major shift in the Navy’s future — and the expectation is that a larger-than-planned Navy based on the concepts laid out in the documents will remain intact in the final analysis.

Esper himself hinted at that in comments last week. In a speech delivered at the think tank Rand, the secretary called for a Navy of “over 350 ships,” specifically by increasing the Navy’s shipbuilding funding account.

“In short, it will be a balanced force of over 350 ships — both manned and unmanned — and will be built in a relevant time frame and budget-informed manner,” he said.

Indeed, the fleet compositions presented in the inputs broadly reflect the concept of a lighter fleet more reliant on unmanned or lightly crewed vessels that Esper described to Defense News in a February interview.

“One of the ways you get [to a larger fleet] quickly is moving toward lightly manned [ships], which over time can be unmanned,” Esper said then. “We can go with lightly manned ships, get them out there. You can build them so they’re optionally manned and then, depending on the scenario or the technology, at some point in time they can go unmanned.”

The Future Naval Force Study, overseen by Deputy Secretary of Defense David Norquist, kicked off in January after Esper decided he wanted an outside take on the Navy’s self-review of its future force structure. The OSD-led review tasked three groups to provide their version of an ideal fleet construction for the year 2045, one each by the Pentagon’s Cost Assessment & Program Evaluation office, the Joint Staff, the Navy and a group from the Hudson Institute.

Those fleets were war-gamed and the results were compiled into the Future Naval Force Study, which was briefed to Esper earlier this month. Ultimately, the Navy is using the feedback from the study to create their shipbuilding plan and fiscal 2022 budget request, the service said in a statement.

“The Future Naval Force Study is a collaborative OSD, Joint Staff and Department of the Navy effort to assess future naval force structure options and inform future naval force structure decisions and the 30-year shipbuilding plan,” said Navy spokesman Lt. Tim Pietrack. “Although COVID-19 has delayed some portions of the study, the effort remains on track to be complete in late 2020 and provide analytic insights in time to inform Program Budget Review 22.”

The April documents viewed by Defense News included notional fleets designed by CAPE and the Hudson Institute. Defense News did not have access to the Navy’s inputs into the FNFS. Neither fleet reviewed by Defense News, nor the fleet developed by the Navy, will be the final composition reflected in the FNFS. The numbers, however, provide a glimpse of the radically different future fleet likely to be reflected in the final analysis expected later this year.

Defense News reported on elements of the draft in April.

The fleets designed by the CAPE and Hudson teams agreed on the need to increase the number and diversity of ships while boosting vertical launch system capacity — while also holding the operations and sustainment cost of the fleet as steady as possible and avoid adding to the number of sailors required to operate it.

As of the April drafts, both the CAPE and Hudson Institute teams were supportive of shrinking the number of supercarriers to nine from the current 11, which would effectively give the country eight active carriers, with one carrier always in midlife overhaul and refueling. The Hudson study also called for investing in four light carriers.

The CAPE fleet called for between 80 and 90 large surface combatants, about the same level as today’s 89 cruisers and destroyers. Hudson looked to reduce the number slightly and instead fund more lightly manned corvettes, something Hudson has called for in the past.

The reports called for between 65 and 87 large unmanned surface vessels or optionally unmanned corvettes, which the Navy hopes will boost vertical launch system capacity to offset the loss over time of the Arleigh Burke-class destroyers and the four guided missile submarines.

Both fleets called for increased small surface combatants, with the CAPE study putting the upper limit at 70 ships. Hudson recommended a maximum of 56. The Navy’s 2016 Force Structure Assessment called for 52 small surface combatants.

Both fleets also favored a slight increase in attack submarines over the current 66-ship requirement but reflected a big boost in large unmanned submarines, anywhere between 40 and 60 total. The idea would be to get the Extra Large Unmanned Underwater Vehicle to do monotonous surveillance missions or highly dangerous missions, freeing up the more complex manned platforms for other tasking.

On the amphibious side, both fleets reduced the overall number of traditional dock landing ships, such as the LPD-17, from the current 23 to between 15 and 19. As for the big-deck amphibious ships, CAPE favored holding at the current level of 10, while Hudson favored cutting to five, with the savings reinvested towards four light carriers.

The studies called for between 20 and 26 of the Marines' light amphibious warships, which they need for ferrying Marines and gear around islands in the Pacific.

