SAN DIEGO (NNS) -- Secretary of Defense Ash Carter spoke to Sailors about the impact of the proposed fiscal year 2017 defense budget, during a visit to Naval Base San Diego Feb. 3.
After touring Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Spruance (DDG 111) and guided-missile cruiser USS Princeton (CG 59), and meeting with Navy senior leadership, Carter addressed a crowd of more than 150 Sailors and local and national media about how the Department of Defense is investing in long-term naval power.
Carter said the budget will increase aircraft, ship, munitions, and technological capabilities over the next five years. This plan includes nine new Virginia-class submarines, 10 new Aegis destroyers, 40 new littoral combat ships, 13 more F-35 Joint Strike Fighters, and 16 more F/A-18E/F Super Hornets than originally planned, as well as additional funding for advances in cyber, space, and electronic warfare.
He also announced a new weapons capability.
"We're modifying the SM-6 (standard missile) so that in addition to missile defense, it can also target enemy ships at sea," Carter said. "It makes the SM-6 basically a twofer. You can shoot down airborne threats, and now you can attack and destroy a ship at long range with the very same missile."
Carter spoke about current terror threats around the globe, as well as strategic naval challenges and how the Navy and Marine Corps will receive the needed power to continue their efforts.
"Our fleet will be larger," said Carter. "It will be much more effective, potent, and lethal than it is today, because it will be equipped with weapons and the advanced capabilities that we'll need to deter any aggressor and to make any aggressor who isn't deterred very much regret the decision to take us on."
Carter stressed the significance of balancing investments and ensuring the U.S. continues to have the greatest technology and the most powerful capabilities of any other military in the world. He then commended the Sailors in attendance for their performance and asked they take a message home.
"I thank you, and since I know behind every Sailor is a family, tell them how proud we are of them and thank them for standing by you as you stand by our country," Carter said.
For more news from Commander, U.S. 3rd Fleet, visit www.navy.mil/local/c3f/.