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October 13, 2020

Armed Services Chairman Inhofe Statement on Defense Secretary Esper's Plans for Future Navy

U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe, chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, today released the following statement on Secretary of Defense Mark Esper's Battle Force 2045 plan: 

“I commend Secretary Esper and the Department of Defense for reviewing our naval force structure as we work to implement the National Defense Strategy (NDS). The bipartisan NDS Commission Report told us that our military will require additional capacity and capability to meet the strategy’s ambitious goals. This naval force structure review clearly recognizes that truth.

“As the Secretary rightly noted, China and Russia pose growing threats to our national security. These threats require that we seriously consider changing how the Joint Force is equipped and how it fights in the future. I’m glad Secretary Esper continues to make this a priority.

“I look forward to better understanding the details of the plans that underlie the Secretary’s speech, including the resources required, basing considerations, and how the Department plans to prudently develop and field lead ships in new vessel classes – manned or unmanned.

“In fielding new systems, we need to avoid repeating past mistakes that have set us back in time, money and capability. For example, the ongoing problems with the USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN-78) trace back to decisions made more than two decades ago about how the Department would manage this lead ship’s cost, schedule and development. The development of unmanned ships also presents some unique challenges, not just in terms of production and acquisition, but also in terms of the tactics, techniques, and procedures associated with operational implementation.

“I will continue to insist that the Department learn the lessons of past lead ships and incorporate better subsystem engineering development practices before embarking on new programs, particularly shipbuilding.”  

Click here to read Senator Inhofe and Senator Reed’s article in Proceedings: “The Navy Needs a Course Correction: Prototyping with a Purpose.”

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