As part of his policy platform Trump has pledged to “Rebuild the US Navy toward a goal of 350 ships, as the bipartisan National Defense Panel has recommended.”
Some details of the plan and how it connects to a larger military strategy have not been forthcoming, and it is not clear what combination of ships would be used, but the plan would lead to the creation of thousands of new jobs, and would seek to increase the number of Naval ships to 350, from its current 272.
In late October, US Senator Jeff Sessions (R-AL), considered by some to be a frontrunner for Secretary of Defense under Trump, said in an interview with Defense News, “I think at this point in history with the credibility of president of the United States eroded, were they to suspect that the United States is abandoning its defense spending…It takes more than a speech to turn this around.”
Sessions added that “Trump’s plans are actually to build more ships and maintain a higher number of troops and aircraft. It will go a lot further than words to convince the world that we remain strong. It will help us to maintain the peace.”
A campaign memo sent by Senior Military Advisor Alexander Gray said the billionaire wants to fund the modernizing of “a significant number of the Navy’s Ticonderoga-class cruisers.”
The memo states, “Mr. Trump’s plan will require a significant partnership with a defense industrial base that has been strained by years of significant cuts to shipbuilding and ship repair,” and, “The nationwide infrastructure of yards, depots, and support facilities that created and sustained the World War II and Cold War-era Navy has been largely dismantled.” It details a heavy investment plan into submarines and Arleigh Burke-class destroyers, and suggests that Trump seeks to increase support for the service by facilitating institutions to train skilled workers.