Washington, D.C. — U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), senior member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, visited on Friday the Norfolk Naval area and called for Washington to provide the necessary funding for the Navy to maintain at a minimum 11 carriers, which is currently required by law but has been given a waiver by Congress in recent years.
"I appreciate the hospitality of the U.S. Navy in my visit to the Norfolk Naval area, where I was able to meet with Oklahomans as well as receive briefings and a tour of the Norfolk Naval Shipyard. I was most impressed with the cost-saving innovations taking place as they work on CVN 78, CVN 79 and the Abe Lincoln that will directly benefit the taxpayer," Inhofe said. "The briefings I received on the visit served as a critical reminder of how important it is for our nation to have a minimum of 11 carriers in order to maintain our forward presence to deter aggression, assure our allies and partners, and protect our national security. Our Navy's resources are continuously in high demand, as is the need for American leadership. I recently visited the USS Carl Vinson, which was operating in the Persian Gulf actively supporting Operation Inherent Resolve. Its presence stood as a reminder to everyone in the area of America’s strength and resolve. As the U.S. pivots to the Pacific, the Navy may require an additional carrier in the region, potentially creating capability gaps as instability grows around the globe. The United States cannot accept less than eleven carriers, the required minimum by law. Congress has been forced to waive this minimum in recent years due to historically steep defense budget cuts. This is unacceptable. We must provide the authorities and predictable funding necessary to achieve the robust Navy and military President Reagan, and many presidents before him, envisioned.”
During his visit, Inhofe met over breakfast with sailors from Oklahoma who are serving aboard the carriers USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72) and Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78). He then received briefings from the U.S. Navy, to include an update on the Lincoln’s refueling and complex overhaul progress and the construction of the aircraft carrier John F. Kennedy (CVN 79). He closed the day by touring an aircraft carrier construction facility at Newport News Shipbuilding.