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Ranking Member Courtney Statement on 2017 Budget Request for Seapower and Projection Forces Programs

February 9, 2016
Press Release

Washington, DC – Congressman Joe Courtney, Ranking Member of the Seapower and Projection Forces Subcommittee, issued the following statement on the release of the 2017 budget:

“On balance, the 2017 budget appears to make significant investments in order to enhance the capabilities of the naval and projection forces platforms overseen by our panel,” said Courtney. “From expanding the reach and punch of our surface and subsurface forces, to strengthening our ability to project power through long range strike and refueling capabilities, I am pleased with many of the decisions reflected in this budget.”

“There are some areas, however, that I will more closely examine in the coming days and weeks. These include changes to the Littoral Combat Ship, a reversal of the existing plan for modernizing the cruiser fleet and the way forward on the unmanned element to the carrier air wing.  As we have in the past, I believe our subcommittee will undertake a thorough and bipartisan review of the budget not just for 2017 but for the years ahead – and, where needed, make adjustments in the best interest of our nation’s security on, below and above the seas both now and in the future.”

Undersea Capabilities/Ohio Replacement

“The 2017 budget request reflects the key role that our undersea forces continue to play in our nation’s defense. While I will be digging into the budget in more detail in the days and weeks ahead, it is clear that the budget provides strong support to the programs vital to maintaining our nation’s leading edge under the sea. Of particular interest is the decision to add additional Virginia Payload Module capacity into the next block of submarines – this is a key component of our ability to preserve the undersea strike capacities that will be lost as our SSGNs go offline, and I am pleased that the Navy has heeded bipartisan concern about this issue. As the Ranking Member of the House Seapower and Projection Forces subcommittee with oversight of the Navy’s shipbuilding plans, I will continue to work to protect, and where needed, expand on the strong support provided to our undersea forces in this budget.”

“The budget this year is significant because it marks the first time that funds for the Ohio Replacement appear in the shipbuilding account, making the debate over funding for this national priority more urgent than ever before. I will continue to work with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to ensure that the Navy has the resources, support and authorities it needs to replace our aging fleet of strategic deterrence submarines in a responsible and cost-effective way, while ensuring that we are building a diverse fleet for the future.”

Cruiser Modernization

“After years of significant debate on this topic, the 2015 and 2016 National Defense Authorization Acts supported a thoughtful compromise which enacted the ‘2-4-6’ plan that the Navy has already begun to implement. Rolling that plan back now will rightfully raise bipartisan concern and scrutiny as we consider the budget. Instead of reversing course, I think there would be interest in working with the Department of Defense and Navy to try and find ways to fully maximize all the tools and funding available to modernize these ships so they can continue to perform the important roles they play around the world.”

UCLASS/CBARS

“I am pleased that the budget will finally include a way forward on integrating unmanned capability in our carrier air wing. I have long felt that it was important to move forward in adding this capability to our fleet, while ensuring that we have a path forward to expanding the range of missions it can provide in the future. Given the close look our subcommittee had taken at this program over the last two years, I look forward to examining in detail the proposal in the budget and how it lines up with current and future requirements.”

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