OPENING REMARKS OF CHAIRMAN WITTMAN
WASHINGTON - Today, Rep. Rob Wittman (R-VA), Chairman of the House Armed Services Subcommittee on Seapower & Projection Forces, made the following remarks, as prepared for delivery, on the Subcommittee's hearing titled “Amphibious Warfare in a Contested Environment.” For testimony and to watch the hearing click here.
"As the Seapower and Projection Forces Subcommittee Chairman, I lead a group of my colleagues with broad jurisdiction over Naval and Air Force programs. I must admit, that I have a particular affinity for the Marine Corps and its amphibious warfare role because I represent Marine Corps Base Quantico in Virginia’s First Congressional district. Because of my district and because of this Subcommittee’s jurisdiction, I am particularly interested in our subject today of assessing our Marine Corps’ ability to project forces in a contested environment.
Late last year, I was particularly intrigued to read a report authored by one of our witnesses today entitled 'Advancing Beyond the Beach, Amphibious Operations in an Era of Precision Weapons.' In this report, the authors proposed that the current approach to amphibious operations needed, and I quote, 'new operating concepts and capabilities that circumvent or defeat increasingly effective coastal defenses.' Their report proposes a new strategic approach that emphasizes lighter vehicles, a rebalancing of the surface and aviation assault capabilities, an emphasis on surface connectors that optimize ocean travel and improved armament on amphibious ships.
I believe that the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessment (CSBA) has accurately assessed the problems associated with amphibious assault in a contested environment. Projecting power in close proximity to shore and in a contested environment is fraught with challenges which may require a shift in our approach. Fundamental changes to the Department of the Navy’s strategic amphibious warfare investments may be necessary to more effectively move Marines ashore. I believe that it is incumbent on the Marine Corps to rapidly change their legacy force structure toward a capability that is more expeditionary, capable of fighting in the littorals and, when called upon, able to project power ashore in even the most challenging of environments.
To better assess this issue, I am pleased to have two respected authors on amphibious warfare:
Mr Jesse Sloman
Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessment
Mr Brad Martin
Gentlemen, thank you for your willingness to testify before our Subcommittee today and I look forward to your assessment and recommendations to make our Marine Corps forces more lethal and effective."