Miss. Senator Points Out Conflicts Within Pentagon Proposals.
U.S. Senator Roger Wicker, R-Miss., a senior member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, questioned General David Berger, the Commandant of the Marine Corps, on the posture of the U.S. Navy in review of the Defense Authorization Request for Fiscal Year 2022 (FY22) and the Future Years Defense Program.
During the hearing, Wicker expressed his disappointment in the Pentagon’s “so-called” 30-year shipbuilding plan released last Friday. He referenced discrepancies between the plan and Lieutenant General Eric Smith’s testimony last week in the House Seapower Subcommittee, which cited a joint Navy-Marine Corps study that called for 31 traditional amphibious ships, including 21 LSD-LPDs. This differs substantially from the recently announced plan, which calls for a range of only 16-19 LPDs.
When asked, General Berger agreed with Lt. Gen. Smith’s assessment.
“It seems to me that the office of the Secretary of Defense has some bureaucrats in there that are taking over the Pentagon requirements and putting armchair opinions on warfighting above those of the men and women – like you – with decades of experience in uniform,” Wicker said.
Wicker pointed out that on this current trajectory, the Navy would have only 15 LPDs, falling short of the 21 LPD requirement recommended by experts.
“You have a need for more LPDs,” Wicker said. “Does the amphibious ship authority provided in Section 124 help you meet your warfighting requirement?”
“It would do both,” General Berger replied. “It would meet a warfighting requirement and save an estimated $722 million.”
“We have an obligation under the Constitution to defend the United States of America and to provide the numbers and financing to do that,” Wicker concluded.
Release from Senator Roger Wicker.