The 2018 National Defense Authorization Act decrees a 355-ship Navy. That the Navy has so far been unable to produce a viable plan in accordance with the law suggests that there are only two ways to obtain the number: spend more money or revolutionize the way the Navy plans for the future.
Even before the Coronavirus pandemic caused great damage to our national economy and record levels of deficit spending, the prospects for future defense budgets were not bullish. Now, cuts in defense spending seem inevitable. And annual cost growth of about 5 percent for everything from people to precision weapons will force cuts to the size of the force unless addressed.