Thursday, April 28, 2016

Press Release: Forbes Praises Committee Passage of Major Defense Policy Bill

Congressman Randy Forbes

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Date: 04/28/2016                               

Forbes Praises Committee Passage of Major Defense Policy Bill  
 Bill Includes Forbes' Seapower Legislation With Key Shipbuilding, Ship Repair Provisions

Washington, D.C.–  Congressman J. Randy Forbes (VA-04), Chairman of the House Armed Services Seapower and Projection Forces Subcommittee, issued a statement following the House Armed Services Committee's passage of the annual defense policy bill:

"In the face of this Administration's repeated efforts to dismantle our military, the bipartisan passage of the annual defense policy bill marks a critical step toward rebuilding America's Armed Forces and providing our warriors with the tools they need to accomplish their missions and come home safely. Included in this bill is the legislation I authored to provide the most funding for shipbuilding since the Reagan era, preserve critical assets like our Navy's cruisers and Carrier Air Wing, and ensure major ship repair availabilities are occurring here in the U.S. rather than abroad. Not only does this legislation provide much needed stability for the Hampton Roads industrial base, it sends a clear message to this Administration: America has no higher priority than defending our defenders. I look forward to its passage in the House of Representatives."

Among the provisions authored by Forbes that are included in the annual defense policy bill are the following:

  • Revitalizes Navy Shipbuilding and Accelerates Key Programs in Hampton Roads. Forbes' legislation authorizes procurement of 3 additional ships (a destroyer, an amphibious ship, and a Littoral Combat Ship) above the Administration's budget and provides an additional $2.3 billion for shipbuilding beyond the President's budget request. $8 billion of the funding authorized in Forbes' legislation is for work on aircraft carriers and submarines performed in Hampton Roads. Between the shipbuilding account and the National Sea-Based Deterrence Fund, it authorizes $20.6 billion for shipbuilding—the highest level of shipbuilding funding, accounting for inflation, since President Reagan was in office. 
  • Calls for Navy to Build Aircraft Carriers 20% Faster. Forbes' legislation calls upon the Navy to build aircraft carriers every four years instead of five, a change in tempo that will increase the size of the carrier fleet and create more jobs at Newport News. The mark also authorizes the "block buy" of components for multiple carriers, reducing costs for the taxpayer. Carriers will continue to be the backbone of the U.S. Navy's ability to prevent and win America's wars.
  • Prohibits Inactivation of Navy Cruisers. Forbes' legislation prohibits the Navy from simultaneously inactivating 11 of 22 cruisers under its "phased modernization plan" and holds the Administration accountable for cruiser modernization by withholding funding from the Office of the Secretary of Defense until modernization contracts have been signed. This will help ensure that the Navy keeps these important vessels in service for years to come.
  • Denies Administration's Request for Authority to Deactivate a Carrier Air Wing. Forbes' legislation, along with efforts made by the Readiness and Military Personnel Subcommittees in their marks, denies the Navy's request to deactivate one of ten Carrier Air Wings and funds the continued operation of this critical capability. The Air Wing allows the aircraft carrier to remain the principal instrument of American power projection around the world.
  • Increases Navy Operations & Maintenance and manpower funding to sustain carrier air wing, cruisers, and prevent a hollow force. The full committee legislation increases funding for Navy Operations & Maintenance and manpower to support Forbes' efforts to prevent the inactivation of cruisers and deactivation of the Navy's 10th carrier air wing.   
  • Increases funding for ship repair, depots, and readiness. With Forbes' support, the full committee legislation authorizes an additional $1.3 billion in funding for Navy Operations and Maintenance on top of the President's budget request. This includes $158 million for afloat ship readiness, $308 million for ship depots, and $275 million for Navy sustainment, restoration, and modernization projects.  
  • Raises the threshold for competing ship repair availabilities outside homeports. At Forbes' request, the full committee legislation includes a provision that raises the threshold requiring major ship repair availabilities to be performed in homeport from 6 months to 10 months. This change provides greater stability for homeport shipyards, saves sailors and their families the hardship of moving to other ports, and gives the Navy more flexibility in mitigating workload valleys. 
  • Prohibits the Navy from performing major availabilities on forward-deployed naval forces overseas. Forbes' amendment prohibits the Navy from performing any overhaul, repair, or maintenance work that exceeds six months on forward-deployed naval vessels in foreign shipyards. This change will help sustain our domestic ship repair industrial base and ensure that work on forward-deployed vessels maintains U.S. standards.   

The legislation will now move to the full House of Representatives for a vote in the coming weeks.




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