Navy budget prioritizes maintenance over fleet expansion

The Biden administration today released a detailed defense spending plan that would reduce spending on ship and aircraft procurement, and boost funding to maintain the current fleet.

As expected, the Navy’s budget for fiscal year 2022 calls for eight ships, including four warships, and seeks $22.6 billion for that purpose, a 3 percent drop from current funding. The budget seeks a 15.6 percent cut for aircraft purchases, according to Defense News.

Those numbers mean a delay for the Navy’s plans to expand the fleet beyond the current fleet of just under 300 ships.

But the maintenance budget would rise under the Navy’s plan, by 3.4 percent. Defense News reported that the plan shows that “funding current Navy operations… and maintenance is a top priority, more so than expanding the fleet.” In doing so, the plan is likely to run into opposition in Congress, where members of both parties have called for funding to get the Navy to its goal of 355 ships.

The budget plan also foresees a Navy with 404,800 Sailors and support staff, a slight drop from the current 407,329. Marine Corps personnel would drop to 215,300 from 217,443, according to the Military Times.

All told, the total Navy budget would rise to $211.7 billion under Biden's proposal, up almost $4 billion from current-year funding.

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