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Wicker Proposal for 355-Ship Navy Becomes Law

Destroyers Ingalls Shipbuilding
The Arleigh Burke class destroyers, constructed by Ingalls Shipbuilding, are the most powerful destroyers in the U.S. Navy fleet. Photo courtesy of Ingalls Shipbuilding

President Trump has signed into law a bipartisan bill setting a minimum requirement of 355 ships for the U.S. Navy’s fleet.
U.S. Senator Roger Wicker, chairman of the Senate Seapower Subcommittee, championed the bill, called the Securing the Homeland by Increasing our Power on the Seas (SHIPS) Act. Trump signed it as part of the National Defense Authorization Act.
The bill could create new jobs in Mississippi’s shipbuilding industry on the Gulf Coast.
“With his signature, President Trump has confirmed the United States’ resolve to meet the growing needs of our U.S. Navy,” Wicker said in a statement. “Building up our nation’s fleet is essential to protecting our national security and projecting American power around the globe. We are asking too few ships to do too many things, and today the President took a major step toward rectifying that problem. In the coming weeks, I look forward to working with my colleagues to put together a budget that fully supports our American military personnel and keeps us focused on our goal to achieve a full 355-ship fleet.”
Employees at Ingalls Shipbuilding construct a destroyer.

The defense bill authorizes nearly $700 billion in funding for America’s service members, military installations and industrial base. The bill includes a nearly $5 billion increase for shipbuilding above Trump’s budget request and gives active-duty military personnel a 2.4 percent pay raise.
The bill also makes permanent the Special Survivor Indemnity Allowance payments to surviving military spouses. More than 60,000 Americans whose spouses died either on active duty or during retirement will continue to receive $310 per month plus a cost-of-living-adjustment indefinitely.
Additional provisions added by Wicker to the defense bill that could impact Mississippi include:

  • Encouraging the Navy to continue developing cutting-edge electronic jammer technology.  Jammers prevent enemy air defenses from detecting and shooting down American fighter and bomber planes;
  • Directing the Air Force to study opportunities to increase use of civilian airports to support pilot training, which could inform how Columbus Air Force Base makes cooperative agreements with nearby airports;
  • Mandating that the Pentagon reviews its protected vehicle inventory, including Mine-Resistant Ambush Protected vehicles;
  • Authorizing multiyear procurement contract authority to allow the Navy to buy up to 15 DDG-51 Flight III Destroyers;
  • Authorizing $1.75 billion funding for an additional Arleigh Burke-class Flight III destroyer (DDG-51) plus $250 million to buy long-lead items;
  • Authorizing $1.5 billion in funding for an additional Marine Corps amphibious transport ship (LPD-30);
  • Encouraging the Navy to accelerate procurement of 9th Amphibious Assault Ship (LHA-9); and
  • Requiring the Navy to evaluate expanding its test and training range locations for unmanned maritime systems.

Special to HottyToddy.com.


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