Esper pushes for major changes in U.S. Navy’s structute

Nine months after wresting control of naval force planning, Defense Secretary Mark Esper rolled out a new 25-year roadmap that reiterates the U.S. Navy’s goal of about 355 manned ships and adds roughly half as many unmanned vessels on top.

Esper’s plan seeks “eight to 11” nuclear carriers — today’s fleet has 11 — and possibly more of the conventionally powered smaller carriers called amphibious assault ships. He also wants an attack submarine force of 70 to 80 boats, up from today’s roughly 55.

“If we do nothing else, the Navy must reach production of three new Virginia-class subs per year,” the defense secretary said. That’s up from the current annual production of about two. But it also seems slightly askew from the Pentagon’s long-stated position that nothing is more important than replacing the bombers, missiles, and submarines that form the nuclear triad.

Esper spoke Tuesday at a virtual event hosted by the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments think tank in Washington. He described an outline of his plan, dubbed “Battle Force 2045,” but as of press time had apparently distributed no documents with more details. READ THE INTERESTING STORY HERE