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Letter to the Honorable Robert C. Gates, Secretary of Defense

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Location: Washington, DC


Letter to the Honorable Robert C. Gates, Secretary of Defense

KENNEDY, COLLEAGUES URGE SEC. GATES TO EVALUATE NAVY SHIPBUILDING PROGRAM

Send letter to Pentagon expressing concern over DDG-1000, long-term goals

Senators Kennedy, Kerry, Reed and Whitehouse and Congresswoman Tsongas, along with some of her colleagues in the House, sent the following letter to Secretary Gates last Friday. The letter urges the Secretary to support the DDG-1000 in the President's budget and discusses ongoing congressional concerns about the Navy's long-term shipbuilding program while also encouraging a thorough evaluation of the Navy's desire to truncate the program.

Senator Kennedy said, "I urge President Obama to include full funding for DDG-1000 destroyers in his budget in the coming fiscal year. Over the past years, $11 billion has already been invested in the program. If the Navy wants to start building a different type of destroyer, it needs to make a persuasive case to Congress that such a major shift makes sense. The Navy, so far, has failed to provide that information."

Senator Reed, a member of the Armed Services Committee, said, "Support for this request is critical to the timely delivery of needed capabilities to our Navy through the DDG-1000 and future generation surface combatants. This plan leverages the technologies developed on DDG-1000 to efficiently and effectively provide technologies to the next generation of ships."

Senator Whitehouse said, "The continued production of DDG-1000 destroyers will preserve hundreds of jobs in Rhode Island during tough economic times, and will also ensure that our Navy's fleet remains strong."

Congresswoman Tsongas said, "Support for the DDG-1000 is critical to the timely delivery of needed capabilities for our Navy and future generation surface combatants. The need for these capabilities has led the Navy to invest more than $11 billion in the DDG-1000 to date. This funding has supported the creation of thousands of jobs dedicated to delivering 21st century ships that can defeat current and anticipated future threats that existing class combatants cannot. It is for these reasons that the DDG-1000 remains critical to the Navy and why full funding for the program should remain in place."

The text of the letter appears below.

March 20, 2009

The Honorable Robert C. Gates
Secretary of Defense
1000 Defense Pentagon
Washington, DC 20301-1000

Dear Secretary Gates

As you know, last year's Department of Defense Appropriations Act provided partial funding for the third DDG-1000 and directed the Navy to budget for the remaining funding requirement in FY10. Congress expects the Navy to adhere to this direction; therefore, we write to urge your support for full funding of the DDG-1000 program in the FY10 President's budget, and request that you continue a thorough and transparent review and evaluation of the Navy's proposal to truncate the DDG-1000 program and restart DDG-51 production.

We remain very concerned about the Navy's long-term shipbuilding plan. Despite several months of Congressional and Department of Defense requests for further analysis, the Navy has yet to provide sufficient justification in support of the proposal to truncate the DDG-1000 program and restart DDG-51 production. We continue to await an in-depth comparative analysis of the DDG-51 and DDG-1000. The Navy's failure to provide such a detailed cost analysis strongly implies a lack of supporting documentation of the Navy's position and undermines our confidence in the merits of the Navy's plan to truncate the DDG-1000 program. Congress must have this information before acquiescing to a change of this magnitude.

Supporting the DDG-1000 program will enable the Navy to leverage $11 billion in already invested research and development funding. The ship has been designed with significant growth margins including power, cooling, space, and weight to enable rapid enhancements to meet evolving threats in the existing hull. We believe that continued production and delivery of DDG-1000 class destroyers is essential to the long-term stability of our shipbuilding program and the timely delivery of needed capabilities to the Navy.

With respect and appreciation, and thank you for considering this request.

Sincerely,

Edward M. Kennedy Jack Reed

John F. Kerry Sheldon Whitehouse

Nikki Tsongas Patrick Kennedy
Member of Congress Member of Congress


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