The current level of ships, 285 in fiscal 2011, is actually not even the lowest since 1916. The historical list shows that the lowest ship force was reached during the Bush administration, when the number of ships fell to 278 in 2007. Given the change over time in the composition of the naval force, that probably is the most relevant comparison and the trend line is up. Romneys pledge to build 15 more ships per year, including three submarines, also is less than meets the eye. The current Navy plan is to build 34 ships over the next four years 10 in 2013 including seven submarines as part of its goal to reach at least 300 ships by 2019. (The Congressional Budget Office, however, has raised questions about whether this plan is feasible.) Mitt Romney’s claim that the Navy is as small as in 1916 - The Washington Post A couple of things come to mind here, one is a common misconception that building more ships per year equals a massive Fleet size. It does not, in fact according to John Lehman former Navy Sec. and one of the architects of Mitt Romneys plan here it will equate to an additional Carrier Battle Group and Air Wing, which seems to make sense if one understands that at least One Carrier is always out of service for various reasons , not the least of which is repairs that are always scheduled. The other thing that is overlooked here is the age of the current FFG-7 frigates which will soon be retired. So given these factors a plan to restore these and keep an additional Carrier Battle Group at Sea makes sense. While yes, it makes no sense at all to ask the Americans to cut programs and yet at the same time increase spending to make this happen, it does make sense to increase revenue in whatever method you wish to increase it in order to make your plans come to reality without impacting the budget. Another thing overlooked here is this, shipbuilding in this nation employs a great many Americans as well as the many industries that support it, such as Steel, Electronics, and hundreds of others. The article in The Post seems to be caught up in numbers and capability of current Naval assests rather than age and economic impact as well as force projection. For example, the older a ship is, the more it takes to keep that ship effective and at Sea, in terms of dollars and manpower, etc. I admit when I first heard of this plan by Mitt Romney it made little sense, however if the Navy builds these ships with a keen eye on keeping costs down, and for once pays attention not to the need of the contractors , but to the need of the Navy then it makes sense.