U.S. President Donald Trump plans to build new warships in what would be the biggest peace-time expansions of the U.S. Navy.
Boosting shipbuilding to meet the Navy’s 355-ship goal could require an additional $5 billion to $5.5 billion in annual spending in the Navy’s 30-year projection, according to an estimate by naval analyst Ronald O’Rourke at the Congressional Research Service.
President Trump’s plan is to cost $700 billion in government funding, take 30 years to complete and require hiring tens of thousands of skilled shipyard workers.
No doubt more workers will be needed, but most shipbuilders will be cautious as a result of economic changes in the world, but certainly exceptional skills will surely get a place on Donald Trumps navy expansion plan if it pulls through.
The two largest U.S. shipbuilders, General Dynamics Corp (GD.N) and Huntington Ingalls Industries Inc (HII.N), told Reuters they are planning to hire a total of 6,000 workers in 2017 just to meet current orders, such as the Columbia class ballistic missile submarine.
General Dynamics hopes to hire 2,000 workers at Electric Boat this year. Currently projected order levels would already require the shipyard to grow from less than 15,000 workers, to nearly 20,000 by the early 2030s, company documents reviewed by Reuters show.
Huntington Ingalls, the largest U.S. military shipbuilder, plans to hire 3,000 at its Newport News shipyard in Norfolk, Virginia, and another 1,000 at the Ingalls shipyard in Mississippi this year to fulfill current orders, spokeswoman Beci Brenton said.
Companies say they are eager to work with Trump to build his bigger Navy. But expanding hiring, for now, is difficult to do until they receive new orders, officials say.
The Navy currently has 274 deployable battle force ships, far short of its old goal of 308 ships.
The White House is yet to comment on the issue.