September 19, 2017
U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), senior member of the Senate Armed Services Committee (SASC), participated in a SASC hearing on recent United States Navy incidents at sea. This hearing, which comes after four significant naval incidents since January, including the USS Fitzgerald and USS John S. McCain collisions, featured testimony from Secretary of the Navy Richard Spencer, and Admiral John Richardson, Chief of Naval Operations.
As Chairman of the Readiness Subcommittee, Inhofe’s questions to the panel highlighted the importance of prioritizing readiness in the Navy and across the entire military.
Inhofe: “We hear over and over again that the Navy is taking on more with less…if the Navy is focused on ensuring the forward deployed ships are ready, and recent history is our example, what shape is the rest of the fleet in terms of readiness?”
Admiral Richardson replied: “Those forces that are here in the continental United States, that may be the next to deploy…those are the ones that remain less ready than we need them to respond.”
Admiral Richardson also highlighted the impact of readiness on training sailors: “This is where you do a lot of that basic training…you just cannot get back the time. The flying hours, you can’t catch up – that time is gone. The steaming hours, all of those things that don’t happen in basic training. It’s very hard to recapture that, just in terms of developing a level of experience and sophistication.”
Senator Inhofe concluded by confirming: “Your candid and alarming assessment of those situations is not a surprise and as you look over the forewarned things…it does boil down to resources.”
In the most recent National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) that passed the Senate yesterday, Senator Inhofe led efforts to improve military readiness, increase military funding and ensure that the military ensured the training, resources and equipment needed to complete the mission. Click here to read more about the FY18 NDAA.