The US Navy 7th Fleet will replace two Arleigh Burke-class destroyers, the USS John S. McCain and the USS Fitzgerald, both damaged in deadly collisions with commercial shipping traffic.
The August 21 collision involving the USS McCain saw 10 sailors killed after the US ship struck an oil tanker near Singapore.
The USS Fitzgerald struck a container cargo ship on June 17 near Shizuoka, Japan, about 64 miles south of Tokyo, killing seven sailors.
In both instances the US ships required significant assistance following the accidents, while the ships that they struck were able to continue to their next port under their own power.
"As early as next year, there will be a backup," to replace the damaged US warships, stated Admiral Harry Harris, the current commander of the US Pacific Command, on Monday.
Although the number of Arleigh Burke-class destroyers in the 7th Fleet is down, Harris claimed that the US Navy's defense capability in the region remains unaffected.
"Our ability to defend Japan and South Korea is as strong as ever," he said.
Harris stated that a destroyer in San Diego would be moved to the Japan home base of the US 7th Fleet next year, to be joined by another destroyer from either San Diego or Hawaii, cited by Japan Times.