US Navy and Congress engage in fierce standoff over budget 2022

To say that the US Navy has struggled to define an industrial strategy in recent years would be an understatement, as the difficulties and reversals have followed one another at short notice. It is true that in less than 24 months, this has gone from a target of 355 ships in 2030 to that of 500 ships in 2045, to return to a target of 321 to 370 ships with crew and 77 to 140 robotic ships by 2050 when the presentation of the new capacity plan to Congress in June 2021. These incessant variations, and the obvious lack of visibility that this causes for the forces as for the industrialists, generated a certain mistrust, not to say a certain mistrust, on the part of the American senators and representatives. And the presentation of the 2022 budget, which provides for the order of only 8 new ships, but anticipates the withdrawal of nearly 19 ships including 7 Ticonderoga-class cruisers and 4 additional LCSs, aroused strong reactions from the American legislator. .

Several subjects in particular deeply irritated the members of the senatorial committees and the House of Representatives, generating a ferocious standoff between the US Navy and the American elected officials. Thus, if the Senate committee has effectively validated the funding of a second Arleigh Burke Flight III class destroyer on the 2022 budget as part of the additional requests addressed by the Pentagon to Congress, the American senators have firmly warned the admirals who faced that it was the last year they did this type of exercise. While it is traditional for the American armies to send, in addition to their official requests for funding within the framework of the Pentagon budget, requests for additional funding for programs that do not fall within the established budgetary framework, it seems that now, the US Navy, like the other US armies, anticipate this mechanism to such an extent that they use it in a roundabout way to finance programs of first necessity, making it possible to preserve funding in the normal framework for parallel programs which would not have had the approval of Congress.

The US Navy will withdraw 7 Ticonderoga-class cruisers from service in 2022, while only 2 Arleigh Burke-class destroyers will enter service.

The second area of ​​strong tension was the lack of orders for new F / A 18 E / F Super Hornet fighters, while the US Navy's previous planning was to order 36 new fighter jets over budgets 2022, 2023. and 2024. According to the US Navy, it is preferable to direct these investments towards the modernization and recapitalization of the Super Hornets currently in the fleet in order to bring them to Block III, pending the entry into service of the replacement F / A-XX as part of the NGAD Navy program (different from the NGAD Air Force program), by 2030. This solution would not only allow more funding to be directed towards the development of the NGAD program, but also to free up the Boeing production line in St. Louis, Missouri, so that it can accelerate the modernization rate of the current F / A 18 E / F. However, for the American senators, the exercise which the US Navy wants to engage in is particularly risky, especially since it already lacks around forty fighter jets for normal operation due to the lack of availability of the F35Cs. , and that the modernization of the F / A 18 Super Hornets will also puncture part of this fleet.

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