The Navy-Marine Corps team needs topline relief to support ever-growing maritime demands in an era of Great Power Competition. As in the past when the Pentagon topline was flat, tough decisions are needed to support the current National Defense Strategy (NDS) developed in 2018. The percent of the Defense Department budget has always fluctuated and rarely been evenly divided among the three services. A small percentage increase could help the entire force stay more relevant to our current strategic needs, particularly in the primarily maritime Pacific theater, as well as the Atlantic. In the words of Chief of Naval Operations Mike Gilday, "We need more money, more topline in order to execute distributed maritime operations and to operate forward in great numbers." Just another 1% of the Defense Department budget would put $7 billion a year into the Navy-Marine Corps mission. Such a budget increase would allow the services to:
- Recapitalize the nation’s foremost strategic deterrent: The Navy is beginning a project to spend $103 billion procuring 12 submarines over the next decade plus, at an average of $8.6 billion per hull. These vessels will carry over 70% of the nations deployed nuclear warheads and constitute the most survivable leg of the nuclear triad.
- Build a force designed for sea control and denial: Centered around Distributed Maritime Operations (DMO), the Navy and Marine Corp team will no longer build forces concentrated around large capital ships while operating as separate forces.
- Maintain readiness: The fleet’s deployed ships must be manned and trained to the highest standards. The progress gained following the collisions of 2017 must not be interrupted. Two pieces are essential for this:
- A larger Operations and Maintenance account to properly man, sustain, maintain and equip the fleet.
- A larger shipbuilding budget to grow the fleet in order to reach the national and administration policy goals and prevent extended deployments.
Ask your representatives to support the Navy’s need for topline relief in the fiscal year 2021 defense budget. We believe this is necessary to prevent a hollow fleet, ensure proper maintenance and training, establish effective readiness and maintain strong deterrence in the era of Great Power Competition.
Why You Should Take Action
The demands on the Navy fleet are growing every year, despite the fact that the number of ships in the fleet had been shrinking every year since the 1990s, until several years ago. This leads to higher stress on the ships in the fleet, and the sailors on every ship, often necessitating deployments of 10 months or longer. We must rebalance our resources to better align with the current strategic environment. The Navy and Marines Corps require a larger slice of the pie to grow and maintain the fleet while making sure every ship is manned properly for the safety of our sailors and longevity of ships.