WASHINGTON — Acting Navy Secretary Thomas B. Modly announced that he is commissioning a Blue-Ribbon Future Carrier 2030 (FC-2030) Task Force to conduct a six-month study that will reimagine the future of the aircraft carrier and carrier-based naval aviation (manned and unmanned) for 2030 and beyond.
FC-2030 will be complementary to, and informed by, a broad review of national shipbuilding requirements being conducted by Deputy Defense Secretary David L. Norquist. U.S. Navy and Marine Corps uniformed and civilian leadership will be engaged in both efforts.
FC-2030 will attract current and former leaders from Congress, leaders from the U.S. shipbuilding and supporting technology industries and current and former Pentagon leaders as well as thought leaders at war colleges, think-tanks and futurists from around the nation.
“The long-term challenges facing our nation and the world demand clear-eyed assessments and hard choices,” Modly said. “Because we have four new Ford carriers under contract, we have some time to reimagine what comes next. Any assessment we do must consider cost, survivability and the critical national requirement to sustain an industrial base that can produce the ships we need —ships that will contribute to a superior, integrated naval force for the 2030s and far beyond.
“Aircraft carrier construction sustains nearly 60,000 skilled jobs in over 46 states,” Modly added. “It can’t be simply turned on and off like a faucet. We must be thoughtful in how we approach changes as they will have lasting impacts on our national industrial competitiveness and employment.”
The task force will be led by an executive director chosen from within the Department of the Navy’s Secretariat staff and assisted on a collateral-duty basis by representatives from the Office of Naval Research and the deputy chief of naval operations for Warfighting Development.
With an executive director, the FC-2030 senior executive panel will consist of thought leaders with historical records of leading and contributing to large change in maritime defense strategies and programs. Former Sen. John Warner (R-Va.) has agreed to serve as the honorary chairman of the executive panel. Former Nav Secretary John Lehman, former acting Deputy Defense Secretary Christine Fox, former Deputy Navy Undersecretary Seth Cropsey and former Rep. Randy Forbes (R-Va.) have agreed to serve as executive members of the panel.
“Our future strength will be determined as much by the gray matter we apply to our challenges as the gray hulls we build,” Modly said. “We need the best minds from both inside and outside of government focused on this issue.”
The study will be conducted with the assistance of the Naval University System (U.S. Naval Academy, Naval War College, Marine Corps University and Naval Postgraduate School) as well as eligible federally funded research and development centers and naval warfare centers.