Stefany: Navy sustainment funding must grow as ship count increases in coming years

By Aidan Quigley / May 12, 2021 at 1:16 PM

Congress must increase the Navy's sustainment funding as it increases the service's overall fleet size in coming years, acting Navy chief acquisition executive Frederick Stefany said Wednesday.

Stefany, speaking at the Naval Postgraduate School annual acquisition research symposium, said the Navy is telling Congress and the defense secretary that the service needs to increase the sustainment budget to match the increase in ship count.

"We are actually building up the number of ships and airplanes slower because we are making sure the sustainment money is in the budget to match, which frankly did not happen in the past," Stefany said.

The Navy is planning on growing its fleet in coming years, with a recent shipbuilding plan calling for a 400-ship battle force fleet by 2045. While it's unclear if the Biden administration will move forward with that plan, it is widely expected that the fleet will grow in the future.

"We don't want to have a hollow force," Stefany said. "So, buying ships, ship counts and all of that is important, but it doesn’t work if we can't sustain those ships or those airplanes."

Stefany said the Navy's research and development, acquisition and sustainment communities must work together to make the most of "more limited" resources in coming years.

"Within the naval community, we are working to meet this enduring challenge, developing future capabilities . . . while also recapitalizing, modernizing and sustaining the fleet we have now," he said. "Given the competition, we have to be able do this at a faster rate, making the most of our available resources. As time goes on, I expect we will all see those resources become more limited as we move forward."