06.15.17

Senator David Perdue Discusses U.S. Ability To Compete With Naval Buildup In Asia-Pacific

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator David Perdue (R-GA), a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, asked U.S. Navy Admiral John M. Richardson, Chief of Naval Operations about the shortage of naval assets available to fulfill required missions and to compete with the international buildup in the Asia-Pacific region.

Click here to watch the exchange or click on the image below.

  Naval

Washington’s Broken Budget Process Has Defrauded Our Military

Senator Perdue: “We have twenty five working days in the United States Senate between now and the end of this fiscal year. Twenty five. There is no chance we are going to fund this federal government the way that budget law of 1974 prescribes that will allow us to debate and fully fund our military. This has got to stop…Just know there are people working up here to try and change that. This is such an institutional dysfunction and it puts our men and women at risk. It puts the future of this country at risk because it endangers it. We have talked nothing but dollars and cents today. If you had the money it wouldn’t be a problem—we’ve got the innovation, the technology, the capital—it doesn’t matter. We could defend our country. We’re not giving you the money you need.”

U.S. Ability to Compete with Naval Buildup in Asia-Pacific

Senator Perdue: “Admiral, there are about 400 foreign submarines total in the world, is that directionally correct?”

Admiral Richardson: “That sounds about right, yes sir.”

Senator Perdue: “Admiral (Harry) Harris says about 230 of those are in the Asia-Pacific region, including in the Indian ocean as well. How many submarines do we have allocated to the Pacific right now? Attack submarines, not the boomers?”

Admiral Richardson: “In the neighborhood of 30.”

Senator Perdue: “A little less than 30. Admiral Harris confirmed that. And our plan in the 2020’s, say, in the next 10-15 years: we have 52 attack submarines in our inventory today. Our plan in the Navy is taking that down to 42. So we basically have 30 attack submarines trying to keep up with over 200 submarines in that area. And 160 of those 230 are China, Russia, and North Korea. Sir, how are we going to mitigate that? And give us some confidence about how those 30 boats are going to be able to protect us in the Asia-Pacific.”

Admiral Richardson: “We are going to mitigate that in every way we can. That will be a combo of some of the unmanned undersea vehicles that we talked about earlier. That’ll help. We’re looking to increase production of submarines. So the addition of the submarine in [FY] 21 was one step in that direction. We’re looking to see what the industrial base can bear with respect to taking that even higher. We’re looking at life extensions with the current submarines so that will help us through that trough. But I will tell you we will be below the requirement.”

Transition to Ohio Class Ballistic Missile Submarine Replacement

Senator Perdue: “That’s good news but we’re trying to replace 14 Ohio Class with 12 Columbia Class. What period of time is that projected over? And is that still in your current thinking, in the current plan?”

Admiral Richardson: “Yes sir and there is good engineering logic behind that by virtue of putting a life-of-the ship core into each one of those SSBNs. We eliminate the need for a long mid-life refueling overhaul and so we get more operational availability of that submarine that allows us to cover down on the same mission in the strategic triad with 12 submarines.”

Senator Perdue: “By the time we get to commissioning those 12 Columbia Class, how far past the useful life will the Ohio Class submarines be?”

Admiral Richardson: “Oh, there is zero margin in that plan. It is end-to-end. We have stretched the Ohio Class out to longer than any other class of submarine we have built so there is no more margin for that transition. In fact, we go down to ten SSBNs for a while in that transition period really kind of banking on reliability of the submarines to get us through that.”

View Senator Perdue’s full remarks in the Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on the U.S. Navy’s fiscal year 2018 budget here.

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Senator Perdue is the only Fortune 500 CEO in Congress and is serving his first term in the United States Senate, where he represents Georgia on the Armed Services, Banking, Budget, and Agriculture Committees.