Speaking in the hanger deck of the Navy’s newest nuclear-power aircraft carrier, President Trump on Thursday called for rebuilding the fleet from the current 10 flattops to 12.
“In these troubled times, our Navy is the smallest it’s been since World War I,” Trump said. “I just spoke with Navy and industry leaders and have discussed my plans to undertake a major expansion of our entire Navy fleet, including having the 12-carrier Navy we need.”
San Diego has been home to two carriers in recent years, but an increase in the fleet could mean a third carrier will be based here.
Trump addressed the pre-commissioning unit of the future USS Gerald R. Ford in Newport News, VA. The $13 billion carrier is the first new design since the USS Nimitz joined the fleet in 1975.
“The proud dignity of the ship is a fitting tribute to Gerald Ford – the man and the president,” Trump said.
He called the Ford a “monument” to American might. The ship will have a smaller crew than the Nimitz-class carriers yet boast electromagnetic catapults and other advanced features to project American power.
“Hopefully, it’s power we won’t have to use,” Trump said. “But if we do, they are in big, big trouble.”
The president said the big-deck carriers are the centerpiece of America’s military might. “We are standing today on 4.5 acres of combat power and sovereign U.S. territory, the likes of which there is nothing to compete,” he said.