Debates about the number and types of ships needed in the American navy have been going on since before we even had a country! Heated discussions on the purpose and size of a navy took place at meetings of the Continental Congress in 1775, and the Congress ultimately authorized the construction of only two armed sailing ships. Similar debate continues to this day. The high cost of shipbuilding and the need to balance land, sea, and air forces have driven the active fleet to below the three-hundred- ship level.
Naval War College Review: Vol. 59
, Article 3.
Available at: http://digital-commons.usnwc.edu/nwc-review/vol59/iss3/3