In a report released this week by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), the non-partisan study group finds that If the Navy received the same average annual amount of funding (in constant dollars) for ship construction in each of the next 30 years that it has received over the past three decades, the service would not be able to afford its 2019 plan.
CBO’s estimate of $26.7 billion per year for new-ship construction under the Navy’s 2019 shipbuilding plan is almost double the historical average of $13.6 billion (in 2018 dollars). CBO’s estimate of $28.9 billion per year for the full cost of the plan is 80% higher than the $15.8 billion the Navy has received in annual appropriations, on average, over the past 30 years for all activities funded by its shipbuilding account.
The 30-year historical average includes the relatively small, post–Cold War shipbuilding budgets of the 1990s. Compared with shipbuilding budgets of the past 6 years—a period of relatively large shipbuilding appropriations—the Navy’s plan would still require an increase of more than 50 percent, on average. (Since 2013, the Congress has appropriated $1 billion to $3 billion more per year than the President’s request, partly as a result of concerns that the fleet is too small to perform all the missions assigned to it; see Figure 2 on page 7 of the report.)