Joint Explanatory Statement to Accompany the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2014by Representative J. Randy Forbes
Posted on 2013-12-12
FORBES. Mr. Speaker, I rise in support of the National Defense
Authorization Act of fiscal year 2014.
With the chairman and ranking member's leadership, I believe that this bipartisan bill supports our men and women in uniform and provides them the necessary authorities and funding levels to defend our national security interests.
As to the Seapower and Projection Forces Subcommittee effort, I continue to be concerned about both the size and composition of our Navy's fleet. I am especially troubled by our physical trend lines that serve to diminish our military capabilities and embolden potential aggressors.
In testimony before our subcommittee, Navy admirals indicated that sequestration may serve to reduce our Navy's force structure to 257 ships by the year 2020. The commandant of the Marine Corps indicated that he sees ``the beginning of a hollow force we have fought hard to avoid.'' This path is simply unacceptable.
I think this bill does a good job of reversing some of these negative trends and moves us in the right direction by authorizing eight combat ships and ensures that we retain and modernize our current fleet proposed for retirement until the end of its designed service life. It also provides surety to the continued construction of our aircraft carrier and attack submarine force structure, while continuing necessary oversight and cost-control efforts to preserve affordability.
The negative fiscal trend lines are not only resident within the naval forces, but are also significantly impairing the ability of our Air Force to project power. The chief of staff of the Air Force indicated that he anticipates an almost 10 percent reduction in the Air Force's force structure. Once again, this is not sustainable and erodes our combat capability.
While I am pleased with the efforts of my subcommittee regarding the projection of global force capabilities, we still have a long way to go. This bill provides strategic Air Force investments in terms of both the KC-46A tanker program and the Long Range Strike Bomber. These are capabilities that need to be nurtured carefully.
This bill also includes important cost-saving initiatives that provide the Navy and Air Force with the ability to procure the E-2D Hawkeye and C-130H Super Hercules aircraft using multi-year procurement authority.
Mr. Speaker, for all of this, I hope that we will support this bill and give the added resources that we need for our men and women in uniform.