The aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson leads the guided-missile cruiser USS Lake Champlain, right front, and the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Michael Murphy during a transit of the Philippine Sea. Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Sean M. Castellano/Navy
Top Navy leaders continue to insist they need a fleet of 355 ships to carry out contingency operations around the globe. But at the same time, they are looking forward to a near future where the number of gray hulls may not be the best way to measure naval strength.
In coming weeks, the Navy will release a document laying out what leaders see as the future of the service, Chief of Naval Operations Adm. John Richardson said during a discussion at the Brookings Institution in Washington, D.C., on Thursday. It will discuss not only how to pursue a fleet ramp-up in a cash-strapped reality, but also how innovation can allow the service to get more capability out of available platforms.
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WNU Editor: Today's naval platforms are far more lethal than their predecessors decades ago .... so you do less than what you needed decades ago to fulfil a mission. But the ocean is a big place .... and you do need to ships to be at the places where they are deemed to be critical to be there .... and for today's US Navy they must now be everywhere .... The U.S. Navy Must Be Everywhere at Once (John Lehman, Wall Street Journal).
Update: Some naval commanders want the numbers .... US Pacific Commander Says US Needs More Submarines, Ships to Counter North Korean Threat (Kris Osborn, Scout Warrior).