The House Armed Services Committee and its subcommittees offered its markup on the FY17 proposed budget and it was a mixed bag for the Navy. Here’s some specifics.
- Increases the Navy’s shipbuilding budget to $20.6B
- Adds a destroyer, amphibious ship, and LCS
- Denies the Navy’s request to idle 7 additional Aegis cruisers while they await “modernization” and prohibits the Navy from inactivating the cruisers. Modernization funding is withheld until the contracts are signed.
- Denies the Navy’s request to disestablish a carrier air wing
- Transfers funding into the National Sea-Based Deterrent Fund (SSBN funding outside regular Navy shipbuilding accounts)
- Calls for building carriers every four years instead of the current five+
- Calls for the Navy to increase submarine construction rates
- Doubles Tomahawk production
- Prohibits further retirement of Avenger class MCM vessels
As I said, this is a mixed bag.
On the plus side, I like that Congress is asserting its oversight responsibility and, in many cases, ignoring the Navy’s ill-conceived wishes. On the minus side, some of their changes are highly suspect.
An additional LCS is absurd and is just throwing good money after bad. The LCS is a proven failure of near-epic proportion. I have no idea what Congress is thinking.
Congress has clearly seen through the Navy’s ploy to early retire the Aegis cruisers. Well done, Congress!
Congress is as concerned as I am about the Navy’s attempts to retire another carrier and air wing. Again, well done.
Calling for increase submarine construction is well and good but I’m not certain that it’s physically possible in terms of yard capacity. I’ve read reports suggesting that we can’t increase production very much. I would also like to have seen Congress mandate that the Navy keep existing
class subs for their full service life instead of
retiring them early as they are currently doing. Los Angeles
Banning the Navy from retiring the Avenger MCM vessels is good but it would have been even better to mandate upgrades. It will be years before the Navy fields an effective LCS MCM capability, if ever.
All in all, I’ll give Congress a, “Well done,” on this one. Of course, this is only a markup by one committee. Much could change before this budget becomes law.
(1)Defense News website, “House Seapower Markup Restores Ship, Aircraft Cuts”, Christopher Cavas,