The White House's nominee for Navy acquisition executive is open to assessing the potential for adding a small aircraft carrier to the service's fleet.
James "Hondo" Geurts, nominee for assistant secretary of the Navy for research, development and acquisition, believes all force-structure options for the service's future fleet should be considered thoroughly, according to advance policy questions submitted to the Senate Armed Services Committee.
"I believe the future environment will be dynamic, global, and require many different capabilities to ensure the proper balance of lethality, survivability, and affordability across a very wide operational spectrum," Geurts wrote in response to the advance questions.
The committee's mark of the fiscal year 2018 defense policy bill directs the Navy to begin designing a smaller carrier. The three organizations that conducted force structure assessments, the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments, the Mitre Corp., and the Navy's assessment division in the office of the chief of naval operations (N81), all recommended the service add smaller aircraft carriers to its future fleet.
The Senate legislation sets aside $30 million for preliminary design of a small aircraft carrier.