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Forbes: Defense Budget Fails Our Military With Unacceptable Trade-offs
Washington, D.C., February 9, 2016
Contact: Alex Gray 2027376560

Washington, D.C. – Congressman J. Randy Forbes (VA-04), Chairman of the House Armed Services Seapower and Projection Forces Subcommittee, issued the following statement on the release of President Obama’s FY17 defense budget:


       “The Obama Administration has sent over another budget request that fails to fully fund our military and forces the armed services to make unacceptable tradeoffs.  Although I am generally pleased to see increased investment in some of the high-end capabilities that I have been championing for years, I am concerned by the proposed force structure cuts including $7 billion in cuts to Navy ships and personnel.  President Obama has forced our armed services to choose between capability and capacity, but the undeniable reality is that our military needs more of both.  It is now up to Congress to correct these errors and place our national security on a stronger footing.”



       Below are quotes from Congressman Forbes on various aspects of the President’s budget proposal:


  • Ohio Replacement Program/National Sea-Based Deterrence Fund: “With work and funding for Ohio Replacement ramping up, I am concerned that we aren’t using all the tools in our toolbox to make this submarine construction affordable.  I continue to believe that the authorities in the National Sea-Based Deterrence Fund and the 10% savings that our best budget analysts think they could deliver will be critical to mitigating the impact of ORP on the Navy’s shipbuilding programs.”   


  • UCLASS: “Unmanned aircraft have the potential to fill several different capability gaps in the carrier air wing.  I continue to believe that the carrier air wing's most glaring capability gap is its lack of long-range penetrating strike, although an alternative to “buddy tanking” is clearly also needed.  I look forward to examining the scenarios and analysis driving these programmatic decisions, and will continue pressing the Navy to fully harness the incredible potential of unmanned technology."    


  • Surface combatants/Cruisers: “Today, we have 272 ships and have a long way to go to build the 308-ship navy that our Navy leaders have indicated is necessary for our national security.   I remain concerned about the overall size of the fleet and our ability to generate sufficient presence and surge capacity.  I am particularly bothered that it seems that the Navy is being forced once again to lay up half its cruisers, breaking faith with Congress and depriving the fleet of air and missile defense capacity that is going to be in more demand than ever.”


  • Undersea warfare: “I’m pleased to see that the administration recognizes the strategic importance of sustaining our dominance undersea, and is working to sustain it and exploit it.  I’ve been pushing to increase funding for UUVs, new weapons, and other potential “game changers” in the undersea domain, and I am glad to see senior leaders in the Pentagon giving them the additional emphasis they deserve.”


  • Carrier Air Wing: “This administration is committed to the reduction of our naval forces.  Two years ago, they proposed to eliminate an aircraft carrier.  This year, they want to eliminate an aircraft carrier wing.  I think this is a dangerous trajectory.  My Subcommittee added almost $1 billion to ensure we retain our aircraft carrier force structure and have added over $2 billion to support additional strike fighters over the last two years.  I opposed the elimination of the aircraft carrier and will seek to oppose any ill advised reductions in our aircraft carrier wing.”


  • Virginia Payload Module (VPM): “The Virginia Payload Module will be absolutely critical to mitigating looming shortfalls in attack submarines and the loss of 60 percent of our undersea payload capacity when the SSGNs retire.  I have pushed DoD and the Navy to add these modules to as many boats as possible and would support adding this capability to new submarine construction as soon as possible.”   


  • Defense Top-Line Budget: “Looking around the world today, there can be no question that more resources are needed for national defense.  Given the evolving threats we see and the changing demands on our military, it is irresponsible for this administration treat the BBA as a “cap” or “ceiling” and not a “floor” the way the law was written.  We need to fully fund contingency operations without cannibalizing our force structure and modernization accounts.”   


  • Offset Strategy: “We have been talking about offset strategies since before it became popular, so I strongly support the concept.  That said, we still need to see what the specifics in the budget are, and what the offsets to the offsets are.  I’ve discussed this at some length with Deputy Secretary Bob Work, but look forward to looking at the details in the budget.” 

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