WASHINGTON - Congressman Rob Wittman (VA-01), Ranking Member of the House Armed Services Subcommittee on Seapower and Projection Forces (SPF), released the following statement after the subcommittee published its proposals for the Fiscal Year 2020 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA):
“It is a privilege to work on such a bipartisan subcommittee that is laser-focused on providing our sailors, marines, and airmen the tools they need to keep our nation safe. The FY20 SPF mark authorizes procurement of three Virginia-class attack submarines – a provision I have long advocated for. The Navy’s most recent Force Structure Assessment reported that the U.S. needs 66 attack submarines to meet Navy operational plans – however, under our current schedule, the attack submarine inventory would fall from 52 boats in fiscal year 2019 to 42 boats in fiscal year 2028; it wouldn’t reach 66 attack submarines until 2048. The subcommittee’s mark takes the steps to accelerate the build schedule and bring our fleet closer to the 66 submarines requested by our Combatant Commanders.
“The mark also makes the necessary investments in our auxiliary forces, rebuilding the force that provides the logistical support to our men and women in uniform in times of need. It includes purchasing two vessels for our Ready Reserve Fleet (RRF), sets up the Tanker Security Program, and reauthorizes the Maritime Security Program, as well as extends it to FY2035. The mark also recommends full funding for the B-21 Raider program, the future of our comber force.
“Finally, the mark contains several provisions to support the construction and maintenance of our aircraft carriers – our nation’s preeminent power project platform. It includes authorization for the Refueling and Complex Overhauls (RCOH) for the USS Truman – giving it another 25 years of service. By eliminating cost caps on carrier construction, the subcommittee is ensuring that our next generation of aircraft carriers will be technologically equipped to handle the next generation of airplanes.
"As Russia and China grow their naval presence, it is absolutely critical that we continue to invest in and rebuild our Navy. The 11 ships, including the three Virginia-Class Attack submarines, included in this mark puts us on the path of reaching our national requirement of 355 ships. I hope we are able to advance these important provisions to the full committee and look forward to continuing to promote them as the NDAA process moves forward."
- Recommends to the full committee that the Navy procure 11 battle force ships including three Virginia-class submarines, three DDG 51 Arleigh Burke destroyers; one guided missile Frigate (FFG); one Amphibious Transport Dock ship (LPD Flight II); one T-AO 205 oiler; and two T-ATS towing, salvage, and rescue ships;
- Fully funds the Columbia-class submarine program and recommends additional funds for submarine supplier development;
- Recommends full funding for the B-21 Raider program;
- Increased oversight of the B-52 Commercial Engine Replacement Program (CERP), requiring the Air Force to ensure they have firm requirements;
- Restores funding associated with the USS Harry S. Truman refueling overhaul and prohibits the Navy from reducing the number of aircraft carriers below the statutory requirement of 11;
- Supports the Navy’s #1 Unfunded Priority request to authorize funding for three submarine maintenance availabilities;
- Expands the merchant marine by increasing the U.S. flagged tanker fleet by ten vessels.