Galinis: Esper's 500-ship Navy plan still moving forward despite SECDEF's departure

By Aidan Quigley / November 12, 2020 at 4:00 PM

The Navy will move forward with former Defense Secretary Mark Esper's plan to build a 500-ship Navy despite his firing earlier this week, Vice Adm. William Galinis, the head of Navy Sea Systems Command, said Thursday.

Esper's Battle Force 2045 was being reviewed by White House staff, Galinis said at a Defense Writers Group event.

"I don't see any change to that right now," Galinis said. "We'll have to see how things play out over the next several weeks here, but I don't see any change to that."

President Trump fired Esper Monday, just days after losing his re-election bid.

Esper's plan calls for over 500 manned and unmanned ships by 2045, though the funding sources for that major shipbuilding increase remain murky.

"The underlying analytics and requirements remain sound," Galinis said. "How we meet those requirements, that's a topic for further discussion."

Galinis said he was concerned that industry could have capacity issues moving forward as the Navy funds more ships. For example, building three Virginia-class submarines a year could be a challenge, he said.

"There's some things we have to go work on to be able to meet that, and we’ve got to get going," the admiral said. "Whether or not eventually that is the plan or not, I don't have enough information at this point to really tell you."