By Brandon Moseley
Friday, January 27, 2017 President Donald J. Trump (R) announced an executive order instructing U.S. Secretary of Defense
Congressman Bradley Byrne said Our military is suffering from a very real and serious readiness crisis. I applaud President Trump for instructing Secretary of Defense Mattis to conduct a full readiness review of our military. Peace through strength is a key component of a strong and successful foreign policy strategy.
President Trump said on Friday, “I am signing two executive actions to ensure that the sacrifices of our military aree supported by the actions of our government and they will always be supported believe me “First, I’m signing an executive action to begin a great rebuilding of the armed services of the United States, developing a plan for new planes, new ships new resources, and new tools for our men and women in uniform, and I’m very proud to be doing that,” he said at the Pentagon. As we prepare our budget request for Congress … our military strength will be questioned by no one, but neither will our dedication to peace, we do want peace.”
Under President Obama the number of Navy ships plummeted to Depression era numbers, the Air Force declined to the smallest number of planes in it’s history, and the number of soldiers declined. President Donald Trump, is promising to restore American military might, including modernizing and expanding the nuclear arsenal; however Trump has also been heavily critical of the cost of major weapons systems.
On Thursday, President Trump said that we needed more submarines; but thought that the current price per submarine was too high. The President told Fox News’s Sean Hannity, “We’re lacking submarines, and we’re going to build new submarines, but the price is too high, so I’m cutting the prices way down.”
Currently the Navy has just 274 ships; but President Trump is committed to a 350 ship navy.
Late last year, the Navy released its own proposal calling for 355 ships, including 18 more attack submarines. The Navy currently fields 52 operational attack submarines. Attack submarines destroy enemy fleets including ballistic missile submarines. They are also devastating to shipping as was proven by submariners in both World Wars. Presently each attack submarine costs $2.7 billion and the new Columbia class ballistic missile submarines are expected to cost an incredible $8 billion each. The primary contractors for the submarines are Electric Boat and Newport News. Electric Boat has been hiring new workers preparing for an increase in naval orders.
On the campaign trail, Trump has been highly critical of the expensive, oft delayed (and some say), underperforming Lockheed Martin F-35 lightning II strike fighter. President Trump has demanded that Lockheed deliver the F-35 at a more affordable price or the Pentagon might switch to a new version of the battle tested F/A-18. Defense Secretary James Mattis has already ordered separate reviews of the F35 as well as the Boeing Air Force One programs with an eye toward reducing program costs, an official announced Friday.
According to original reporting by Military.com Secretary Mattis said Deputy Defense Secretary Robert Work will “oversee a review that compares the F-35C and the F/A-18E/F. At issue is how much improvements can be made to the F/A-18s to provide a competitive, cost effective fighter aircraft alternative to the hyper expensive F-35. The F-35C is the carrier variant of the F-35 stealth fighter already being deployed by the Air Force. The Navy is planning to purchase 260 of the planes at a cost believed to be in excess of $90 million each between now and 2036. The three services combined are expected to purchase 2,547 of the controversial single engine fighters. The development and procurement cost of the program is projected at $400 billion with another $1.5 trillion in contracts to sustain the program over its lifetime
President Trump has already met with both Lockheed Martin Corp.’s CEO Marillyn Hewson and Boeing CEO Dennis Muilenburg.
Congressman Bradley Byrne represents Alabama’s First Congressional District. Byrne has been a vocal supporter of a larger surface fleet.
(Original reporting by Military.com and ‘The Hill’ contributed to this report.)