Jan 18, 2018
Press Release

WASHINGTON - Today, Rep. Joe Wilson (R-SC), Chairman of the House Armed Services Subcommittee on Readiness, made the following remarks, as prepared for delivery, on the Subcommittee's joint hearing titled “Surface Warfare: At a Crossroads.” For testimony and to watch the hearing click here.  

"Ladies and gentlemen, I call this joint hearing of the Readiness and Seapower and Projection Forces Subcommittees of the House Armed Services Committee, to order.
First, I would like to take a moment to honor the seventeen sailors who were lost in

USS Fitzgerald sailors 
• Shingo Douglass 
• Noe Hernandez 
• Ngoc Truong Huynh 
• Xavier Martin 
• Gary Rehm Jr. 
• Dakota Rigsby 
• Carlos Victor Sibayan 

And the ten  
USS John S. McCain sailors
• Kevin Bushell 
• Dustin Doyon 
• Jacob Drake 
• Timothy Eckels Jr. 
• Charles Findley 
• John Hoagland III 
• Corey Ingram 
• Abraham Lopez 
• Kenneth Smith 
• Logan Palmer 

Over the course of the past six months, our subcommittees have met with Navy leadership to understand the causal factors that led to four gruesome and tragic incidents involving surface ships resulting in the deaths of 17 sailor.  I remain confident that our Navy remains the most powerful in the world; however, the Navy is not alone in responsibility.  As the Secretary Mattis stated in August,  'It just creates unpredictability. It makes us rigid. We cannot deal with new an revealing threats. We know our enemies are not standing still.'   Passing another temporary spending measure compounds the negative impacts for the military, some of those impacts are highlighted by the manning, training, and certification gaps necessitated by increased operational demand. Speaker Paul Ryan has been clear and outspoken in promoting the critical need for a robust year-long defense appropriations bill.

I fully believe the primary responsibility of the national government is to provide for the national security of its citizens – and that is especially true of our sailors, soldiers, airmen, and marines; therefore, it is our responsibility as members of these subcommittees to better understand the readiness situation and how the Navy’s Strategic Readiness Review and Comprehensive Review are informing and assisting the Department of the Navy in correcting any deficiencies and shortfalls.

This week the Navy announced additional actions for shipboard personnel involved in these collisions.  Separate from these military actions, this Committee remains concerned that the senior officers who created the conditions for ships to not receive depot level repairs, the individuals who chose to repeatedly approve waivers of expired certification, and the individuals who had the ability to balance and globally resource operational requirements are not being held accountable.  

Today, the Secretary of the Navy, the Honorable Richard Spencer, and the Chief of Naval Operations, Admiral John Richardson, are here to testify to the Navy’s Strategic Readiness Review and Comprehensive Review for our hearing on 'Surface Warfare: At a Crossroads.'

I remain concerned about the Navy’s training and certification processes, the approach to correcting any deficiencies and shortfalls, and the Navy’s approach to improve accountability.  I hope that today’s hearing will address these concerns."