Trump’s 350-Ship Navy Could Cost $25 Billion Per Year

U.S. Navy photo/Spc. Daniel M. Young/Released

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Thomas Phippen Associate Editor
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A single sentence in a budget estimate report calls out President-elect Donald Trump’s plan for the Navy for potential $25 billion annual shipbuilding costs.

President-elect Donald Trump’s desired 350-ship Navy would cost about $750 billion spread over 30 years, according to a single sentence in a report on shipbuilding cost estimates released Wednesday.

The estimated $25 billion annual cost is 60 percent higher than the Navy’s average annual shipbuilding budget of $13.9 billion. The cost is also higher than the Navy’s proposal for 308 ships by 2021, which would cost about $18.9 billion annually, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimated in a summary of its analysis of the Navy’s 2017 shipbuilding plan.

Without mentioning Trump specifically, CBO said “a notional fleet of 350 ships, which some policymakers have called for … could cost $25 billion per year, or 60 percent above the historical average.” (RELATED: Trump Outlines Plan To Make America’s Military Great Again)

Asked what policymakers the report referred to, a CBO spokeswoman told The Daily Caller News Foundation that “an online search should surface some examples.”

Trump proposed expanding the Navy to 350 ships when he unveiled his national defense platform during the presidential in September. The Navy would have to buy 78 new ships (including 13 new aircraft carriers) to reach Trump’s goal.

CBO’s report addressed the cost of the Navy’s June plan, which  Navy proposed a 355-ship fleet in December, slightly higher than to the Trump plan, but the CBO has not yet done a cost estimate for that plan.

The CBO notes that under current laws, Trump’s plan, as well as the Navy’s most recent proposal, “might be difficult under current law.” Automatic spending caps under the Budget Control Act, also referred to as sequestration, limit Department of Defense spending. Congress and the executive branch would either have to remove or raise the budget caps, or find cost savings in other areas of the Defense Department to build the desired number of ships.

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