Wicker Asks Navy Nominees About 355-Ship Fleet

Trump’s Picks for Navy Undersecretary, Assistant Secretary Commit to 355-Ship Requirement

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Roger Wicker, R-Miss., a senior member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, today attended a hearing to consider the nominations of two individuals who will be directly responsible for implementing the procurement of ships to meet the Navy’s 355-ship requirement.

“I think a 355-ship fleet should be our goal for the next decade,” Wicker said. “Members of this committee, the leadership of this committee, are looking at ways to make this a reality. … We need the top civilians and uniformed leadership in the Navy to get behind its own requirement (for 355 ships).”

Wicker directed his first question towards Mr. Thomas B. Modly, who is President Trump’s nominee for Under Secretary of the Navy. If confirmed, Modly would replace Obama-holdover Thomas Dee, who recently expressed pessimism about the Navy’s own much-needed 355-ship requirement.

Modly committed to achieving the Navy’s 355-ship requirement without hedging or equivocation. Modly also provided suggestions to increase the size of the fleet in a cost-effective and efficient way, including extending the service life of ships and activating ships in the Ready Reserve.

Wicker also questioned the nominee for Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Research, Development, and Acquisition, Mr. James F. Geurts.

Both nominees agreed that existing shipyards are not producing ships at full capacity and need a commitment from the Navy to justify investments in expanded production.

Other nominees at today’s hearing included:

Mr. Robert F. Behler to be Director of Operational Test and Evaluation; and
Dr. Dean L. Winslow to be Assistant Secretary of Defense for Health Affairs.