U.S. Senator Roger Wicker says the need for a 355-ship navy is clear in light of recent accidents involving the USS Fitzgerald and John S. McCain, which took the lives of 17 American sailors.
As chairman of the Senate Seapower Committee, Wicker is the lead author of legislation to make it federal policy to achieve a 355-ship fleet, based on the Navy’s force requirement. The “SHIPS Act” is included in both the House- and Senate-passed versions of the “National Defense Authorization Act,” which is awaiting action by a conference committee.
“The review makes it clear that we are not doing right by our sailors or the Navy or the taxpayers in terms of making sure these brave men and women have what they need,” Wicker said in a speech to the Senate. “We need to work quickly with the Navy here in Congress to implement the recommendations that will be coming forward later this week.”
“We need to enhance training and readiness, and we need to recognize that the size of the fleet has contributed to the problem,” Wicker added. “Simply put, we need to acknowledge that the Navy has a supply-and-demand problem. We are asking too few ships to do too many things for American security, and that needs to be rectified.”
Wicker agreed with a National Review Online article, in which naval analysts Robert C. O’Brien and Jerry Hendrix argued the Navy is on the precipice of a “death spiral.” Overworked and damaged ships are placing an increasingly greater strain on the remainder of the fleet, Wicker said.
“I agree with Mr. O’Brien and Mr. Hendrix that this situation will result in ‘more collisions, more injuries, and more deaths in the fleet.’ To avoid the death spiral, we need to commit to growing the Navy and meeting its minimum requirement of 355 ships.”
Watch Wicker’s full speech to the Senate here:
Special to HottyToddy.com