If the United States is to maintain its naval supremacy worldwide, it must look beyond the ship designs currently in the construction pipeline.
Along with several others, we believe the nation needs to emphasize a maritime strategy at a time when budgetary limitations threaten to severely curtail our national-defense posture. 1 Former Chief of Naval Operations Admiral Gary Roughead has argued that naval-force numbers must be sustained even if ground-force numbers are reduced. 2 We agree, but we also assert that even if the Navy budget is not reduced, our planned force levels will very likely decrease. The American people must anticipate that even under favorable budget conditions, the Navy will shrink in numbers of ships and aircraft if we continue to procure only the designs now in current and planned programs. We believe the Navy must reflect on its long-established set of presumed responsibilities and the need to reorder or reduce them, doing so with full cognizance of all relevant stakeholders in the process.