Not since the Cold War era has the demand on Navy shipbuilding been so high, but the difference now is a flat defense budget and a decade of lost buying power, a top service official told lawmakers. By law, the Navy must have a 355-ship fleet but presently has just 296 ships, and its latest 30-year shipbuilding plan would not reach the requirement until 2031 to 2033 if it was funded fully. But that plan projects 4.1% budget increases each year.