WASHINGTON — To put it simply, Congresswoman Elaine Luria said the U.S. Navy is making a big mistake by reducing its number of ships.
The Navy, which asked for more than $211 billion for Fiscal Year 2022, plans to inactivate 15 ships.
The Chief of Naval Operations, Admiral Mike Gilday, told lawmakers last week that the Navy's budget is trying to balance the need to pursue new capabilities and technology, while maintaining and modernizing its 296 ships.
Luria, who represents Virginia's Second Congressional District, is concerned.
"Truly, if we need to build our fleet, we need to make an investment in the ships we have," Luria said. "We need to build more ships as quickly as we can. We need to maintain and deploy the ships we have as efficiently as possible. And we need to quit decommissioning ships faster than we can build them."
While the Navy has talked about a 355-ship fleet, Gilday said that, given his branch's current budget, it only has enough money for 300 vessels.