THE FACTS | Has the Navy Declined in Recent Years?

4:51 PM, Oct 26, 2012   |    comments
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Question: Has America's Navy declined in recent years?

Answer: This was a point of contention during the presidential debate about foreign policy. Mitt Romney said that America has the same number of ships that it did in 1917. President Barack Obama responded that those ships have vastly greater capacities than their counterparts of 95 years ago.

Compared with the rest of the world, the United States has--by far--the most powerful Navy.

America has 11 aircraft carriers. Spain and Italy have two. France, Britain, Russia, India, Brazil, China and Thailand all have one.
America has 62 destroyers, compared with 27 for China and 13 for Russia.

As far as nuclear-powered attack submarines, America has more (54) than the rest of the world combined.

Additional information from

There were 282 active duty ships as of April 2012, according to a Congressional Research Service report in August. That's down slightly from the Naval History and Heritage Command's count of 285 as of September 2011.

However, 282 ships is the same number in service during George W. Bush's last year in office, and a slight increase over the number in 2007 -- 278 -- when the size of the fleet was at its lowest since the early 20th century.

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