Events are now moving in the US Navy’s favour, after a period, some three or four years ago, of considerable doubts about its future. Whereas Admiral Moorer had tried to go for an 850-ship navy and Admiral Zumwalt for 750, it was Admiral Holloway who drew the line at 600 ships as an attainable goal. By the end of the Carter administration the US Navy had shrunk to a total of 451 deployable naval vessels. The aim is now to have a 600-ship navy by 1989 to include 15 Carrier Battle Groups, 100 nuclear submarines, an enhanced amphibious capability and many ships and submarines with a deep strike capability provided by cruise missiles. This will require an increase of over 60 per cent in the procurement budget for aircraft, ships and submarines over the next decade. As far as personnel is concerned, the United States was in a difficult position in 1981 with serious shortages but now it is confident that it can man the 600-ship navy. The shortage has been rectified by sharply increased pay and allowances, by the recession and by the new dignity accorded the profession of arms by President Reagan. As an illustration of this, when the USS New Jersey was recommissioned 4000 ex-Navy men volunteered to rejoin the service to man her.
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