Trump said he wants to dramatically increase the size of the U.S. Navy. Experts told Reuters they are not sure if his plans – many of which lack specificity – are possible.
President Trump’s plan to increase the Navy’s size to 350 ships would cost nearly $700bn in government funding, take 30 years to complete and require the hiring of tens of thousands of skilled shipyard workers, experts told Reuters.
Trump says he wants to build dozens of new warships in one of the biggest peace-time expansions of the U.S. Navy.
Ship-builders, unions and a review of public and internal documents show major obstacles to Trump’s plan, including the hiring of at least 10,000 workers, many of whom don’t exist yet because they still need to be hired and trained.
Trump has vowed a huge build-up – including the expansion of the Navy to 350 warships, from 275 today – of the U.S. military to project American power in the face of an emboldened China and Russia.
Trump has provided no specifics, including how soon he wants the larger fleet.
The Navy has given Defense Secretary Jim Mattis a report that explores how the country’s industrial base could support higher ship production, Admiral Bill Moran, the vice chief of Naval Operations with oversight of the Navy´s shipbuilding outlook, told Reuters.
He declined to give further details. But those interviewed for this story say there are clearly two big issues – there are not enough skilled workers in the market, from electricians to welders, and after years of historically low production, shipyards and their suppliers, including nuclear fuel producers, will struggle to ramp up for years.
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