Pentagon Wants a 355-Ship Navy. But Who Will Build It?

Donald Trump is the president-elect, and the hawks are back in the Pentagon. That's great news for the U.S. Navy -- and for three key defense contractors who build most of its ships: Lockheed Martin (NYSE: LMT), General Dynamics (NYSE: GD), and Huntington Ingalls (NYSE: HII).

Earlier this year, a controversial plan was being floated in Congress to roughly double the size of the Navy. Currently boasting just 273 ships, not all of which are combatants, the Navy is floating about 50% below its Cold War strength of 500 ships. But efforts are already under way to get the Navy back up to something approaching full strength.

The U.S. Navy is big, but it's a big ocean, too. Might the Navy need to get bigger? 

Two hundred seventy-three ships. The Navy's official ship count has already fallen by a dozen from the 285-ship-count of just six months agoOpens a New Window., and it could fall farther as the Navy retires older submarines, cruisers, amphibious assault ships, and resupply vessels. To replace all the retirees, and build the fleet back up to strength, the Navy published a Force Structure Assessment (FSA) in 2014 insisting that to adequately fulfill all the missions it's being asked to undertake, the Navy needs an absolute minimum of 308 warships.

But not long after Donald Trump's election, a new number surfaced: 355.

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