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December 14, 2017
Press Release

WASHINGTON, DC—Today, Congressman Joe Courtney (CT-02), ranking member of the House Armed Services Subcommittee on Seapower and Projection Forces, issued the following statement on the Secretary of the Navy’s Strategic Readiness Review, which follows the Chief of Naval Operations’ Comprehensive Review of recent mishaps in the Pacific that led to the deaths of 17 sailors. Courtney was briefed on the findings of the review by Navy Secretary Richard V. Spencer yesterday.

“I want to thank Secretary Spencer for conducting this Strategic Review to complement the work of Admiral Richardson’s Comprehensive Review of Recent Surface Force Incidents that was released last month,” said Courtney. “The Secretary’s review is critical to examining the high-level, structural issues that have contributed to a degradation of our surface force readiness, and the tragedies that have occurred in the Pacific over the past 18 months.

“The Strategic Review makes serious recommendations on how the Navy should train, man, equip, organize, and command the surface force around the world. Some reforms have already been implemented by the Navy using its existing authorities. Other changes will require action on the part of Congress. The Review rightfully points out that Congress has contributed to readiness shortfalls through years of uncertain budgets and restrictive language shaping the Navy’s command structure. Some of the changes will no doubt face resistance within the Navy and in Congress, but I remain convinced that now is the time to take the bold action we know is needed. Commanding officers must have the ability to declare their ships unready, our operational tempo must slow down if the surface force cannot safely keep pace, and responsibilities for force generation and operational control must be clear and unambiguous.

“The completion of these reviews marks the beginning of a process for both the Navy and Congress to implement and oversee reforms needed to address the shortfalls exposed by the collisions. We owe it to the families of our lost sailors and to the families who entrust us to give their sailors the training and resources they need to do their job safely and effectively. As ranking member of the Seapower and Projection Forces Subcommittee, I am committed to being an active partner in this process.”