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Forbes Leads Bipartisan Letter to Hagel on Importance of 11 Carrier Fleet

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Washington, D.C., Jan 31 | Alex Gray (202-225-6365) | comments

Congressman J. Randy Forbes (VA-04), Chairman of the House Armed Services Seapower and Projection Forces Subcommittee, today released a bipartisan letter to Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel on the importance of maintaining the U.S. Navy’s eleven nuclear aircraft carrier fleet. The letter was signed by eleven Members of Congress.
 
“The Secretary of the Navy was right this past fall when he noted that a smaller aircraft carrier fleet would be unable to execute the missions described in the Defense Strategic Guidance,” Congressman Forbes said. “Such a reduction in the Navy’s carrier force would profoundly damage U.S. national security, limiting our ability to deter aggression around the world and respond to crises in a timely manner. It is unacceptable to pretend that the United States lives in anything less than an 11 carrier world given China’s growing assertiveness in the Asia-Pacific, rising instability in the Middle East and the persistent danger of global terrorism. As Rear Admiral Moore has phrased it so starkly, we're an eleven carrier Navy in a 15 carrier world.”
                               

January 28, 2014

The Honorable Chuck Hagel
Secretary of Defense
Office of the Secretary of Defense
1000 Defense Pentagon
Washington, D.C. 20301

Dear Mr. Secretary:

We write to reiterate our strong support that the United States Navy should continue to require a naval fleet of no-less than 11 nuclear aircraft carriers.

The constant state of “surge” our Navy has operated at for the past decade is a testament to the growing demand signal from our Combatant Commanders and the shrinking size of our fleet. With the United States entering an era where our sea-services are likely to be called on to provide more presence, deterrence, and engagement throughout the Indo-Pacific littoral and across the globe, we believe now is the time to reinvest in our fleet, not look for ways to reduce its size and accept greater risk. Indeed, in a letter Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus sent to us in October 2013, he stated that a smaller nuclear aircraft carrier fleet would “deliver less forward presence, increased response time, and delayed arrivals to conflict. This force would be unable to execute the missions described in the Defense Strategic Guidance.”

Last year the House of Representatives expressed its strong support for the nuclear aircraft carrier fleet by voting overwhelmingly to maintain a statutory requirement to retain 11 operational aircraft carriers by a vote of 318 to 106. There is no doubt that there is enduring bipartisan support for a robust Navy supporting a capital fleet of 11 nuclear aircraft carriers. We strongly agree with Rear Admiral Thomas Moore who stated last year that “We’re an 11-carrier Navy in a 15-carrier world…The demand signal is not likely to go down any time soon.”

Thank you for your attention to this matter.  We look forward to working with you on this issue and to strengthen our sea services in the years ahead.

Sincerely,

HOWARD P. “BUCK” MCKEON  
Chairman, House Armed Services Committee                         

MIKE MCINTYRE
Member of Congress

J. RANDY FORBES
Member of Congress

SUSAN DAVIS
Member of Congress

ROB WITTMAN
Member of Congress      

RICK LARSEN
Member of Congress   

SCOTT RIGELL    
Member of Congress                                                         

DEREK KILMER
Member of Congress

DUNCAN HUNTER  
Member of Congress 

SCOTT PETERS
Member of Congress

BOBBY SCOTT
Member of Congress 

                               

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Tags: Defense