Congresswoman Wants Va.-Class Funding Restored
By Mike McCarthy
March 8, 2012
Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.) said yesterday she will strive to restore funding for the procurement of a Virginia -class (SSN 774) attack submarine that the Navy has delayed.
The Navy pushed the start of construction on one of the subs back from fiscal 2014 to 2018 when it rolled out its five-year procurement plan last month, but has not ruled out looking for ways to restore the funds.
The move comes as the service for the first time in more than 20 years got two of the ships under construction in the same year during fiscal 2011. As it currently stands, the Navy has only one sub on the books for 2014.
DeLauro, whose state is the home of sub builder General Dynamics Electric Boat, said delaying one of the vessels has the potential to weaken the industrial base and she will work to get the funding back into the budget.
"We will fight," DeLauro, a member of the House Appropriations Committee, told a gathering on Capitol Hill hosted by the Submarine Industrial Base Council.
Navy Secretary Ray Mabus told the House Armed Services Committee in February that the decision to delay construction on one sub was "purely" financial as the Pentagon tries to cope with a projected reduction of $487 billion in defense funds over the next decade (Defense Daily, Feb. 17, 2012). Mabus also said, however, that the Navy would look for ways to get the funding for 2014.
"We are exploring ways that we can creatively pull that ship back. We cannot now because of budget constraints," Mabus said.