LOTT: Strong U.S. Navy means stronger national security

Our nation’s southern flank is at a particular security risk by virtue of the absence of any credible U.S. naval presence to detect and counter threats in that region. Indeed, the adage that “virtual presence is actual absence” rings particularly true for the Gulf of Mexico, as the Navy wrestles with how best to first satisfy increasing demands for presence in other parts of the world, particularly the Arabian Sea, the Gulf of Oman and now Asia.
During the U.S. Senate’s consideration of the 2005 Base Realignment and Closure Commission’s recommendations, I strongly opposed the closure of Naval Station Pascagoula — one of very few Gulf of Mexico bases — because it would leave unprotected 60 percent of our nation’s shipping and most of our busiest ports. It would also put at risk thousands of oil and gas platforms in the Gulf of Mexico which, at that time, produced 90 percent of our nation’s refinable oil and 95 percent of our natural gas.

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