Via Chris Cavas at DefenseNews;
The U.S. Navy has revised its overall fleet size requirement from 313 to 306 ships — a modest downscaling that reflects modified operational requirements and is not the result of the ongoing budget crisis.The fruits of the lost decade.
One of the key changes is a reduction in the long-standing 55-ship littoral combat ship (LCS) requirement to 52 ships — a decrease, the Navy said, resulting from a lessening of the presence requirement to support U.S. Africa Command.
The changes are reflected in a congressionally mandated report sent Jan. 31 to key lawmakers.
The fleet reduction modifies the 313-ship number established in 2005. Navy leaders in recent years have called that figure “about 313 ships,” reflecting several assessments that moved the number up or down, but until now have not settled into a figure officials were willing to declare.
“A 306-ship force structure represents the minimum level of capability and capacity to meet projected threats and support the 2012 Defense Strategic Guidance,” Navy spokeswoman Lt. Courtney Hillson said. “Our operational tempo over the past year reaffirms our need for a minimum of 306 ships. That said, we need to have the right mix of ships in terms of their capabilities that are ready to meet combatant commander demands.”
The new number is not intended as a hard figure the fleet will grow to and then maintain. Rather, it is an overall combat force structure requirement, around which actual numbers are expected to rise or fall.
Hat tip CIMSEC.