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Navy fleet would only grow modestly under 2022 budget

Navy seeks $211.7 billion budget and says hard choices had to be made.

WASHINGTON — The Navy is asking for $211.7 billion in the Fiscal Year 2022 budget.

Among the key takeaways: the Navy wants to add a total of eight more ships, including two new Virginia Class Submarines. The Navy is also asking for 37 new F-35 Joint Strike Fighter jets.

The Navy says hard choices had to be made.

"During the budget build, we realigned tens of billions of dollars towards higher priority program and divested of legacy capabilities," said Rear Admiral John Gumbleton, Assistant Secretary of the Navy.

Even with the proposed new ships, the Navy is seeking to decommission several of its older ships. So, if the Navy gets its way, in the end, the fleet would grow modestly from its current level of 294 ships to 296 ships.

Overall, the Pentagon is requesting $715 billion.

“President Biden’s defense budget fails to keep pace with inflation and represents a cut in terms of real dollars,” said Rep. Rob Wittman (R, VA-01). “The National Defense Strategy requires increasing the defense budget by 3-5% in real growth. It’s not hard to see why, with Communist China alone having increased their defense funding by 75% over the last decade. If the United States wishes to retain our global primacy, we must strengthen our military to deter threats. Should we fail to keep pace with our rivals, we risk giving them a window of opportunity to strike at long-desired targets, such as Taiwan or Ukraine. And should our rivals seize upon these opportunities, we risk those actions serving as the flashpoint that ignites a global conflict."

House Armed Services Committee Chairman Rep. Adam Smith (D-Washington) also weighed in.

“The President’s FY22 defense budget reflects the Administration’s clear emphasis on China and Russia as key national security challenges, with China being the pacing challenge," he said. "To do so, the budget rightly focuses on partners and allies and ensures that the Armed Forces continue to make improvements to military readiness while investing in the research, development, and acquisition of systems and technologies needed to address strategic competition."

Smith continued: "The safety and the security of the American people depend on wise investments in national security that are aligned with realistic resources and talent to support our strategic defense objectives. This budget addresses underperforming acquisition programs with unsustainable costs, adjusts funding to meet our overseas posture and operations needs, and divests in systems that lack the requisite capabilities so that we can invest in the emerging technologies needed to fight in the future security environment. Planning for funding in the base budget, as this request does, represents an important budgetary reform that supports transparency, fiscal discipline, and sound and predictable defense planning."

He concluded: "As I’ve said before, the strategy behind how the Department spends the money is much more important than how much money is allocated. I look forward to thorough bipartisan hearings and discussions with DoD leadership on the budget request to better understand how the interim National Security Strategic Guidance and the Administration’s policies shaped this budget request as we construct this year’s National Defense Authorization Act."

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