The U.S. Navy has emerged from the Trump era with a complex plan for retooling its fleet of warships. The undersea pieces of the plan are necessary and widely supported. The surface pieces have encountered resistance on Capitol Hill. Legislators are particularly skeptical about plans for a successor to DDG-51 destroyers and unmanned warships. The unmanned vessels don’t cost much and could be a valuable force multiplier, but the case supporting a new “large surface combatant” appears to repeat mistakes from the recent past. It seems that the Navy is trying to do too many things at the same time; that its plans are out of sync with political realities; and that its recent track record in developing new surface combatants leaves a lot to be desired. In addition, the requirement for a new class of amphibious warships to execute an questionable warfighting concept near China raises doubts even within the Marine Corps. I have written a commentary for Forbes here.
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