Congressman J. Randy Forbes (VA-04), Chairman of the Seapower and Projection Forces Subcommittee of the House Armed Services Committee, released today the legislative language of the Seapower Subcommittee's mark of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). Chairman Forbes and Ranking Member Mike McIntyre (NC) led the Seapower Subcommittee in producing a mark which designates essential funding and sets priorities for the U.S. Navy, Marine Corps and Air Force.
"To those predicting the decline of American power, this mark signals that we do not intend to meekly accept a world where U.S. interests can be ignored with impunity by our adversaries. Having recently received a 30 Year Shipbuilding Plan from the Navy with no basis in reality, our mark requires a detailed roadmap for how the service will reach its shipbuilding goals under likely budget scenarios," Chairman Forbes said. "We have laid the groundwork to ask difficult questions of the Navy about the cost overruns on the Ford-class aircraft carrier, while also ensuring the Navy has an additional Virginia-class attack submarine each year. And we have made investments in technologies like the UCLASS carrier-launched unmanned vehicle, which will ensure the viability of the Carrier Air Wing for decades to come."
Highlights of the Seapower Subcommittee mark include:
Directing the Navy to report on projected Fleet size under the current budget. The Seapower mark requires the Navy to report to Congress on the likely size of the Navy's Fleet given the current shipbuilding budget. "The Navy's 30 year shipbuilding plan is a "plan" in name only," Chairman Forbes noted. "Under the current shipbuilding budget, the Fleet will continue to shrink to a level completely antithetical to U.S. national security interests."
Maintaining funding for the Ford-class aircraft carrier. The Subcommittee, while expressing concern with the program's continued cost growth, continues funding for the next-generation aircraft carrier that will anchor the Fleet for decades to come.
Preserving Navy cruisers and amphibious ships. The Full Committee mark is expected to support the modernization of seven cruisers and two landing dock landing ships (LSDs) that were proposed for early retirement well ahead of their useful service life. Keeping these assets in the Fleet enhances the Navy's ability to undertake critical missions like ballistic-missile defense (BMD) and amphibious power projection.
Supporting the Navy's continued procurement of Virginia-class submarines, Littoral Combat Ships (LCS) and Arleigh Burke-class destroyers. The Full Committee mark is expected to support the continued procurement of Virginia-class SSNs at a rate of two-per-year while procuring an additional DDG-51 destroyer and four LCSs.
Expanding investments in game-changing technologies. The mark encourages further investment in the Unmanned Carrier-Launched Airborne Surveillance and Strike System (UCLASS) that will be critical to maintaining the Carrier Air Wing's versatility in the years ahead.
Continuing investment in critical Projection Forces capabilities for aerial refueling and long-range strike. The Full Committee mark is expected to continue to support the Air Force's Long Range Strike-Bomber (LRS-B) program and the KC-46A aerial refueling tanker.
Ensures full funding of Navy ship maintenance. The Full Committee mark is expected to provide for full funding of vital ship repair and maintenance activities.