RELEASE: Palazzo Continues Push for 12th Amphibious Ship

Mississippi lawmaker seeks to include additional ship in FY15 Defense Authorization

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressman Steven Palazzo, (MS-4), this week spoke in favor of shipbuilding language he hopes to include in the House FY15 National Defense Authorization Act.

The language would authorize a twelfth San Antonio class amphibious ship. Speaking before the House Armed Services Subcommittee on Seapower and Projection Forces, Palazzo stated:

“These LPD 17 class warships are carrying a heavy burden of operations for our combatant commanders and are demonstrating their value day in and day out. The demand for their service far outweighs the supply of ships.

“This committee faces huge challenges in providing the forces that will truly protect America in the years to come. We are and always have been an island nation. Our commerce and our security as a nation depend on the sea.

“The Naval forces of the United States; the Navy, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard, need the finest ships we can provide to project an umbrella of security far and wide across the globe protecting American interests, ensuring access to vital resources and raw material, protecting the commerce of the nation, and bolstering our allies.

“Mr. Chairman, it is a wonder we are even debating these issues. We need these ships, we need the full Naval force. We need the submarines that are expert in covert surveillance and special operations, we need the aircraft carriers to provide total air dominance in major conflict, we need the destroyers and cruisers for protection of the fleet from air, surface, and subsurface threat, and for precision strike ashore, and we need the unique capability of the LCS to operate in the littoral regions. And we desperately need more ships of the amphibious force which carry the agility of the Marine Corps Expeditionary Units. These ships, the LHAs, LPDs, and LSDs, are the real 911 force of the US arsenal.

“This ship in my amendment is essential to Marine Corps requirements. The Commandant has testified he needs this ship, the CNO says that he could use 50 of them if he had the funding to do it.

“Now, I’m not asking for 50 ships today. I’m asking for one. I’m asking for one ship to fill a valid military requirement and a ship to maintain a healthy shipbuilding industrial base.

“As the Commandant has said, “this is the Swiss Army Knife” of ships; it has multiple capabilities and is built for combat, it can take a hit and stay in the fight. It is affordable if we build it now and it bridges the secondary supply industrial base necessary for the follow-on class of ships.”

Palazzo has been working to raise awareness of the need for the twelfth ship since earlier this year. The proposal has received praise from top Navy and Marine Corps officials as well as retired Marine Corps generals.

The House Armed Services Committee plans to markup the FY15 National Defense Authorization Act next week.