Wicker leads the charge to grow America's Naval fleet - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Wicker leads the charge to grow America's Naval fleet

WASHINGTON, DC (WLOX) -

Increasing the U.S. Navy fleet would no doubt be a huge economic boon to Jackson County, home of Ingalls Shipbuilding. That's one reason Senator Roger Wicker has been steadily making the case for a 355-ship Navy. Currently, the there are 275 ships in the battle fleet. 

Thursday, Wicker delivered the second in a series of scheduled remarks explaining why the current naval fleet is too small to meet current and emerging challenges. 

"We have ignored the great naval competition taking place elsewhere and the fact that it is accelerating," Sen. Wicker said. "China is building a modern navy capable of projecting global power. China is modernizing every type of ship and submarine in its fleet." 

Wicker said China commissioned 18 ships last year, and in April launched its first domestically-built carrier. 

"By 2030, China will have more than twice as many attack submarines and four times as many small surface ships as the United States. Beijing is developing its first overseas naval base in the Horn of Africa. China’s naval buildup may attempt to push the United States further out of the Western Pacific, away from critical trade chokepoints and our allies in South Korea and Japan."

Wicker previously laid out several steps Congress could immediately take to move toward to goal of a larger Navy. 

  • Repeal the defense budget caps
  • Accelerate and fully fund Advance Procurement
  • Incentivize capital investment
  • Target some appropriations to fund process improvements

"Let’s start competing again," Sen. Wicker said. "Building a larger fleet is a national project. It will require a sustained commitment by the President, Congress, and the Department of Defense. As Chairman of the Seapower Subcommittee, I intend to begin laying a firm foundation this year for a significant build-up in the future. We have no time to waste."

Sen. Wicker earlier made the case for a bigger Navy in his June 13, 2017 remarks: http://bit.ly/2tstjP4

On May 24, 2017, Sen. Wicker held a hearing, which included Brian Cuccias of Huntington Ingalls, to discuss a 355-ship Navy: http://bit.ly/2rB4Tl2 

Copyright 2017 WLOX. All rights reserved. 

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