RELEASE:

Wicker: Defense Bill Promotes U.S. Leadership

Miss. Senator Highlights Importance of Military Blueprint, Critical Reforms

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Roger Wicker, R-Miss., a senior member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, today delivered a speech to the Senate outlining his support for this year’s “National Defense Authorization Act” (NDAA). Wicker also urged Senate Democrats to abandon their plans to slow-walk the reauthorization process.

“For more than a half-century, this bill has been a model of bipartisan support,” Wicker said. “Passing NDAA should not be controversial. We should give our military leaders and troops a defense plan in the timely manner they deserve. It has been said by the Minority Leader that taking this bill up is a ‘waste of time’ because the President has said that he would veto it. It is curious that he would say so because this bill funds national security at the amount requested by the President.

“Further, it is a comprehensive reform bill that ought to have the same sort of bipartisan support that we have had for the last 50 years. We need a bill that takes an honest look at our current challenges and implements necessary reforms. I am pleased to say that this legislation does so, and I hope we move it forward.”

As Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Subcommittee on Seapower, Wicker was instrumental in adding provisions to NDAA that would address shortfalls in the Navy’s ability to meet requirements from commanders in the field. At 30 ships, the Navy’s amphibious fleet is much smaller than Marine Corps requirements.

This year’s NDAA would authorize $199 million for an additional America-class amphibious assault ship, as well as $80 million in research and development.

“Amphibious ships send a powerful message to our adversaries and allies, in addition to offering our sailors and Marines dependable and modern equipment for dangerous missions around the world,” Wicker concluded. “These ships are known as ‘Swiss Army Knives’ of the sea because they are versatile enough to respond to counterterrorism, piracy, combat missions, and humanitarian crises.”

6/9/15