With Congress having today passed the 2017 military spending bill, most of the Pentagon is hard at work preparing another massive military spending bill in 2018. That does not include the US Navy, however.
Ordered by Secretary of Defense Ash Carter to prepare a budget that incorporates $17 billion in cuts over the next five years, the Navy is outright refusing to do so, with Navy Secretary Ray Mabus declaring the cuts to be “intolerable.”
At the center of the issue is that the Pentagon wants the cuts to center on major new shipbuilding programs, while the Navy is determined to see the number of ships they are fielding at any given time grow. This eagerness for more ships has led the Navy toward programs like the Littoral Combat Ship, a small coastal ship that officials have argued is mostly useless, but does count as a ship in between its many breakdowns.
President-elect Donald Trump is keen to increase military spending, including potentially increasing the number of ships, and it is likely this overt insubordination within the Navy is based on the assumption that Trump is going to overturn any planned cuts anyhow, likely allowing them to get away with not budgeting for it.
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