U.S. Rep. Todd Akin (R-Mo.), the Chairman of the House Armed Services Subcommittee on Seapower and Projection Forces, released the following statement for the subcommittee's hearing on the Administration's Fiscal Year 2012 budget request for the U.S. Navy's shipbuilding acquisition programs:
"Reviewing the Navy's shipbuilding budget request, for both this year and what's projected in the out-years, there are many things to be concerned about. And probably the most worrisome aspect of the Navy's budget is that it will require near-perfect execution in cost control, schedule adherence and risk mitigation efforts to obtain the force structure necessary to deter hostile threats, show force when needed and as a last resort, employ lethal operations.
"Among the concerns I have revolve around issues such as: the new FORD-class carrier program, EMALS integration and forthcoming cost-growth to the overall program; OHIO-class submarine replacement regarding its aggressive schedule and optimistic cost-estimates so early in a program's development; our attack submarine inventory being 9 submarines short of the requirement in the out-years; a shipbuilding budget estimated by CBO that may not permit the Navy to achieve the 313-ship floor; and, a shipbuilding industrial base in which 50 percent of major U.S. shipyards future viability and ability to perform as needed to meet the Navy's acquisition plan remains in question.
"My last concern focuses on congressional and Department of Defense collaboration, or should I say, the apparent lack thereof. Too many times in the recent past, we have been excluded from Department of Defense deliberations, or approached with hasty requests that do not afford us the luxury of effectively evaluating decisions. Most recent examples are decisions for the Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) and Expeditionary Fighting Vehicle (EFV). Bottom-line, this must change.
"Lastly, we are part of this problem too. This Congress must finish Fiscal Year 11 defense appropriations legislation, because the implications of funding the Navy and Marine Corps at Fiscal Year 2010 funding levels in a year-long continuing resolution would be almost irreparable.
"All of our men and women in uniform deserve more from this body. It goes without saying, we have the finest, most professional, combat-honed sailors, Marines, airmen and soldiers that any modern military has ever had within its ranks. And our responsibility as a subcommittee is to ensure that we provide them the equipment and tools necessary in meeting our nation's National security requirements.
"In conclusion, I would like to note that although our subcommittee has had a number of closed events already, this is our first public hearing of the year. It is an honor to chair this subcommittee, and to follow in the footsteps of a number of previous chairmen who did much to make sure that our nation maintains strong sea services."