Recent reports indicated that the Department is considering to request a reduced funding for shipbuilding over the next several years, which would be a sharp departure from the national policy to increase the size of the fleet to 355 ships.

We were deeply concerned to read recent reports that the Department of Defense may propose significant reductions to planned shipbuilding procurement in its fiscal year (FY) 2021 budget request to be submitted to Congress in the coming weeks

Senators Collins and King wrote.

As they explained, they support a 355-ship Navy and urged for a continued support from the Department for a robust shipbuilding budget.

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A White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) planning memo first reported by Defense News showed that the Department of Defense considers cutting DDG-51 procurement by five vessels between FY2021 and FY2025, aiming to save around $10 billion.

Today, in the existing fleet, the cuts would go even deeper, and according to the new plan the fleet would have 287 warships by 2025, less than the 290 vessels currently in service. However, the Navy's existing size target aims for 355 vessels.

Ultimately, Congress is responsible for annual Department of Defense and Navy appropriations, and we will continue to support a growing fleet in order to protect our national security and ensure our national prosperity as threats around the world continue to grow… We expect this congressional support for Navy shipbuilding and DDG-51 procurement to continue in FY 2021 and beyond, and we hope the Department and administration will join us in these efforts. As you continue to develop and finalize the Department’s FY 2021 budget request, we urge you to reverse course from cutbacks to shipbuilding plans that may be under deliberation and to support a 355-ship Navy

Senators Collins and King added.