By Kristina Wong - 02/07/14 09:02 AM EST
The Pentagon has dropped a plan to retired one of its aircraft carriers in its budget submission next month, after the White House intervened, the Wall Street Journal reports.
After the Pentagon proposed cutting a carrier in light of defense budget cuts, bipartisan senators wrote Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel a letter to protest the move.
The Navy had 15 carriers during the Reagan administration, but currently has 10. Earlier this week, a bipartisan group of think tanks recommended cutting several carriers to meet current defense budget constraints.
Operating an older Nimitz-class aircraft carrier costs $402 million a year, not including its air wing or escort ships, the Journal said.
Lawmakers from Virginia, where the ships are built, strongly oppose reducing the number of carriers.
“The aircraft carrier remains the centerpiece of American sea power and is fundamental to a national security policy based on forward deployed presence and power,” said Rep. Randy Forbes (R-Va.) told the Journal.
“A decision to go from an 11 to 10 carrier Navy would be seen by our allies and potential opponents around the globe as a kind of retrenchment that would not be helpful.” Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) added.