US preparation for eliminating Japan as a naval power started already with the Two-Ocean Navy Act, also known as the Vinson-Walsh Act, which was a United States law enacted on July 19, 1940 almost two years before Perl Harbour. It is the largest naval procurement bill in U.S. history, it increased the size of the US navy by 70%.
Modest naval expansion programs had been implemented by the Naval Act of 1936 and the Naval Act of 1938.In early June 1940, Congress passed legislation that provided for an 11% increase in naval tonnage as well as an expansion of naval air capacity. On June 17, a few days after German troops conquered France, Chief of Naval Operations Harold Stark requested four billion dollars from Congress to increase the size of the American combat fleet by 70% by adding 257 ships amounting to 1,325,000 tons. On June 18, after less than an hour of debate, the House of Representatives by a 316–0 vote authorized $8.55 billion for a naval expansion program, giving emphasis to aircraft. Rep. Vinson, who headed the House Naval Affairs Committee, said its emphasis on carriers did not represent any less commitment to battleships, but "The modern development of aircraft has demonstrated conclusively that the backbone of the Navy today is the aircraft carrier. The carrier, with destroyers, cruisers and submarines grouped around it, is the spearhead of all modern naval task forces."
It was enacted on July 19, 1940.
The Act authorized the procurement of:
- 18 aircraft carriers
- 2 Iowa-class battleships
- 5 Montana-class battleships
- 6 Alaska-class cruisers
- 27 cruisers
- 115 destroyers
- 43 submarines
- 15,000 aircraft
- The conversion of 100,000 tons of auxiliary ships
- $50 million for patrol, escort and other vessels
- $150 million for essential equipment and facilities
- $65 million for the manufacture of ordnance material or munitions
- $35 million for the expansion of facilities
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