Both fleets significantly expanded the logistics force, with big increases coming from smaller ships similar to offshore or oil platform support-type vessels. The fleets called for anywhere from 19 to 30 “future small logistics” ships. The CAPE and Hudon fleets increased the number of fleet oilers anywhere from 21 to 31, up from today’s 17.

The Marines and Navy have talked about the need to rethink logistics for a more distributed fight in the Pacific.

The Hudson fleet called for a significant boost to the command and support ship infrastructure from today’s 33 ships to 52 ships. CAPE called for the fleet to remain about the same. Those ships include dry cargo ships, the expeditionary fast transports, expeditionary transfer docks and expeditionary sea bases.

All told, the fleets posited between 316 and 358 “traditional” ships, but when new classes and unmanned ships were lumped in, the fleet designs contained upwards of 500 ships or more.

In his remarks last week, Esper said the Navy would need to increase shipbuilding budgets to accommodate the transformation of the fleet, but it was unclear where the money would be coming from.

The Pentagon sought $207 billion for the Navy in its fiscal 2021 budget request. Even a 2 percent shift under that top line would represent $4.14 billion in extra funding for shipbuilding — real money, even by Pentagon standards.

In his remarks, Esper said the forthcoming study “will serve as our guidepost as we decide on, program and build out future fleet and conduct follow-on assessment in select areas.”

“We will build this fleet in such a way that balances tomorrow’s challenges with today’s readiness needs, and does not create a hollow Navy in the process,” Esper said. “To achieve this outcome, we must increase funding for shipbuilding and the readiness that sustains a larger force. Doing this, and finding the money within the Navy budget and elsewhere to make it real, is something both the Navy leadership and I are committed to doing.”

 

 

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Here's a congressional research report dated September 17th, 2020 on US progress thus fair, descriptions of categories, and estimated needed budged in time frame up to 2025 in the R&D, on unmanned surface and undersea vessels. Among many points, the "large unmanned surface vessels" are envisioned to be 200 to 300 feet (60-90 meters) at full displacement between 1,000 to 2,000 tons. It looks like these unmanned concepts will probably enter a phase of initial combat readiness from 2030 onwards

https://fas.org/sgp/crs/weapons/R45757.pdf

 

 

Edited by JasonJ
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It will probably work very well, if they go for forward deployment, which is what the RN is already looking at doing. The advantage is with an unmanned vessel you wont even need to rotate the crews.

I do think there needs to be further consideration about drone vessels in close seas though. What happens if the Iranians board one and try to cut it out? Do you declare war to save an unmanned vessel, or just watch a robot USS Pueblo get snapped up, with all the security considerations that implies?

Dont know the answer to that one.

 

Anyway, why does America need a large Navy when its withdrawing from the world?

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52 minutes ago, Stuart Galbraith said:

I do think there needs to be further consideration about drone vessels in close seas though. What happens if the Iranians board one and try to cut it out? Do you declare war to save an unmanned vessel, or just watch a robot USS Pueblo get snapped up, with all the security considerations that implies?

Dont know the answer to that one.

😎

selfdestruct.jpg

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On 9/26/2020 at 11:37 AM, Jeff said:

534 rowboats, that's the ticket! Think of how many admirals they can make with that one.

 

It's a good plan.  The weakness of the navy right now is too many big ships and too many crewmembers.  Smaller ships, more automation, more attention to sea logistics capability in a modern environment.  I still want to see the study on a nuclear submarine transport class of 20,000-30,000 tons.

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On 9/27/2020 at 2:43 AM, Stuart Galbraith said:

Anyway, why does America need a large Navy when its withdrawing from the world?

 

Why would Britain think the US is withdrawing from the world stage just because a majority of Americans are all-out on globalist dumbfuckery crusades?   Trump's America is a world power on its own terms, not its allies.

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Well without going around the mulberry bush again with you Glenn, self evidently the US is not a global power if it doesnt have allies that its supporting globally. Its not I that have asserted that such a thing is the plan, the President and his FFZ acolytes are the ones saying this. Not once, dozens of times.

Square the circle. You dont need a large military if you are not in the world. Trump has rejected that, as you will note only a few weeks ago he has asserted that the US is only in the war on terror and other wars to keep  US arms manufacturers happy.

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Who's going to be doing the maintenance all these unmanned wonders of technology?

Looks like they are making the same mistakes as the LCS plus further screwing the pooch by removing what little crew there was left.

