Hearing aboard USS Eisenhower to Underscore Need for Larger Navy

first_imgTo highlight the need to commit more spending to expand the Navy’s fleet, the House Armed Services Committee plans to hold a hearing aboard the USS Eisenhower at Norfolk Naval Station later this month.“The Navy’s readiness and force structure shortfalls are real and dangerous,” Randy Forbes (R-Va.), chair of the committee’s Seapower and Projection Forces Subcommittee, told Stars and Stripes.“We are seeing the shrinking fleet directly impact the readiness of our sailors. Fewer ships and growing threats mean longer deployments and greater strain on sailors and their families,” Forbes said.Holding a hearing aboard an aircraft carrier appears to be a first, according to congressional staff. Forbes said holding the hearing outside of Washington will allow lawmakers to gather the “unvarnished opinions” of Navy leaders. Several Navy captains — along with Adm. Phil Davidson, commander of Fleet Forces Command — are expected to deliver testimony.Forbes has criticized the Obama administration for the state of Navy readiness and the inadequate 272-ship Navy. Forbes has called for bolstering the fleet to 350 ships and recommended increasing the Pentagon’s budget request for shipbuilding by $2.3 billion to $20.6 billion in the fiscal 2017 defense authorization bill. That would represent the highest level of funding authorized for shipbuilding since the end of the Cold War, he said.A bigger Navy also has become central to Forbes’ re-election bid in southern Virginia, according to the story. Dan Cohen AUTHORlast_img

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