Courtney To Return As Ranking Member Of Seapower Subcommittee
WASHINGTON, D.C.—Today, Congressman Joe Courtney (CT-02) was once again named as the ranking member of the Seapower and Projection Forces Subcommittee of the House Armed Services Committee for the 115th Congress. The panel - on which he has served since entering Congress in 2007 and previously served as ranking member during the 114th Congress - oversees a broad range of programs including shipbuilding, airlift, deep strike bombers, seaborne unmanned systems, and national security aspects of our domestic maritime programs. When Courtney was named ranking member in 2015, he was the first Connecticut member to serve in the leadership of a naval related subcommittee in more than 40 years.
“I am pleased to return as ranking member of the Seapower subcommittee once again in the 115th Congress,” said Courtney. “Over the past ten years serving on the Seapower subcommittee, I have found that this panel has earned its reputation as one of the most bipartisan and productive in Congress. Our panel oversees some of the most critical capabilities on, below, and above the seas at a time when our nation needs them most. I am particularly excited that Congressman Rob Wittman, a friend and colleague with whom I have worked closely on bipartisan shipbuilding issues for the last decade, will serve as our new chairman.
“This session promises to be busier than ever as we work to implement the new force structure plan released last year to achieve a larger Navy fleet. Implementing this new plan will require us to focus on maximizing our industrial base capacity, ensuring that we complete necessary maintenance of our current fleet, and expanding the reach of our ships through increased capabilities. We need an all-of-the-above approach to achieving this larger fleet, and our bipartisan work to this point has set a strong framework for moving ahead.
“An area of particular focus for me will continue to be our undersea forces, which have been targeted for a significant increase in the Navy’s new plan. As the demand for submarine capabilities continues to outpace the supply, I will continue to work to sustain the two a year build rate on Virginia-class submarines while utilizing every available tool at our disposal to increase that rate wherever possible. I intend to remain focused on the progress we’ve made in expanding the National Sea-based Deterrence fund which will help ensure that the new Columbia-class is completed in a cost-efficient manner and on schedule.”
The Seapower and Projection Forces Subcommittee has jurisdiction over a number of areas, including Navy and Marine Corps procurement and development, strategic bombers and airlift, and national security related aspects of maritime policy. For Connecticut, specific priorities under the panel’s oversight include Navy shipbuilding programs like the Virginia and Columbia-class submarines, the B-21 Raider bomber powered by Pratt and Whitney engines, cargo airlift programs like the C-130H aircraft flown by the “Flying Yankees” of Connecticut’s Air National Guard out of Bradley, and other programs that are supported by Connecticut manufacturers and suppliers.
In his first term as ranking member, Courtney focused on several areas of concern for his district and the nation:
- Addressing looming shortfalls in our attack submarine force structure, and increasing undersea capabilities through advancements like the Virginia Payload Module
- Creating and expanding the National Sea-based deterrence fund (NSBDF), which provides the Navy with a broad set of tools to help bring down the costs of the new Columbia class submarine
- Highlighting the need to maximize the use of our existing Navy fleet through reliable maintenance and increased capabilities, while also increasing investment in key platforms needed for the future.
- Ensuring that our C-130H airlift fleet is fully modernized with the avionics, engines and propellers needed to stay viable for years to come
- Moving forward on the B-21 raider bomber, a central part of our strategic triad
- Establishing the National Security Multi Mission Vessel under the Maritime Administration to support the training pipeline of mariners for commercial and military sealift needs
- Advocating for Senate approval of the Law of the Sea treaty