April 19, 2018
U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), senior member of the Senate Armed Services Committee (SASC), discussed the posture of the Department of the Navy with the Honorable Richard Spencer, Secretary of the Navy; Admiral John Richardson, Chief of Naval Operations; and General Robert Neller, Commandant of the Marine Corps.
As prepared for delivery:
The Committee meets today to receive testimony on the posture of the U.S. Navy and its fiscal year 2019 budget request. We welcome our witnesses:
The Honorable Richard Spencer, Secretary of the Navy; Admiral John Richardson, Chief of Naval Operations; and
General Robert Neller, Commandant of the Marine Corps.
Welcome all three of you. We thank each of you for your dedicated service.
The National Defense Strategy aims to build a more lethal and ready force and reform the Department of Defense for greater performance and affordability. We look forward to hearing from each of you as to how the Navy and the Marine Corps plan to support these objectives.
I was pleased to see requested procurement increases that align with the new strategy, including 11 more ships, dozens of aircraft, and expanded investment in long range precision fires, air defense, electronic warfare, and other critical capabilities over the next five years.
I continue to be concerned about readiness with the number of recent air and at sea mishaps, and the tragic loss of life that resulted and I hope you have a chance to talk about that. When we have these accelerated mishaps that we have had, obviously it has something to do with operational tempo, with maintenance, with training, but it’s difficult to identify just where that is. However, I think it’s something we need to be talking about.
I am encouraged to see the Navy and Marine Corps prioritizing manning challenges during a time when our sailors and Marines have been asked to maintain a high operational tempo. We look forward to hearing where you would use any additional end strength to fill gaps at sea and support the priorities outlined in the National Defense Strategy.
Finally, recognizing service in the military is inherently difficult, I would like to ensure we are doing all the things we can do to relieve stress on our Sailors, Marines and families and prioritize the readiness of the force.