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Too Many Ships Could Swamp America's Military

Dean Emeritus Admiral James Stavridis reflects on the Defense Department's request for a 500 ship fleet, via his Bloomberg Opinion column.

As a young lieutenant commander back in the 1980s, I worked on an analysis for a strategy referred to as “The 600-Ship Navy.” This was at the height of the Cold War and the pinnacle of President Ronald Reagan’s defense buildup. I was on the staff of the chief of naval operations, the service’s highest-ranking uniformed officer, and we worked long hours in the Pentagon justifying such a large number of ships.

All that work came to naught when the Soviet Union collapsed, and the Navy has been largely shrinking since. It is now down to around 297 ships, despite promises from the Donald Trump administration to increase that to at least 355, a number many analysts agree is the minimum needed for a battle force suited to America’s 21st century challenges.

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