With no long-term plans in the FY22 budget, lawmakers are relying on ‘best judgment’ to fund the Navy


Moon over the United States Capitol on November 13, 2016. Photo by NASA

Congress has been asked to make important decisions on funding the Navy with limited information on the future of the service, two lawmakers said Tuesday.

“We will use our best judgment” when working on the Defense Authorization Bill for FY2022 without the necessary details, Rep. Joe Courtney (D-Conn.), Mentioned. The request of the Biden administration and the outline of the Trump administration for a future navy remain unanswered “what will be the composition of this fleet and when we get there” at the required size of 355, he added. .

Rep. Rob Wittman, (R-Va.) And senior member, said “which ships of which class” are details Congress needs from the navy, not just ideas on “the range of ships” for some time in the future.

The two predicted it could be a “pretty tough lift” to put a second destroyer back on the bill the budget didn’t ask for while failing to remove the ships as the administration demanded. .

“What is the thought [behind] cut a destroyer ‘off the construction program and aging cruisers that still have the Aegis capabilities the fleet needs, Courtney asked? Wittman wanted to know if the commanding officer of the Marine Corps, General David Berger, had been consulted about the reductions in the number of amphibious shipbuilding.

Both said at the Navy League event that they and the industrial base must know how quickly the Navy intends to build ships – with or without crew. Courtney said that could mean “considering increasing the capacity of another shipyard” to build unmanned ships and the new frigate. He also mentioned the increase in the capacity of the existing yard during the session.

At the end of the session, Wittman suggested using part of the proposed funds to rebuild infrastructure to apply them, not only to public but private shipyards, to modernize old facilities and expand their construction and repair capacity.

On large unmanned systems, Courtney said, “it’s still a bit of a question mark” as to what best meets the future needs of the Navy. He warned that Congress did not want to find out that “five years later, we have launched a program that does not meet the needs of the nation.”

Wittman added: “We don’t want to repeat the challenges we have faced with LCS [littoral combat ships] in the development of unmanned ships and future frigates. Both “also require some urgency” to spell out what is required and the development and delivery schedules.

“It’s very simple,” Courtney said of the frigate program. “We need this capacity. Let’s not reinvent the wheel ”where other nations have successfully built this class of ships.

Wittman, “we don’t want [discourage] innovation ”in shipbuilding programs, but he said the right concepts, like modularity, must be able to work with existing systems and those that can be upgraded. It was a problem with LCS, he said.

Looking at the impact of Colombia on shipbuilding spending for the rest of the decade, Courtney said he wanted to work with the Navy and civilian leaders in the Pentagon on ways to spread the cost of a single program within a generation over the defense budget most important.

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