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17 minutes ago, Stuart Galbraith said:

Well without going around the mulberry bush again with you Glenn, self evidently the US is not a global power if it doesnt have allies that its supporting globally. Its not I that have asserted that such a thing is the plan, the President and his FFZ acolytes are the ones saying this. Not once, dozens of times.

Square the circle. You dont need a large military if you are not in the world. Trump has rejected that, as you will note only a few weeks ago he has asserted that the US is only in the war on terror and other wars to keep  US arms manufacturers happy.

Agree with you Stuart. I would say Chinese militancy is bringing China's maritime neighbors closer to the U.S. than anything possibly via the diplomatic route no matter who is in the White House.  Since 1945 the U.S. has good relationships -- overall -- with every country that I am aware of that wishes to have at least neutral to good relations with the U.S. One has to be impressed on how the U.S. has made allies out of former enemies and other than Communists, had not irked its past and present allies. 

Imo, Trump does not wish to withdraw from the world as much as he and his supporters realize the world needs to take more care of itself in defense matters. He has taken N.A.T.O. to task to increase responsibility for its defense and it appears the nations that are threatened my China has taken a cue.

At this time, China is the main military threat to the U.S., although one could make a case for Mid-East Islamic terrorists. But China and the U.S. do not share a land border with themselves or U.S. allies. The Chinese Navy is probably the best recruitment tool for increased defense spending for nations affected by them, but I am suspect of Chinese naval experience in the modern world is not as good as the Chinese would like to admit. 

The best offense against China is Christianity, unfortunately the evil left has reduced this bulwark in the U.S. With Trump's re-election, hopefully the exporting of Bibles to the Chinese people will erode the horror of Communism in that country. 

 

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36 minutes ago, Rick said:

Agree with you Stuart. I would say Chinese militancy is bringing China's maritime neighbors closer to the U.S. than anything possibly via the diplomatic route no matter who is in the White House.  Since 1945 the U.S. has good relationships -- overall -- with every country that I am aware of that wishes to have at least neutral to good relations with the U.S. One has to be impressed on how the U.S. has made allies out of former enemies and other than Communists, had not irked its past and present allies. 

Imo, Trump does not wish to withdraw from the world as much as he and his supporters realize the world needs to take more care of itself in defense matters. He has taken N.A.T.O. to task to increase responsibility for its defense and it appears the nations that are threatened my China has taken a cue.

At this time, China is the main military threat to the U.S., although one could make a case for Mid-East Islamic terrorists. But China and the U.S. do not share a land border with themselves or U.S. allies. The Chinese Navy is probably the best recruitment tool for increased defense spending for nations affected by them, but I am suspect of Chinese naval experience in the modern world is not as good as the Chinese would like to admit. 

The best offense against China is Christianity, unfortunately the evil left has reduced this bulwark in the U.S. With Trump's re-election, hopefully the exporting of Bibles to the Chinese people will erode the horror of Communism in that country. 

 

The move has already been made in Japan before Trump made his cue.

https://www.tanknet.org/index.php?/topic/41612-asia-pacific-allies/&do=findComment&comment=1259115

 

That was done amidst claims about "nationalists right-wing historical revisionists Japanese" doing spooky "re-militarization" and sneakily making "helicopter destroyers". Just because Trump is better than Biden doesn't mean he's entitled to more than he deserves credit for.

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1 hour ago, Stuart Galbraith said:

Well without going around the mulberry bush again with you Glenn, self evidently the US is not a global power if it doesnt have allies that its supporting globally. Its not I that have asserted that such a thing is the plan, the President and his FFZ acolytes are the ones saying this. Not once, dozens of times.

Square the circle. You dont need a large military if you are not in the world. Trump has rejected that, as you will note only a few weeks ago he has asserted that the US is only in the war on terror and other wars to keep  US arms manufacturers happy.

The United States is the pre-eminent global power and will continue to be in the first rank for the next hundred years.  What it will not be, hopefully, is the plaything of globalists and jingoists that need cannon fodder for their 3rd world shithole schemes.  Or faux allies that don't actually GAF about the United States and just want to recruit muscle to their local schemes.  Trump has started a process of consolidation,, drilling down on key US global interests, drawing back from the cresting heyday of stupidity after the fall of the Soviet Union.  The British did the same thing after Victoria.  Surely you remember.

 

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Our military industrial complex has long been the vestigial remains of cold war spending, appropriate only in the case of existential crisis, yet we find ourselves 30 years on and 26.8 trillion in debt.... still operating under clearly unsustainable process driven rather than results driven procurement.

