Adm. Michael G. Mullen, the Chief of Naval Operations since July, wants more ships in general and the DD(X) specifically. The DD(X) has emerged relatively unscathed from the latest round of budget battles, though much uncertainty remains. The class has been reduced to a maximum of eight ships.
In 1987, the Navy’s fleet had 594 ships; today there are 281, despite the fact that military leaders have said for years that the Navy needs more than 300 ships to fulfill its missions.
“We simply must maintain a strong Navy,” said Collins. “The lesson of history is that it’s seapower that gets us there. It is seapower that allows us to project force and humanitarian relief around the world.”
The Pentagon for the past 12 years has funded an average of six new ships a year, the lowest rate since 1932. Collins said the average should be doubled.
“Quantity has a quality of its own,” she said. “At the same time we’re underfunding shipbuilding, China is building up its naval force.”
We don’t need 600 ships. But more than 300 sure would be nice. Low quantity has a low quality all its own.