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Department of Defense Appropriations Act, 2013

Floor Speech

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

BREAK IN TRANSCRIPT

Mr. QUIGLEY. Mr. Chairman, I join my colleague from Illinois to offer a bipartisan commonsense amendment to the Department of Defense appropriations bill.

Our amendment cuts $988 million from the bill, which the committee added but the Navy did not request, for a 10th DDG-51 destroyer. It also puts the savings toward deficit reduction.

Let's back up for a minute and explain how we got here. As part of the Department of Defense's new strategy, they are realigning force structure by reducing ground forces and making new investments in more agile sea and air forces. Toward this end, the Navy has entered into a multiyear procurement--or MYP--arrangement to purchase nine DDG-51 destroyers over the next 5 years. In order to fulfill one year of this MYP arrangement, the Navy requested just over $3 billion in the FY13 budget, yet the committee took it upon itself to give the Navy an extra billion dollars it didn't request and likely doesn't need for a 10th destroyer.

To be fair, there was talk of purchasing a 10th destroyer, but on March 29, 2012, Sean Stackley, the Navy's acquisition executive, testified before a House Armed Services Subcommittee that he thought through competition he could get 10 ships for the price of 9. He notes in his testimony that the Navy has ``competition on this program--two builders building the 51s, and the competition has been healthy.'' He goes on to explain how he hopes to get a 10th ship out of the multiyear arrangement, saying ``our top line allowed for nine ships to be budgeted, but when we go out with this procurement, we're going to go out with a procurement that enables the procurement of 10 ships if we're going to achieve the savings that we're targeting across this multiyear arrangement.''

Mr. Stackley ends by explaining that the Navy can use leverage and competition to get 10 ships for the price of nine, and he thinks they have a pretty good shot. But rather than letting the Navy do its job, and letting the competition acquisition process work by putting the billion dollars on the table up front, the committee cut the legs out from underneath the competitive process. The addition of the extra billion dollars for another ship by the committee ends competition and negotiation, and puts a billion dollars on the table that we don't have to spend.

Why not let the acquisition process take its course, and see what happens? I don't think we need the 10th ship, and I'm not completely convinced we need the other nine either. But even for those who do support a 10th destroyer, cutting this funding now does not preclude them from adding it later if it's needed.

Unfortunately, this is one of the many examples of Congress supplanting its own parochial interests for that of the military and what's best for the country as a whole. This defense bill and all those before it are riddled with funding for weapons, bases, and projects we don't need to keep America safe. Rather, these bills include projects that support special Member interests back home. We can no longer afford to allow the desire to stimulate local economies to drive our defense and foreign policy. As we emerge from a deep recession and face a deficit topping $1 trillion for the fourth straight year, we must right-size our budget.

Mr. Chairman, in terms of the ability to let Mr. Dold speak, I yield 1 minute to the gentleman from Illinois.

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