Byrne Responds to Hagel’s Budgetary Priorities
Washington, DC – February 24, 2014 – Representative Bradley Byrne (AL-1) responded to Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel, who earlier today recommended that the Navy cut its order of the littoral combat ship (LCS) by 20 vessels. The Independence-class LCS is built in the Port of Mobile by Austal USA, employing roughly 4,000 residents of Alabama’s First Congressional District.
Byrne said: “The Littoral Combat Ship, called ‘the backbone of the future fleet’ by Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus, is a critical component of our future fighting force as we continue adapting to changing combat necessities. This ship, built on time and within budget by Alabama workers in the Port of Mobile, is uniquely situated to fill the role of three different Navy missions integral to the Navy’s global strategy and will do so by replacing four separate vessels all approaching the end of their respective service lives. Its low cost to manufacture and low cost to operate bolster the argument for its necessity during tight budgetary times.
“The decision to cut the order of these ships could place the Navy’s procurement schedule back by a decade, further shrinking our Navy at a time when force projection remains an integral axis of the Administration’s pivot to the Asia-Pacific. Secretary Hagel’s announcement comes before any strategic review of defense capabilities and strategy has been completed and makes this drastic change in requirement seem arbitrary and capricious in nature. I will continue working with the Secretary of the Navy and my colleagues in Congress to highlight the capabilities and positive attributes of this vessel, and with our community united behind this program, we will be successful.”