6 May 2015
Defense Secretary Ashton B. Carter submitted a statement May 6 to the Senate Appropriations Committee defending the department’s fiscal 2016 budget statement as part of his appearance before the committee.
The section of the statement pertaining directly to the Navy and Marine Corps is reproduced verbatim below:
“The Navy and Marine Corps are allocated $161 billion for fiscal year 2016, supporting a 282-ship fleet in 2016 and a 304-ship fleet by fiscal year 2020 with a return to 11 aircraft carriers, 386,600 active-duty and Reserve Sailors, and 222,900 active-duty and Reserve Marines.
The President’s budget invests $16.6 billion in shipbuilding for fiscal year [FY] 2016, and $95.9 billion over the FYDP [Future Years Defense Plan]. The budget protects critical Navy and Marine Corps investments in undersea, surface, amphibious, and airborne capabilities all of which are critical for addressing emerging threats. Specifically:
• Submarines: We are requesting $5.7 billion for FY 2016, and $30.9 billion over the FYDP, to support buying two Virginia-class attack submarines a year through FY 2020. We are also requesting $1.4 billion in FY 2016, and $10.5 billion over the FYDP, to support the replacement for the Ohio-class ballistic-missile submarine.
• DDG 51 Guided-Missile Destroyers: We are requesting $3.4 billion for FY 2016, and $18.5 billion over the FYDP, to support the continued development and procurement of two DDG 51 destroyers a year through FY 2020.
• Aircraft Carriers: The president’s budget plan enables us to support 11 carrier strike groups. We are requesting $678 million in FY 2016, and $3.9 billion over the FYDP, to support the refueling and overhaul of the USS George Washington. We are also requesting $2.8 billion in FY 2016, and $12.5 billion over the FYDP, to support completion of the Gerald Ford, fourth-year construction of the John F. Kennedy, and long-lead items for CVN 80, Enterprise.
• Littoral Combat Ships (LCS) and Small Surface Combatants: We are requesting $1.8 billion in FY 2016, and $9.4 billion over the FYDP, to support development and procurement of 14 littoral combat ships over the FYDP including three LCSs in FY 2016. We are also requesting $55 million in FY 2016, and $762.8 million over the FYDP, to support capability improvements to the survivability and lethality of the LCS required for the Navy to modify it into a small surface combatant.
• Fleet Replenishment Oiler: We are requesting $674 million to support buying one new fleet replenishment oiler, the TAO(X), in FY 2016 part of a $2.4 billion request to buy four of them over the FYDP.
• Amphibious Transport Docks: We are requesting $668 million in FY 2016 to finish buying one San Antonio-class amphibious transport dock.
• F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter: The Department of the Navy is procuring two F-35 variants, the Navy carrier-based F-35C and the Marine Corps short-takeoff-and-vertical-landing F-35B. The Navy and Marine Corps are requesting $3.1 billion in FY 2016 to support procurement of 13 aircraft nine F-35Bs and four F-35Cs and aircraft modifications and initial spares, and $20.9 billion over the FYDP to support procurement of 121 aircraft and aircraft modifications and initial spares.
• Patrol and Airborne Early Warning Aircraft: We are requesting $3.4 billion in FY 2016, and $10.1 billion over the FYDP, to support continued development and procurement of 47 P-8A Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft through FY 2020. We are also requesting $1.3 billion in FY 2016, and $6.1 billion over the FYDP, to support buying 24 E-2D Hawkeye airborne early warning aircraft through FY 2020.
Making these investments while also abiding by fiscal prudence, we had to make more difficult trade-offs. For that reason, we are resubmitting our request to place some of the Navy’s cruisers and an amphibious landing ship 12 ships in total, including 11 cruisers into a phased modernization program that will provide them with enhanced capability and a longer lifespan. Given that our cruisers are the most capable ships for controlling the air defenses of a carrier strike group, and in light of anti-ship missile capabilities being pursued by other nations, this modernization program will, over the next decade and a half, be a baseline requirement for sustaining both our cruiser fleet and 11 carrier strike groups through 2045.
I acknowledge and appreciate the plan put forward in the omnibus Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriations Act, 2015, which helps us get to our goal, and which we have begun to implement. However, this plan is more expensive, and results in shorter ship life. Considering that our plan is critical for our power projection capabilities,
we believe it should be implemented in full, and look forward to working with the Congress as we move forward.”