The Navy needs to make a clear case to the public for a fleet of 355 ships, Rep. Rob Wittman (R-Va.), chairman of the House Armed Services’ Seapower and Projection Forces Subcommittee, told reporters Wednesday at the Sea-Air-Space expo. “This wasn’t just a number just a number that was pulled out of the air, this was an objectively reached number, and we think that ought to be the central part of the discussion,” Wittman said, reported Defense News. His comments came in response to ones made earlier this week by Navy officials that did not embrace the goal of achieving a 355-ship fleet.
The Navy completed a force structure assessment in December 2016 that determined the service would need 355 ships to meet combatant commander demand, but a subsequent Center for Strategic and International Studies report found the Navy would be unlikely to afford to operate a fleet of that size.