Seapower and Projection Forces Subcommittee
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This year’s mark takes the first statutory step to codify the multi-year call to grow America’s fleet. Beginning with the 2015 Comprehensive Strategy for Maritime Security, the 2016 Force Structure Assessment, and culminating in the 2017 Accelerated Fleet Plan - it has become abundantly clear that growing today’s fleet from 278 to a 308 ship fleet – which was underway is still inadequate. Rather, the FSA which was released by former Navy Secretary Ray Mabus last December stipulated that a 355 ship battle force fleet is required to deter aggression and maintain the security of the seas. I am proud that the 355 ship fleet requirement is formally codified in this year’s mark.
June 22, 2017 Press Release
"The goal of a 355-ship Navy is a consensus strategy going back to 2015 when A Cooperative Strategy on 21st Century Seapower was jointly issued by the chiefs of the nation's sea services, and reinforced by the 2016 Force Structure Assessment and the February 2017 Accelerated Fleet Plan. Incorporating this goal in the 2017 NDAA is a logical next step and I fully support its enactment. I look forward to working in a bipartisan manner with Chairman Wittman and the rest of the Seapower and Projection Forces Subcommittee to make this important goal a reality."
June 20, 2017 Press Release
“One of the messages we have heard loud and clear from our military commanders is the ever growing need for undersea capabilities, particularly in light of rapidly changing dynamics around the world,” said Courtney. “Meeting that demand and the increasing fleet requirements for our attack submarine force will require us to take aggressive but realistic actions to increase submarine production. This proposal, which was crafted on a bipartisan basis along with Chairman Wittman and our colleagues on the subcommittee hits that mark by laying out a path to achieve a three submarine build rate where capacity exists in the submarine industrial base. As with the larger mark will be present later this week, the submarine provisions will help achieve the needs of our nation through a larger and highly capable naval force."
June 13, 2017 Press Release
During his questioning, Courtney told Mattis that the 2018 budget request is “a 308-ship Navy budget that was sent over here, not a 350-ship budget.” In addition he expressed concern that “this budget…undercuts that demand signal” to the shipbuilding supply chain that is needed to build a larger fleet, and that “we've got to do better than what was sent over.”
"The tankers, bombers, and airlift programs that fall under the “projection forces” side of our panel’s oversight serve as the backbone of our nation’s ability to bring and sustain the power that preserves our nation’s interests around the world. As we know all too well, however, these important aircraft all share the common enemy of age. The tankers and bombers in service today are largely legacy aircraft. These aircraft, in most cases, are much older than the airmen and women who fly and service them. That is why it will be critical that we ensure that the 2018 budget properly invests in the refueling, mobility, maritime patrol and long-range strike programs under our purview."
“Thank you, Mr. Chairman. We are joined today by three distinguished witnesses to discuss the fiscal year 2018 budget request for the Department of the Navy and Marine Corps. Before we get into the substance of the hearing, I think it is important to remember the context in which we are considering the budget request submitted yesterday. In December of last year, the Navy under President Obama and Secretary Mabus released an updated Force Structure Assessment (FSA) that laid out a requirement for increasing the fleet from 308 ships to 355. Among other factors, the FSA noted that increased operations, lengthened deployments, and changing conditions around the globe necessitated the boost. Then, in the early days of the Trump Administration, the Navy submitted an accelerated fleet plan that, in the words of Acting Navy Secretary Sean Stackley, “offers a first step towards a framework to develop strategic guidance and identify the investments needed to reinvigorate our naval forces.” That plan identified 29 additional ships that the Navy found could be accelerated in support of the larger fleet identified in the FSA."
May 23, 2017 Press Release
“The 2018 budget released today begs the question: where is the Navy build up?” said Courtney. “We have a new Force Structure Assessment calling for 355 ships released last year that was the result of a lengthy analysis on the future needs of the fleet conducted by the previous administration. We have an accelerated shipbuilding plan prepared by the Navy in the early days of the new administration that found that 29 ships could be added to the shipbuilding plan over the next few years beginning in 2018. And, just last week, the Chief of Naval Operations released a white paper underscoring the urgent need to get moving on the larger fleet."
“Ratification of the U.N. Convention on the Law of the Sea is critical for our national security,” said Courtney. “Given the increasing challenges we are seeing around the globe in excess maritime claims that threaten stability and commerce on the seas, the lack of US ratification of UNCLOS leaves us without a seat at the table when key decisions and rulings are made. I will continue to urge my colleagues in the Senate to ratify the convention and address our most obvious maritime double standard.”
"Since the cancellation of the Expeditionary Fighting Vehicle in 2011, the Navy and Marine Corps have wrestled with what the right distance is for the Marines to disembark the ship and what type of vehicle that should be in. This is not an easy debate and is one I am sure we will talk more about today. However, there is more to this than just what distance an amphibious ships should launch its vehicles from or what type of vehicles those should be. Our military is a joint force and will always operate that way in any contingency, so we need to be talking about how to fully integrate our amphibious forces and ensure they are leveraging the technologies that are other forces are relying on. "
May 3, 2017 Press Release
“While this should have been completed last year, I am pleased that members from both sides of the aisle finally came together to pass a fair and bipartisan spending bill to close out the fiscal year,” said Courtney. “Our military leaders and industry have been clamoring for the budget certainty they need to move forward on a wide range of programs and priorities. This could have been finalized months ago, and it is my hope thebipartisan framework passed today can serve as a model for avoiding similar delays on the 2018 budget. As ranking member of the Seapower subcommittee, I am pleased that this measure reflects many of the priorities I have worked on including robust investment in our undersea forces. I am proud to have fought for key investments in programs important to Connecticut that will contribute to our state’s growing manufacturing resurgence and our nation’s security.”