Some Say America Has Too Many Aircraft Carriers, But The Navy Fears A Shortage

David Axe

Key point: When the Obama administration in 2014 proposed prematurely to retire Truman's sister ship USS George Washington, Congress overrode the decision and added billions of dollars to the Navy's budget to keep Washington in service.

The U.S. Navy reportedly is considering cutting an aircraft carrier, dropping the number of flattops to 10 in the short term and potentially just eight in the longer term, despite a legal requirement for the service to operate at least 11 carriers.

The Navy's own force-structure assessment calls for 12 carriers.

The Washington Post columnist David Ignatius first reported the proposed cut on Feb. 26, 2019. Breaking Defense a day later confirmed that the 21-year-old USS Harry S. Truman is the ship in question.

The Navy in its 2020 budget proposal will propose to cancel Truman's 2024 mid-life overhaul, effectively forcing the service to decommission the vessel once its nuclear reactor cores wear out some time in the 2020s.

Retiring Truman halfway through her planned service life would shrink the carrier fleet from 11 to 10 in the mid-2020s and all but prevent the Navy from ever getting to 12 flattops. The move could save the Navy $30 billion over a 25-year period, Breaking Defense estimated.

"We would end up with a smaller, but younger fleet," former deputy defense secretary Bob Work told Breaking Defense.

Read the original article.