By hiring extra workers, the work needed can be done faster and give the ships and extra five to ten years of service for the U.S. Surface Fleet. Destroyers, transport ships and cruisers are all part of the fleet in need of surface repairs.
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By extending the service of the fleet, the Navy will be able to increase the budget and buy additional ships. This could allow the U.S. Navy to increase the number of ships to 355 by 2020 instead of waiting until 2040 to make this increase.
Currently, there are 272 ships in the Navy and the 2018 budget proposed by President Trump would allow for eight new ships, along with completing the USS John F. Kennedy aircraft carrier and starting another carrier. The fleet would grow with two new submarines, two destroyers, an oiler and a littoral combat ship.
The top commander for ship maintenance, Vice Adm. Thomas Moore believes with the addition of new shipyard workers 10 to 15 years could be shaved off the total number needed to get to 355 ships. Many contract-run shipyards working with the Navy, laid off hundreds of workers last year. These layoffs were seen at major shipbuilding yards in Newport News, Virginia and San Diego, California. When President Trump took office, he froze hiring for 90 days on the federal level. However, the administration exempted the federal shipyard workers and depot maintenance employees due to the importance of the function of these specific workers.
The 2018 budget was proposed last month and an increase in spending was proposed for the Navy. Some of the funds are going to be used to hire new federal shipyard employees. Currently, there are about 33,850 workers and Moore believes they will grow that number to 36,100 very soon.
Many of the new hires are expected to be added over the next few months with a portion of the 2018 budget. They will be hired through four public shipyards found in Bremerton, Washington, Kittery, Maine, Pearl Harbor and Norfolk, Virginia.