Contact: Josh Holly (HASC), 202-226-3988 Lisa Wright (Bartlett), 202-225-2721
Washington, D.C. – House Armed Services Subcommittee on Seapower and Expeditionary Forces Ranking Republican Roscoe Bartlett (R-MD) released the following opening statement for the House Armed Services Committee’s mark-up of H.R. 1585, the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2008:
“Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I support the Seapower and Expeditionary Forces Subcommittee mark of the Fiscal Year 2008 National Defense Authorization Act. It has been a pleasure to continue our subcommittee’s collaborative efforts with my good friend, Chairman Gene Taylor.
“I think my colleagues will find that the mark reflects a fair and balanced treatment of the issues within our jurisdiction. Although we had to make some difficult funding choices, particularly for the Littoral Combat Ship and the Expeditionary Fighting Vehicle, we were able to strengthen the shipbuilding program, as well as support the Mr. Skelton’s Title XV funding of the Mine Resistant Ambush Protected Vehicle, or MRAP. I agree, Mr. Chairman that we must fully fund the request for MRAPs, given the increasing demand for these critical force protection assets. While I am proud and fully supportive of the boost we’ve given to shipbuilding, I have also asked Mr. Taylor to work with me through conference to ensure that if we’re adding money to the budget for an extra dry cargo ship, that we give the Navy the total amount they would need to add a new T-AKE to the fleet.
“Other than funding matters, I am particularly pleased to see so much of the work we started last Congress being carried forward in this mark. For example, I have long been an advocate for naval nuclear propulsion and this mark includes a provision requiring that future major combatant vessels, such as cruisers, be nuclear powered. In addition, Chairman Taylor is continuing to push for modernization in U.S. shipyards. In our travels together, we have seen how similar efforts at foreign yards have created world-class commercial shipbuilding environments. There is no reason why we can’t apply some of these lessons to reap benefits across multiple classes of ships.
“Finally, allow me to share my approval of the remaining provisions in the subcommittee mark that increase the Navy’s shipbuilding procurement flexibilities, encourage continued competition between the two LCS designs and the application of LCS lessons learned to other programs, promote maximum utilization of vessel design life, and authorize appropriations and authorities for the Maritime Administration. I thank the Chairman for supporting the emerging ideas we discussed at mark up, which will be offered as perfecting amendments here today. I wholeheartedly encourage the unanimous adoption of the Seapower and Expeditionary Forces subcommittee mark.”