We could accomplish vastly more for the same amount of money, or as much with vastly less money.

The entire mindset needs to be brought before the Committee of Public Safety headed by E5M...
 

Edited by Burncycle360
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It could be accomplished by introducing commercial procurement methodology. Give it to someone like Jeff Bezo's or  Bill Gates to sort out. In fact, the military itself, aware that its computer systems are lagging by decades, suddenly discovered buying commerical computer software off the shelf is the way forward. Now all they have to do is try and drag that kind of mindset towards Carriers and Destroyers.

 

16 hours ago, Rick said:

Agree with you Stuart. I would say Chinese militancy is bringing China's maritime neighbors closer to the U.S. than anything possibly via the diplomatic route no matter who is in the White House.  Since 1945 the U.S. has good relationships -- overall -- with every country that I am aware of that wishes to have at least neutral to good relations with the U.S. One has to be impressed on how the U.S. has made allies out of former enemies and other than Communists, had not irked its past and present allies. 

Imo, Trump does not wish to withdraw from the world as much as he and his supporters realize the world needs to take more care of itself in defense matters. He has taken N.A.T.O. to task to increase responsibility for its defense and it appears the nations that are threatened my China has taken a cue.

At this time, China is the main military threat to the U.S., although one could make a case for Mid-East Islamic terrorists. But China and the U.S. do not share a land border with themselves or U.S. allies. The Chinese Navy is probably the best recruitment tool for increased defense spending for nations affected by them, but I am suspect of Chinese naval experience in the modern world is not as good as the Chinese would like to admit. 

The best offense against China is Christianity, unfortunately the evil left has reduced this bulwark in the U.S. With Trump's re-election, hopefully the exporting of Bibles to the Chinese people will erode the horror of Communism in that country. 

 

I will be fair to Trump, I dont think he created the present crisis with China, I think the Pandemic did that. I do think he has brought forward what was already going to happen, and in that regard at least, he might unwittingly have done us a favour.

If the Trump Ideology is to remain friends with allies, who do more to defend themselves, im entirely on board. But that is not what he has been saying. And to be honest, if that was what he was TRYING to say, its been US doctrine since Richard Nixon ANYWAY. He was the one who voiced that doctrine in the aftermath of Vietnam, it is absolutely nothing new, it was one of the reasons why Taiwan and Iran were armed to the teeth. It was perhaps forgotten a little in the resource thick Reagan years, but was never actually recinded. And some of your allies, not least Japan, have really taken it to heart and are running with it. So why threaten them to withdraw unless they spend more for their own defence, when they are doing so anyway? It undermines relationships with allies who have bust a gut over the past 5 decades to try fulfill the doctrine Nixon delineated far better in the 1970's.

So its perfectly clear. If the US does not maintain its defence posture it currently enjoys, then US workers, whether shipbuilders, steelworkers, aircraft producers, even radar developers, will suffer. We saw the same thing in my country in the downturn from Empire. There are some parts of the country that have yet to recover. Any money you save from ceasing to defend values like Democracy or freedom, things we used to take for granted from the US, will swiftly be expended on welfare cheques. Look at my country's military drawdown, just from 1994, and you will see what I mean.

There is no one solution that will solve China. It already has a large Catholic community, but it doesnt seem to do a damn thing to restraint the regime, largely because if they did it would end up the same way as any other religious or political grouping in China that is a threat to the PRC's methodology, ie, in the Camps. Hitting them in the pocket might. We are all the ones funding this military build up, by our demand for cheap rubber dog shit. Until we wean ourselves off our fixation of buying cheap from china, and trying to do more ourselves (a fixation that has existed in my country far longer than yours) then nothing will change. We are building our own golllum, at the same time as demanding lessened military spending for tax breaks, and less foreign wars.

You dont need to be a Nostradamus to see where this is all leading.

 

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17 hours ago, Steven P Allen said:

Who's going to be doing the maintenance all these unmanned wonders of technology?

Looks like they are making the same mistakes as the LCS plus further screwing the pooch by removing what little crew there was left.

Well the idea is they deploy with other warships that will help maintain them. In fairness, this is nothing new. There have been depot ships since the late 1700's, we just might have to build a few more of them to act as drone controllers.

LCS was the same kind of unrestrained expenditure that lead to the Seawolf. Drones are actually pretty cheap, certainly would be compared to human manned warships. And they dont need to have oceanic range, which is another expenditure saving.

