The U.S. Navy has a narrow window of opportunity to lay out a plan for future surface-combatant shipbuilding. Some may argue that with the upcoming budget cuts needed to deal with a multitrillion-dollar federal deficit, the Navy may have missed its chance. However, with adversity there is new opportunity. If a plan is chosen that can be shown to be affordable in both acquisition and sustainment, there is no better time than now to determine what that shipbuilding plan should be that will constitute the bulk of the Navy surface-combatant forces for the immediate future.
Since the beginning of the 20th century, the Navy always has been able to provide forward presence away from U.S. shores to deter aggression and deal with it if needed. It has been able to do this by fielding a balanced force of aircraft and vessels. Naval aviation has a solid plan for acquisition and sustainment of needed capabilities, with F/A-18, F-35, E-2, and P-8 programs all moving forward. The subsurface fleet also has a solid plan with continued acquisition of Virginia-class submarines and plans being drawn up to for a successor to the Ohio class.