Naval Cooperative Strategy

2118 Rayburn House Office Building

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0 Wednesday, March 18, 2015 @ 02:00 | Contact: Jim Billimoria 202-225-9446
This is a joint hearing of the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, Subcommittee on Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation and the Committee on Armed Services, Subcommittee on Sea Power and Force Projection.

Broadcast live streaming video on Ustream
Subject of Summary Matter
Hearing Transcript

Witness List:

- Vice Admiral Charles D. Michel, Deputy Commandant for Operations, United States Coast Guard | Written Testimony
- Rear Admiral Kevin M. Donegan, Acting Deputy Chief of Naval Operations for Operations, Plans, and Strategy; United States Navy | Written Testimony
- Major General Andrew W. O’Donnell Jr., Acting Deputy Commandant, Combat Development and Integration, United States Marine Corps | Written Testimony

Chairman Duncan Hunter (R-CA)
Subcommittee on Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation
Hearing on “Naval Cooperation Strategy”

March 18, 2015
Opening Statement
(Remarks as Prepared)

The Subcommittees are meeting today to review the latest cooperative strategy put forth by the Navy, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard and to examine what resources will be necessary to carry out the strategy.  I want to thank Chairman Forbes and the Seapower and Projection Forces Subcommittee for his invitation to explore this important topic in a joint hearing.  And as the Vice Chair of the Seapower Subcommittee, I look forward to a rigorous discussion.

The latest Cooperative Strategy for 21st Century Seapower identifies new threats to our national security and challenges our Sea Services face in confronting those threats.  It establishes priorities in a fiscally constrained environment while reaffirming the capabilities our Sea Services need to fight and win future conflicts. I commend the Sea Services for working together to develop it and for presenting it here today.

However, as Chairman of the Coast Guard Subcommittee, I am very concerned the Service does not currently, and given the last few budget requests from this Administration, may not ever, have the necessary resources, manpower, and assets to meet its obligations under this strategy.  And that’s before any sequester.

The strategy calls for the Coast Guard to continue its role as a global force provider to the Navy and it acknowledges investments must be made in Coast Guard assets to meet these obligations.  Unfortunately, those investments are just not happening under this Administration.  The President’s FY 2016 budget would slash the Coast Guard’s acquisition budget by 26 percent.  It will severely undermine efforts to recapitalize the Service’s aging and failing legacy assets, increase acquisition costs for taxpayers, and seriously degrade mission effectiveness. 

The strategy calls for quickly building and fielding the Coast Guard’s acquisition program of record, which includes 91 new National Security Cutters, Offshore Patrol Cutters, and Fast Response Cutters.  However, the President’s requested level is at least a billion less than what is required to sustain the acquisition program of record.  The GAO estimates it will be the mid 2030’s before the program is completed.  Meanwhile, the Administration is conducting an affordability review of a major new asset under the program and revising the Service’s Mission Need Statement, which could substantially change the types and number of vessels acquired.

I look forward to hearing from Vice Admiral Michel on how the Coast Guard intends to meet the requirements of this strategy and continue to be an effective force provider to our Combatant Commanders when it lacks the assets to do so. I thank all the witnesses for appearing before us today and for their tremendous service to our nation.

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