Tuesday, U.S. Senator Richard Shelby, R-Alabama, conducted a subcommittee hearing to review the Fiscal Year 2019 budget request for the U.S. Navy and U.S. Marine Corps.
Secretary of the Navy Richard Spencer, Admiral John Richardson and Marine Corps Commandant General Robert Neller all appeared before Shelby’s committee for an update of U.S. Naval operations, and to review the fiscal year 2019 budget request for the Navy and Marine Corps.
“For fiscal year 2019, the Navy and Marine Corps are requesting $194.1 billion, which is an increase of about $4.5 billion over amounts appropriated for fiscal year 2018, and is consistent with the two-year budget deal passed earlier this year,” Chairman Shelby said. “However, the funding level in this request is still below what the Navy had projected for the upcoming year before the Budget Control Act was passed in 2011.”
“Secretary Mattis has warned that ‘failure to modernize our military risks leaving us with a force that could dominate the last war, but be irrelevant to tomorrow’s security,’” Shelby said. “This increase is a necessary first step to reverse the harm to our military by five years of sequestration budgets. Today there are over 100,000 sailors and Marines and more than 100 ships forward deployed – including three aircraft carriers and three Amphibious Assault Ships.”
“Our nation has tasked our Navy and Marine Corps with assuring access to the world’s oceans and far-away regions, while defending our interests in those areas, protecting U.S. citizens across the globe, and preventing adversaries from using the worlds’ oceans against the United States,” Shelby continued.
“Gentlemen, we look forward to your testimony and working with you during the appropriations process to meet the needs of the Department of the Navy in an increasingly complex strategic environment,” Shelby concluded.
Neller and Richardson warned Congress that American no longer has undisputed mastery of the seas if we were at war with China and Russia.
General Neller wrote in submitted testimony, “The ascendant threats posed by revisionist powers and rogue states require change – we must become more lethal, resilient and as a consequence, a more capable deterrent. The Navy-Marine Corps team can no longer rely on concepts and capabilities premised on uncontested sea control.”
Sec. Spencer said, “The strategic environment is rapidly changing and the Navy and Marine Corps is engaged in a competition that they have not faced in over twenty years.”
Senator Shelby is the chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee and its Subcommittee on Defense.
(Original reporting by Nationalinterest.org contributed to this report.)