Navy Chief: Losing Shipbuilding Funds Is ‘Not Helpful’

Michael Rainey

Acting Navy Secretary Thomas Modly said Thursday that the Trump administration’s diversion of funds from the Navy’s shipbuilding budget to border wall construction was “not helpful” to the current effort to expand the fleet.

The shipbuilding budget took a hit earlier this month when the Pentagon announced it would be using $911 million designated for the assault ship replacement and expeditionary fast transport programs to pay for border wall construction. On top of that, President Trump’s 2021 budget request for defense cuts $4.1 billion from the Navy’s shipbuilding budget relative to the current year.

In testimony before the House Armed Services Committee, Modly said the loss of funds would make it harder to hit the 355-ship target. “To be frank, it’s not helpful because it takes a ship out of a plan we’re driving toward,” Modly said, apparently referring to the loss of funding for a Virginia-class submarine in President Trump’s 2021 budget request.

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