133. National Security Decision Memorandum 3441


  • Navy Shipbuilding Program

The President has reviewed the results of the National Security Council Study on U.S. Strategy and Naval Force Requirements, and has decided that the United States and its Allies must in combination maintain a superiority in maritime capability that can deter or defeat the Soviet threat in a timely manner. The United States must also maintain maritime forces capable of carrying out other U.S. military requirements. The shipbuilding plan which will assure the accomplishment of these goals should:

—Provide for steady growth in active ship force levels to attain and maintain an active force of about 600 ships in the mid-1990s.

—Maintain a balanced force of ships which includes a mix of units with high individual capability and a larger proportion of ships with lower individual capability.

—Proceed at a pace which provides both real growth in funding and industrial capability to maintain existing fleet units at high levels of readiness while the shipbuilding program is being carried out.

—Cancel procurement of the previously requested NIMITZ-class nuclear-powered aircraft carrier (CVN–71) and proceed as rapidly as practical to construct a new class of V–STOL aircraft carriers.

Accordingly, the President has decided on a shipbuilding plan which is derived from Option 1 in the study, with modifications. The following table shows the approved five-year shipbuilding plan:

[Page 625]
78 79 80 81 82 Total
FBM Submarines (Trident) 2 1 2 1 2 8
Attack Submarines (SSN–688) 2 1 1 2 2 8
V/STOL Carrier (CVV) 1 1 2
Carrier SLEP2 (1) (1) (2)
Strike Cruisers (CSGN) 1 1 2
AEGIS Destroyers (DDG–47) 1 3 3 3 10
Frigates (FFG) 11 11 12 13 11 58
Mine Warfare 1 6 6 6 19
Amphibious (LSD–41) 1 2 3 6
Support 9 12 12 8 3 44
Support Conversion (1) (1)
TOTAL CONSTRUCTION 25 29 36 36 31 157
CONVERSION (1) (1) (1) (3)
  1. Source: Ford Library, NSC Institutional Files (H-Files), Box 68, NSDM 344. Secret. Copies were sent to the Secretary of State, the Chairman of the JCS, and the Director of the OMB. Scowcroft forwarded the draft NSDM to Ford under a covering memorandum, January 13, with the recommendation that the President approve it. Scowcroft’s memorandum noted that Ford had reviewed the NSC study on U.S. Strategy and Naval Force Requirements (Document 110) during the NSC meeting held on December 2, 1976, records of which are Documents 115 and 116. Scowcroft also wrote: “The attached draft NSDM describes the fundamental rationale and content of your five-year shipbuilding program. The issuance of a NSDM is appropriate because it completes the NSC review of the Navy shipbuilding program and provides a decision document to establish formally your five-year program.” (Ibid.)
  2. Service Life Extension Program. [Footnote in the original.]