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Opening Statement of Ranking Member Rob Wittman for the Subcommittee on Seapower and Projection Forces NDAA Mark

The time for “trying” is over and the time for “doing” is upon us

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on Seapower and Projection Forces Rob Wittman (VA-01) gave the following statement to open the subcommittee’s NDAA mark:

“The Seapower and Projection Forces mark is a strong, bipartisan mark.  Chairman Courtney has done a great job of advancing the interests of the Seapower and Projection Forces.    

“This Seapower mark, and as I review the chairman’s mark, are worth supporting.  Based on the blueprint provided by President Biden, the mark tries to address our nation’s most pressing national security needs. The mark tries to address growing shortfalls as we try to match a strident Chinese military ambition and counter a new communist world order.  For example, the mark includes another destroyer, the #1 Unfunded Request by CNO Gilday and the Navy.  The mark also includes critical capabilities to support our nation’s strategic deterrence with continued strong investments in the Columbia-class ballistic missile submarine and the B-21 Raider bomber. 

“But, here is where I differ. As we contemplate our nation’s course and develop a new vision, I am reminded of a quote from one of my favorite movie characters. Jedi Master Yoda was training his new student, Luke Skywalker on the powers of the Force.  Yoda asked Skywalker to accomplish a seemingly impossible task. To this, Luke responded, "I'll try". Then came Yoda's iconic retort: “Try not. Do or do not. There is no try.”

“I believe the time for “trying” is over and the time for “doing” is upon us.  I think “doing” requires us to embrace a new reality that our nation’s national security rests on establishing a military that is able to compete in South China Seas and the Arctic.  I think “doing” requires us to establish a path to an expanded naval force and a deep penetrating, long range strike capabilities. 

“My “doing” compels me to endorse Chairman Rogers $25B amendment that adds additional naval combatants and rejects the administration’s desire to retire naval combatants that, in their entirety, represent the entire strike capability of the British Naval surface forces.  “Doing” requires us to expand investment in the science and technology sector and “doing” expands the submarine industrial base to a rate of construction that enables 3 attack submarines a year.  RM Rogers $25B amendment “does” what our national security requires. 

“I think the age of “trying” is over, the age of “doing” is upon us.  I seek to “do” what our nation requires of us, “doing” compels us to ensure our national security.  Anything short of “doing” will not fulfill our constitutional oath.”