The Navy’s goal is to achieve a Fleet of 313 ships by the year 2020. But with that number hovering around 286 and new ships costing several billions of dollars each, the service must also stretch its budget and get more years and enhanced capabilities out of its in-service ships.1 Indeed, upgrading today’s Fleet to satisfy tomorrow’s requirements is a central focus of the Navy’s plans and programs.
Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates underscored the stark reality in 2010: “Given that resources are not unlimited, the dynamic of exchanging numbers for capability is perhaps reaching a point of diminishing returns. A given ship or aircraft, no matter how capable or well equipped, can be in only one place at once.”2
This perspective has clearly shaped the thinking of the Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA):