Navy Posture v. Presence: "We need to get this right"

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Declaring that “the strategy of playing catch-up is not a winning formula,” the Chairman of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense, Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen (NJ-11)  told the Navy’s senior leaders today that “we need to get this right and we need to get this right now” when it comes to the tension between Naval ‘posture versus presence.’  

At a public hearing in the U.S. Capitol, Chairman Frelinghuysen told Ray Mabus, Secretary of the Navy, and Admiral John Richardson, Chief of Naval Operations, “When it comes to ships, numbers matter.  Quantity has a quality all its own.  However, we need to ensure that these ships have the capabilities necessary to deter and confront our adversaries, especially China and Russia. We must find a way to have numbers and capabilities.”

The Defense Appropriations Subcommittee hearing was conducted against the backdrop of increasing threats.  “Every day brings another report regarding China’s attempts to assert themselves in the western Pacific.  They are building ships, submarines, underwater submarine pens, naval militia forces and cutting edge weapons at an alarming rate, and all simultaneously! In the South China Sea, they construct runways, air defense radar systems and missile batteries on disputed islands. They are bent on denying us access to airspace and challenge us at every opportunity.  Their actions test our Rules of Engagement on a regular basis!”

Members of the Subcommittee covered many other issues with the Navy leaders and the Commandant of the Marine Corps, General Robert Neller, including, the shipbuilding industrial base, challenges from ISIS in the Middle East and northern Africa, Chinese military development of the South China Sea, Russian naval activity in the Arctic, Atlantic and Mediterranean basins, Naval acquisition, Naval and Marine Corps readiness among others.

Today’s hearing was the latest in a series of open defense posture and budget hearings Chairman Frelinghuysen is conducting with the military services, combatant commands and other major components of our armed forces.