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Mr. AKIN. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
I think that perhaps before we give the report on the status of seapower, I would make the comment that if this sequestration goes through, which people are talking about, it gravely influences the ability of our country to protect itself, and it hollows out our force. As it is, if that were to go through, we would have the smallest Navy or a Navy smaller than we had in the year 1916.
However, this particular authorization bill has some good aspects. One of the things it does is support the construction of 10 new ships in the budget request. The bill also is going to require a competitive acquisition strategy for the main engine of the next-generation bomber. That's a place we've gotten in trouble before. It allows the retirement of six B-1 aircraft but still maintains the requirement for 36 aircraft for the next 2 years.
It provides the recommended force from the Air Force of the strategic airlift of 301 aircraft comprised of C-17s and C-5s. It also requires the GAO to conduct an annual review on the new tanker program which the military has just entered into.
I would be remiss if I didn't call our attention to a historic pattern that has occurred all through America's past. That is, in times of peace, we keep cutting defense and cutting defense, and then some war comes up and we don't have what we need, and we sacrifice a lot of lives and money. We also give ourselves fewer political possibilities because we are not prepared.
We are rapidly approaching that same mistake once again in our history with the danger of the sequestration. We've already taken almost a 10 percent cut in defense, $450 billion. As a Navy guy, what that means is 45 aircraft carriers. That's how much we've cut. We only have 11 in the Navy. You're not supposed to lose them or sink them. This would be the equivalent of cutting 45 aircraft carriers. That's before sequestration. We must be careful.
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