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US Navy needs full steam to catch USSR -- Lehman

Navy Secretary John Lehman says that the United States has lost naval superiority to the Soviet Union and it will take six years to draw equal and nine years to regain the advantage.

Mr. Lehman, interviewed on Cable News Network, expressed confidence President Reagan will go ahead with his promised naval recovery program despite Budget Director David Stockman's reported recommendation that the administration cut funds for Navy rebuilding.

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Lehman said the administration's goal of increasing the active fleet from the current 462 ships and 12 aircraft carriers to a balanced force of 600 ships is "the absolute minimum" needed as a deterrent to war.

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