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Hirono Calls for a Balance of Military Needs with Critical Domestic Programs

Proposed Shipbuilding Plan Would Raise the Total Number of Navy Ships in the Pacific to 213

Washington, D.C. – Senator Mazie K. Hirono (D-Hawaii), the Ranking Member of the Senate Armed Services Seapower Subcommittee, heard from Navy leadership on the Navy’s shipbuilding plan and operational needs, including the goal of increasing submarines and major surface combatant force levels from the previously projected need of 308 ships to 355. While investments in our national security are essential, Senator Hirono reminded her colleagues of the need to balance military investments with critical domestic programs.

“We all learned a lesson in 2013 when sequester was allowed to take effect—in fact, some in our industrial base are still working through the aftermath of that fiasco,” said Senator Hirono. “Yet here we are, six years later, living under the caps, and in fear of sequestration. Funding for critical programs, both defense and non-defense, is not an either or proposition. We cannot enact the priorities and programs discussed today until we lift the caps and eliminate the fear of sequester.”

Under current policy, the Navy plans to base 60 percent of its ships in the Asia-Pacific region. The new total of 355 ships would equate to an estimated increase of about 28 ships in the region. These additional ships would require increases in the number of sailors, infrastructure, and the capacity of shipyards. Meeting these needs would require new job-creating investments in Hawaii, including to support Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard, which continues to play a vital role in keeping the Pacific fleet ready for action.

As part of Senator Hirono’s ongoing commitment to the protection of Hawaii, Alaska and the continental U.S. from long-range missiles, she also asked questions about the ship radar tested Air and Missile Defense Radar. This radar has been tested at the Pacific Missile Range Facility on Kauai.

This hearing is part of a continued series of committee hearings to consider the Fiscal Year 2018 defense budget request and drafting of the National Defense Authorization Act, important legislation which sets Department of Defense funding levels and policy each year.

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Click on the photo above to watch Senator Hirono’s opening statement