NAVY: MORE SHIPS, FEWER SAILORS

The Navy wants more ships. And to pay for them, the service is going to drastically cut the number of sailors working on them.National Defense magazine says the Navy is looking to beef its fleet up to about 375 ships, from a current 292 -- the fewest number of vessels since before World War I.The downsizing to fund this expansion "already is underway. For fiscal year 2005, the Navy is budgeting for 7,900 fewer people. A senior Navy official who briefed reporters last month said the cuts would generate savings of $254 million," the magazine notes."The Navy believes it can simultaneously deploy more ships and downsize the force, because ships will be more technologically advanced and staffed with smaller crews."

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