With the inclusion of language mandating a 355-ship Navy, the first National Defense Authorization Act (commonly called the defense budget) President Trump signed in office did more than increase the Pentagon’s budget. His signature set off a chain reaction among Navy and other defense officials, each trying to find some way to grow the fleet per the new national policy, while still acknowledging the very real limits set by funding.

Ship construction efforts have been expanded, and the fleet does indeed expect to grow in the coming years, but those numbers will ultimately plateau and begin to drop again soon thereafter, as a number of the U.S. Navy’s surface combatant vessels reach the ends of their projected service lives. This drop-in numbers will ultimately be recouped through new ship construction, but as the Navy works to replace retiring ships instead of adding to the fleet, the road to 355 is projected to be a long one — with most experts agreeing that it will take until well into the 2050s, and the Navy refusing to even predict its budgeting endeavors that far out.

However, NAVSEA Commander Vice Adm. Tom Moore has recently begun championing a strategy many believe is the U.S. Navy’s only hope of growing at the rate expected by lawmakers. While new ship construction will mean the future of the force, Moore and company believe old ships are the answer to growing the fleet in the short term.

Put simply, he wants to keep the Navy’s ships in the water well beyond their current projected lifespans, swelling the number of ships in the fleet to 355 as soon as 2032.