Trump’s Navy Buildup Would Be a Budget Breaker

Experts: $165 Billion Just to Build All the Ships

The US Navy’s designs for having a large number of ships in the water at any given time has led to some unfortunate efforts, including the Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) program, which cost several billion dollars making ships that struggle to remain afloat, and which officials concede are so small and unarmored as to be militarily useless if a fight broke out.

President-elect Donald Trump is on board with the idea the more is better, however, and has been talking up a huge naval buildup which would be the largest ship-building venture in the US since the end of the Cold War. It’s a dream come true for the Navy, until you ask how they’re going to pay for it.

Experts warn that the reality is that this buildup is totally unaffordable without massive spending increases, and that just building all the new ships would cost about $165 billion over 30 years. That in and of itself might be doable, but it’s only a fraction of what having a ship means.

On top of that construction cost, the Navy would have to spend untold billions keeping the ships in operational condition, loading them down with weapons, and on top of that hire enough sailors to operate all those new ships. All of this is likely to far exceed the cost of just building the ships and sticking them in the water.

This is money the US just doesn’t have, and with Trump also talking up general increases in troop numbers, and investing huge amounts into modernizing America’s nuclear weapons arsenal, the wish list is quickly shaping up to be totally unrealistic, making it doubtful these ships will ever be built.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is senior editor of