The Navy has missed the deadline in sending in the “Annual Naval Vessel Construction Plan” to Congress, which failed to arrive in Congress along with the April 10th budget submission. This Plan guides the construction, delivery and decommissioning of all naval vessels and is considered immensely important for fleet planners and industry alike, as it is the definitive document guiding naval force structure.
The Chairman of the House Armed Services Seapower and Projection Forces Subcommittee, Rep. Randy Forbes, along with the top Democrat on the panel, Rep. Mike McIntyre, announced that they are sending a very nice reminder to Secretary of Defense Hagel that the Navy is delinquent in providing this report to Congress.
“The Navy Department’s statutorily-required Annual Naval Vessel Construction Plan is an essential tool in understanding the Navy’s future force posture and determining whether our Combatant Commanders will receive the resources they need to protect U.S. interests. Given the accelerated consideration of this year’s defense budget, Congressman McIntyre and I urge Secretary Hagel to release the Plan prior to the Seapower Subcommittee’s April 24 hearing where we plan to discuss the Navy FY14 budget submission.”
Until it is received, it will be difficult for Congress to adequately review the Navy’s budget proposal and will almost certainly affect the issues to be discussed in the April 24, 2013 Seapower and Projection Forces Subcommittee Hearing.
In the past, Congress has differed with the Navy’s force structure plans. While the Navy requested to decommission older cruisers and amphibious ships in order to save money, Congress mandated that they must remain in the fleet. This year’s Plan is likely to highlight similar disagreements, though it obviously has to be delivered before Congress can analyze it.