It's a downsized Navy that, save for pirate sniping, is having a hard time grabbing the limelight in a ground-intensive war (sorry, contingency operation) against Islamic extremists.
So, you've just got to be ready for the knife when the bean counters try to find money for vehicles and cannons and wonder why you're spending $2 billion on subs, right?
Well, when the budget finally shook out for 2010, the Navy did pretty well. A few airplanes cut here, a ship or two there, but in the end, the sea service's top line increased by about $10 billion over 2009 to more than $156 billion, with another kicker of $15.3 billion for "overseas contingency operations" as the new GWOT is called (and most of that money is for Marine Corps vehicles, ammo and personnel).
Navy procurement jumped $5.7 billion to $44.8 billion, while research and development funding slumped $400 after the VH-71 presidential helo was axed.
Winners: DDG-51 with a one ship build in 2010 that restarts the line; one SSN-774 and some advanced money kicked in to build 12 Virginia class subs; two TAKE transport ships and another Joint High Speed Vessel; two more STOVL JSFs for a total of 16 funded in 2010; one more C-40A (the admirals will love that); and six P-8A multi-mission aircraft beginning the Lot 1 LRIP buy and 325 new Advanced Precision Kill Weapon System missiles designed to compliment the Hellfire rotor wing missiles.
Losers: DDG1000 one ship killed; LPD-17 no ships in 2010; one Maritime Prepositioning Force (Aviation) ship cancelled for a zero buy in 2010; and one MPF Mobile Landing Platform ship deep sixed for a zero buy; cut in half the number of Super Hornets from 18 to nine purchased in 2010, three MH-60Rs cut to 24, one E-2D cut for two; two KC-130Js cut for a zero buy and four T-6A trainers cut for a 38 aircraft buy and one MQ-8B drone cut for a five Fire Scout buy to match LCS needs.
The Navy is devoting $495 million to a ballistic missile sub replacement program for the 2030 timeframe -- the money will be used for propulsion and missile compartment research, LCS gets $361 million, $572 million for the CH-53K and $1.7 billion in R&D funds for the JSF program.
The Corps is finally going to get more of its Growler Internally Transportable Vehicles with 48 purchased in 2010 and 52 new Humvees. The Corps gets the lion's share of OCO funding, buying 18 LW155s, 933 Humvees and -- drumroll please -- ZERO MRAPs.
Navy officials said a lot of this will of course be dependent on Congresses concerns and also the mulling over the next Quadrennial Defense Review.
We'll have a lot more detail in the coming days as we analyze deep into the numbers, but that's a quick wrap up of what's going to the Blue-Green team.