"Nuclear-powered aircraft carriers are the largest, most capable, and most survivable ships in the U.S. Navy. In the mid-1990s, there were 15 aircraft carriers in the Navy fleet; today, there are 11. The Secretary of Defense recently announced plans to shift the Navy aircraft carrier acquisition program to extend the cycle for acquiring a new aircraft carrier from approximately every four years to five years. In the long run, this could have the effect of reducing the number of aircraft carriers to ten. Shifting from the 30-year shipbuilding plan (SBP) to a five-year authorization cycle for acquiring aircraft carriers should have almost no impact on force structure and the industrial base in the next decade. Beyond the early 2020s, however, the five-yearplan results in an increasingly smaller aircraft carrier force structure and a lower probability of meeting goals for the number of deployed aircraft carriers. The five-year plan will have an impact on the total acquisition costs of CVN 79 and CVN 80 dueto the effects of inflation. The five-year plan could have a larger effect on any subsequent desire to increase the number of aircraft carriers in the fleet. Although the number of aircraft carriers can be rather quickly reduced through early retirements, a construction cycle of at least four years, coupled with seven or more years between authorization and delivery, means that it can take decades to add an aircraft carrier to the fleet. Policymakers might wish to consider this inability to rapidly expand the aircraft carrier force more than any of the factors considered here."--P.  of cover.
- Military Science
- May 16, 2011
- May 16, 2011
- Carter C. Price, John F. Schank, Mark V. Arena, Jess Chandler, James G. Kallimani