News Column

Forbes Releases Seapower Subcommittee Mark Ensuring 11 Carrier Fleet and Investments in Undersea and Surface Capabilities

April 29, 2014

WASHINGTON, April 29 -- Rep. J. Randy Forbes, R-Va. (4th CD), issued the following news release:

Congressman J. Randy Forbes (VA-04), Chairman of the House Armed Services Seapower and Projection Forces Subcommittee, released today the legislative language of the Seapower Subcommittee's mark of the 2015 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). Chairman Forbes led the Seapower Subcommittee in producing a mark which designates essential funding and sets priorities for the U.S. Navy, Marine Corps and Air Force.

"This mark affirms the need for strong and growing U.S. Navy capable of meeting the challenges of the 21st century," Chairman Forbes said. "Whether ensuring an 11 aircraft carrier fleet, setting the direction for the future composition of the carrier air wing, continuing the United States' advantage in undersea warfare, or supporting our Air Force refueling capability, this mark continues our Subcommittee's bipartisan tradition of advocating for U.S. dominance at sea and in the air."

Highlights of the Seapower Subcommittee mark include:

* Providing full funding for the refueling and complex overhaul (RCOH) of the USS George Washington (CVN-73). The mark provides for the continued service life of CVN-73, meeting the legal requirement for the U.S. Navy to maintain an 11 carrier Fleet and rejecting an Administration plan to move toward a 10 carrier fleet.

* Ensuring full funding for the USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN-79). The mark continues full funding for the next generation aircraft carrier, supporting U.S. power projection capabilities for decades to come.

* Continuing critical investments in Virginia-class attack submarines and Arleigh Burke-class destroyers. The Seapower mark continues to provide two-a-year procurement of Virginia-class submarines, maintaining U.S. dominance in the undersea domain. The mark also protects the procurement of two Arleigh Burke-class destroyers in FY15 at a time of growing demand for U.S. surface capabilities around the globe.

* Supporting continuation of the Littoral Combat Ship program. The mark supports procurement of two LCS and advance procurement for an additional two LCS in support of the Navy's continuing requirement for a small surface combatant.

* Authorizing an additional 96 Tomahawk missiles. The mark seeks to fill the Navy's growing shortfall in munitions by procuring additional Tomahawk land-attack missiles.

* Authorizing six KC-46 refueling aircraft. The mark provides for the procurement of six KC-46 refueling aircraft required to logistically support U.S. power projection capabilities worldwide.

* Supporting the C-130 modernization program. The mark continues support for the C-130 avionics modernization program necessary for a vigorous U.S. strategic lift capacity.

In addition, Chairman Forbes will introduce language that prohibits the premature retirement of cruisers and amphibious ships and that expands the authority of the Navy to use the Ship Modernization, Operation and Sustainment Fund (SMOSF) to maintain and modernize 11 cruisers and 3 amphibious vessels. The provision will require that the Navy begin HM&E and Combat Systems modernization on two cruisers in FY15 using SMOSF funds.

Additionally, Chairman Forbes and Chairman Wittman are working in coordination to support an additional LPD-17 to meet the amphibious requirements of the Navy and Marine Corps.

Other features of the Seapower mark include:

* Establishing a Strategic Sea Deterrence Fund for SSBNX. The mark establishes a fund to support the development of the Ohio-class replacement ballistic missile submarine, thereby offsetting the impact on the shipbuilding accounts of this nationally-significant strategic program.

* Setting Direction for theUCLASS Program. The mark precludes the use of funds for the UCLASS program pending a review by the Secretary of Defense of the requirements for a carrier-based UAS to extend the ISR and precision strike reach of the carrier air wing in future A2/AD threat environments. On this issue, Forbes said that "I believe the current UCLASS requirements will not address the emerging anti-access/area-denial (A2/AD) challenges to US power projection that originally motivated creation of the Navy Unmanned Combat Air System (N-UCAS) program. A UCLASS program with the appropriate requirements is absolutely essential for the future of the carrier air wing and U.S. power projection capabilities in the decades ahead."

* Standardizing Ship Counting Procedures to Avoid "Paper Ships". The Subcommittee prevents the use in the Thirty Year Shipbuilding Plan of counting mechanisms that misleadingly bolster the size of the Navy's Fleet.

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Source: Targeted News Service

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