U.S. Senator Roger Wicker, R-Miss., and Congressman Rob Wittman, R-Va., Thursday introduced bicameral, bipartisan legislation that would make it the policy of the United States to achieve the Navy’s requirement of 355 ships.
Under the “Securing the Homeland by Increasing our Power on the Seas (SHIPS) Act,” the fleet would be comprised of the optimal mix of platforms, with funding levels subject to annual appropriations. Currently, only 276 ships are in the battle fleet.
“We need a strong Navy to project American power and secure our nation’s interests around the globe,” Wicker said. “The Navy has set a clear requirement for 355 ships – an objective that is achievable in the coming years with prudent planning and sufficient resources. Building up our fleet is a national project and should be a source of national pride. By establishing the 355 ship goal as national policy, the ‘SHIPS Act’ will keep us focused on this critical endeavor.”
“My objective as Seapower chairman in this year’s NDAA is to send a strong signal that we intend to grow our Fleet to 355 ships,” Wittman said. “I believe industry is ready to ramp up production to get us there and Congress must do its part and provide the necessary funding for shipbuilding accounts so we get on the proper glide path to 355. This bill, which I am pleased to have worked on with my counterpart Senator Roger Wicker, sends that strong signal as we head into NDAA mark-up. A fleet of 355 ships will allow us to deter our adversaries, support our allies, and respond to threats and humanitarian challenges around the globe.”
Wicker and Wittman serve as Chairmen of the Senate and House subcommittees that oversee the Navy and Marine Corps.
The legislation mirrors the Navy’s recent force-structure assessment that said it needed 355 ships to meet the demands on its forces.
The Senate bill is cosponsored by Sen. Mazie Hirono, D-Hawaii, who serves as the Ranking Member on the Seapower Subcommittee, as well as Sens. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., Thad Cochran, R-Miss., Tom Cotton, R-Ark., Susan Collins, R-Maine, Jim Inhofe, R-Okla., Tim Kaine, D-Va., Angus King, I-Maine, David Perdue, R-Ga., Pat Roberts, R-Kan., Mike Rounds, R-S.D., Marco Rubio, R-Fla., Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H., Luther Strange, R-Ala., Dan Sullivan, R-Alaska, and Thom Tillis, R-N.C.
The House bill is cosponsored by Reps. Jim Banks, R-Ind., Bradley Byrne, R-Ala., Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., Trent Franks, R-Ariz., Mike Gallagher, R-Wisc., Colleen Hanabusa, D-Hawaii, Carol Shea-Porter, D-N.H., and Bill Shuster, R-Pa.
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