Contact: Jessica Mancari (202) 225-6365
Members Introduce Legislation to Compel DoD to Produce Shipbuilding Plan
Washington, D.C., Jun 1, 2009 - Congressman J. Randy Forbes (VA-04) announced today that he and seven Members of the House Armed Services Committee have filed H.Res. 477, a resolution of inquiry to direct the Secretary of Defense to produce an annual shipbuilding plan as required by law.
The legislation comes in response to the testimony of Chief of Naval Operations Admiral Gary Roughead before the House Armed Services Committee on May 14 of this year, in which he stated that the Navy would not submit a congressionally-mandated 30-year shipbuilding report with its fiscal year 2010 budget request as it was required to do by law. Failure to submit the annual plan is unprecedented.
“At a time when China is rapidly closing the 23-ship gap between their navy and ours, and at a time when our Navy is operating with $4.6 billion in unmet requirements, Americans would be shocked to know that the Department of Defense cannot or will not produce a key plan for the future of our naval fleet,” Forbes said. “Amidst restructuring at the Department of Defense, it is unacceptable to argue our nation can rely on last year’s shipbuilding plan. This year’s annual report is even more critical in light of last year’s shipbuilding plan which revealed a shocking 44% increase in the Navy's estimated average annual cost to implement its 30-year plan to achieve a 313-ship Navy.”
Concerns about the Navy's ability to afford its long-range shipbuilding plan, combined with fluctuating year-to-year changes in Navy shipbuilding objectives and significant cost growth have led to strong concerns among some Members about the status of Navy shipbuilding and the potential future size and capabilities of the fleet.
Section 231 of Title 10 of the US Code requires the Secretary of Defense to submit an annual shipbuilding plan that details the long-term shipbuilding strategy of the Department of Defense as part of each year’s budget request. Congress first mandated an annual shipbuilding plan in 2003 as part of the FY2004 budget.
H.Res. 477 has been referred to the House Armed Services Committee. A resolution of inquiry is a rare legislative tool that seeks factual information from the executive branch. It is a privileged resolution and, as such, the committee has only 14 legislative days in which to consider the measure before it can be called before the full House. Eight Members of the House Armed Services Committee have currently cosponsored H.Res. 477.
Congressman Forbes is Ranking Member of the House Armed Services Readiness Subcommittee. For more information on his work on defense issues, visit http://forbes.house.gov/issues/defense.htm.