Critics jumped on Mitt Romney’s statement in the debate that “our Navy is smaller now than at any time since 1917.”
Lawrence Korb, a former assistant Defense secretary in the Reagan administration, said on Twitter that it showed a “staggering lack of knowledge.”
According to Romney, the Navy needs 313 ships to carry out its mission. But that figure was based on a 2005 review of force structure that Navy officials have since revised.
In April, Navy Secretary Ray Mabus said that the Navy could carry out its mission with 300 ships, a reduction in fleet size that he expected to reach by 2019, based on a new defense strategy that focuses more on the Middle East and the Pacific.