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What keeps someone from sailing up to one and banging on the important bits with hammers, let alone weapons?

As for the US pulling out from the world, it may look like that to Old Europe who are now finally expected to do their own dirty work. But in reality, it's a reorientation to Asia where the current and future threat actually is. The US Navy has been reorienting submarines to the Pacific for a couple of decades now.

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Well you treat it as you would treat anyone approaching and boarding a USN vessel. You give them a warning then switch to full automatic :👍

The US has been reorienting towards Asia since Bush the Younger. There is no fault in facing the threat, and China clearly wants to present itself as a threat. The problem is the refusal to recognise NATO is also trying to reorient towards China, and using that as a justification for further reductions in Europe.

The idea that the US has a choice between Europe and China is a false one, you already have allies exercising to face China just we are Russia. Please note the Australian participation in a NATO exercise.

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/uk-leads-thousands-of-nato-troops-in-major-exercise-off-scottish-coast

NATO ought to be doing a lot more in the Pacific of course. But that is where that neat trick 'leadership' comes in.

 

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Sure it does, it has a place wherever security is needed. And look it from the point of view that China deploys military units to the Mediterranean, and Russia butts onto the pacific too. its an extension of the same problem. Ditto terrorism. You cant really say NATO has no responsibility for dealing with it, having been in Afghanistan for over 10 years, and with terrorists attacking us at home. Its extended deterrence.

Here is the Irony. You fellas complain that you dont get any assistance, old Europe, America alone, yada yada yada. And the MOMENT Europe steps up to the plate to assist, you say it has no place!! :D

 

Edited by Stuart Galbraith
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3 hours ago, Stuart Galbraith said:

Sure it does, it has a place wherever security is needed. And look it from the point of view that China deploys military units to the Mediterranean, and Russia butts onto the pacific too. its an extension of the same problem. Ditto terrorism. You cant really say NATO has no responsibility for dealing with it, having been in Afghanistan for over 10 years, and with terrorists attacking us at home. Its extended deterrence.

Here is the Irony. You fellas complain that you dont get any assistance, old Europe, America alone, yada yada yada. And the MOMENT Europe steps up to the plate to assist, you say it has no place!! :D

 

NATO has no interest in the Chinese in Europe, China has no interest in NATO in the Pacific.

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6 hours ago, Stuart Galbraith said:

Sure it does, it has a place wherever security is needed. And look it from the point of view that China deploys military units to the Mediterranean, and Russia butts onto the pacific too. its an extension of the same problem. Ditto terrorism. You cant really say NATO has no responsibility for dealing with it, having been in Afghanistan for over 10 years, and with terrorists attacking us at home. Its extended deterrence.

Here is the Irony. You fellas complain that you dont get any assistance, old Europe, America alone, yada yada yada. And the MOMENT Europe steps up to the plate to assist, you say it has no place!! :D

 

The Soviets were venturing into the Pacific for decades, still NATO did not extend its area of operations to the Pacific. And to be honest I doubt that Europe (and I mean the EU and friends)has any interest into being drawn into a conflict in the Pacific. The idea is just a replay of the pointless adventure in Afghanistan and would just weaken NATO. Nobody needs another round of "go light, drop your armoured formations and prepare for out of area ops" back to "why do you not take the Russians seriously, now go bring more heavy formations." just this time with Naval forces. Apart from some in the UK, those that do still believe they are global power, nobody in Europe has any interest into turning NATO in some kind of global American auxiliary force.

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Yes, well both the Soviet Navy, and the US Navy for that matter, were a lot bigger then. There are arguably more tasks than warships today.

Europe has offshore much of its production to the Pacific rim. What happens there is as important as what happens on Europe's borders. That will become increasingly apparent when the Norks get a true ICBM.

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Because, in my view at least, if the Norks ever fire a nuclear missile at anyone, it will almost certainly be someone who cant fire back. So you are left with either Japan or Europe.

Is it likely? I dont know, Wargaming crazy isnt so easy. I do know bullys, and they pick on people who cant fight back. So I doubt the Norks are going to be any different.

In the end the reality of the threat is less important, than the possibility of the threat. An ICBM impacting Berlin or warsaw is the final failure, so it would be natural if Europe ultimately determines that threats are not just the ones that abut its borders. I can forgive them for not recognising it yet, America seldom does either.

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