The Navy—at its highest levels—needs to change the way it buys and builds its ships.
There was a time, not all that many years ago, when the Navy appeared to have its future force structure well in hand. Whether it was 600 ships and 15 carriers during the height of the Reagan years, or 450 and 12 during the early post-Cold War period, we seemed to know exactly where we were going and had a viable shipbuilding plan to get there. Today, one often hears comments to the effect that the Navy doesn't know what it wants, its 313-ship force structure goal appears disconnected from its new maritime strategy, and its shipbuilding plan is unrealistic and based on overly optimistic budgetary assumptions. Such statements logically lead to a range of questions: