VCNO Moran: Size of Navy Fleet Matters
By RICHARD R. BURGESS, Managing Editor
WASHINGTON — The size of the Navy’s fleet is a matter of capacity but also a factor in the life of its ships, a top admiral said.
“The size of the Navy matters,” Adm. William C. Moran, vice chief of naval operations (VCNO), said March 22 at a Defense Programs Conference sponsored by McAleese and Associates and Credit Suisse. “It’s my belief that we have to grow. … All of the data says that.”
According to the Navy’s 2016 Force Structure Assessment, the number of ships that the Navy needs to carry out its missions is 355.
“We are on a path to 310 ships,” Moran said. “We will peak and start coming down because the [ships of the] Reagan build-up [will be reaching the end of their service lives].”
Moran stressed that, no matter the size of the fleet, it is critical to maintain and sustain ships to their full service lives.
“We have to get to 275 [ships] worth for the 275 ships we have” he said.
Moran also pointed out that a fleet too small to meet the demands of the combatant commanders reflects not just a problem of capacity.
“That smaller Navy’s going to wear out faster,” he said.
“We’re too small right now,” Moran said. “355 is not important; it’s the trajectory is important. We’re too small right now. If we don’t continue that trajectory [of growth], we’re going to come down.”