VIRGINIA (WAVY) — Senators Mark Warner and Tim Kaine say they’re worried about getting funding for the replacement of the U.S. Navy’s aircraft carriers.
The senators wrote a letter to the chair and ranking member of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense, urging them to avoid what they call costly delays that could threaten shipbuilding jobs in Newport News and negatively impact the Navy’s capability.
The senators are asking the subcommittee to protect funding for the Carrier Replacement Program for next year.
As you know, the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier fleet is already stretched thin, and as a result, the Navy has required a waiver to have one fewer operational carrier than the 11 required by Congress. The current fleet of ten nuclear-powered aircraft carriers is being utilized at unprecedented rates because of a complex security environment and a delayed procurement of additional ships. This over-utilization is resulting in extended deployments, deferred maintenance, reduced operational availability, increased ownership costs and potentially shortened life spans for these strategic assets,” Warner and Kaine wrote in the letter. “Ensuring stable and adequate funding for the Carrier Replacement Program is one of the foremost steps Congress can take to allay the risks associated with the current shortfall in available aircraft carriers.”