The House Appropriations Committee has reduced the Fiscal Year 2012 Department of Defense budget by some $17 billion compared with the FY 11 budget, which is almost $9 billion less than the Obama administration requested. The FY 12 cuts do not include military construction, which also may be reduced.
More severe cuts in the Defense budget can be expected in the coming years as the Republican-led House of Representatives demands more reductions in government spending. Some of those cuts will cause major changes in Navy programs. The Navy’s leadership should consider imposing reductions on the Fleet now rather than wait for what could be arbitrary cuts imposed by Congress and the White House.
Three programs come to the fore when looking at future force levels, types of ships, program status, costs, and other factors:
Aircraft carriers. The nuclear-propelled carrier Gerald R. Ford (CVN-78), now under construction, will cost an estimated $12–16 billion. This approximation is based on data provided by active-duty and retired naval officers, and estimates by government and private study and analysis organizations.