Rep. Randy Forbes (R-Va.), chairman of the House Armed Services’ Seapower and Projection Forces Subcommittee, slammed the Navy’s plan to save $4.7 billion by taking 11 guided missile cruisers out of service for modernization.
Forbes faulted the proposal during a hearing Thursday, saying there is no guarantee the ships would return to service since the money needed to update the cruisers may not be available.
“I don’t think this is a phased modernization plan,” Forbes said, reported the Virginian-Pilot. “I think this is a phased euthanization plan, because when those ships go into dry dock, we have no assurance they’re coming back.”
Assistant Secretary of the Navy Sean Stackley told the panel that the service’s plan for gradual modernization would allow the Navy to extend the life of the cruisers by another decade. When the ships are deactivated, their crews would be reassigned.
Forbes, a sharp critic of the Obama administration and the defense cuts over the past two years, wants to see the Navy’s fleet expand, not decline.
“I reject any notion that we should lock into place the negative consequences of sequestration, and vigorously oppose any reduction of some of our most capable surface combatants on the altar of fiscal frugality,” he said.
The witnesses’ written testimony and a webcast of the hearing are available on the committee website.