24 June 2020
by Michael Fabey
The House Armed Services Committee (HASC) Subcommittee on Seapower and Projection Forces threatened to restrict some Pentagon funding on 23 June unless the legally mandated US Navy (USN) shipbuilding plan is delivered to lawmakers.
“The statutory requirement for the Defense Department to submit a 30-year shipbuilding plan was, and continues to be, brazenly ignored,” Congressman Joe Courtney (D-Connecticut), subcommittee chairman, said on 23 June during a hearing on its official markup of the Fiscal Year (FY) 2021 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA).
“The Department of Defense has also put us in the untenable position of authorising their shipbuilding request without any meaningful strategic or analytical context,” Courtney said.“
“The law is clear here,” he noted. “Since 2002, a 30-year shipbuilding plan is mandated to accompany the budget. The (Defense) Secretary (Mark Esper) has stated his opinion that a 30-year shipbuilding plan is of ‘questionable value,’ but the fact remains he is required to submit it. Congress has reaffirmed its support for this law on a number of occasions regardless of political party. This unprecedented impasse is unacceptable and therefore our mark restricts some funding for the Office of Secretary of Defense until the 30-year shipbuilding plan is delivered, and prohibits the retirement of any navy vessel until the Secretary of Defense provides a navy force-structure assessment.”
The navy’s shipbuilding budget was cut by 17% compared to last year, Courtney noted, and the request for new ships, as verified by the Congressional Research Service, was seven – the lowest since 2009.
The House Armed Services Committee (HASC) Subcommittee on Seapower and Projection Forces threatened ...