The Navy wants to develop a new large surface combatant, but Congress isn’t buying its rationale. Authorizers and appropriators alike slashed the 2021 funding request, citing inadequate explanation of requirements and plans. And with good reason. The service already has a wildly successful multi-mission destroyer, the Arleigh Burke, for which production processes and pricing are well understood. If the Navy needs a bigger warship to host hypersonic missiles and such, it has the much larger DDG-1000 Zumwalt. But the service seems to think Zumwalt is too big. Why? This all seems a bit hard to follow, but one thing is already clear: beginning another new warship program now while terminating a very successful one just as China may be getting ready to move on Taiwan makes no sense. The soonest a next-generation destroyer will enter the fleet is the 2030s, by which time it may be too late for America in the Western Pacific. I have written a commentary for Forbes here.
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