The Navy is under pressure due to several deadly accidents involving warships in the western Pacific.
Members of a congressional panel will weigh in next Thursday with a hearing to look at "underlying problems."
The accidents in the Seventh Fleet have shaken the confidence of the Navy and raised questions about basic fleet operations, training, crew stress, maintenance and the ability of the service to handle more ships in the future. The Navy's downsizing in the quarter century since the Cold War ended also is blamed for the current state along with readiness challenges from budget caps from sequestration.
"It's part of a larger systemic issue — that's the bottom line," said Jerry Hendrix, a former Navy strategist and officer. Hendrix, a senior fellow at the centrist think tank Center for a New American Security, said current and former Navy officers "have been increasingly concerned about the overall decline of the American fleet."