Modly plans to make recommendations to Esper for achieving 355-ship fleet

By Justin Katz / January 3, 2020 at 1:05 PM

Acting Navy Secretary Thomas Modly says he plans to make recommendations to the defense secretary on how the service can achieve a 355-ship fleet within 10 years.

"I'm actually here today at the U.S. Naval Institute. I've gathered together a group of both folks from inside the Navy . . . and the Marine Corps and a bunch of outside experts and academics and folks who have looked at force structure for years," Modly said today on conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt's radio program.

"We're going to sit down and talk this through and we're going to come up with some recommendations for [Defense] Secretary [Mark] Esper and ultimately for him to bring to the president to say, 'Look, this is the path that we need to be on to get to the number that you want,'" Modly continued.

The remarks from Modly come several weeks after a White House Office of Management and Budget memo revealed the administration wants the Navy to count unmanned vessels in its battleforce ship count. OMB directed the Pentagon to submit a legislative proposal that would do as much.

Meanwhile, the results of the Navy's latest force structure assessment are expected to be published later this month.