Wicker Questions Top Military Officials About Shipbuilding Plans

February 28, 2008

WASHINGTON – During a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing today, Senator Roger Wicker (R-Miss.) discussed the Navy’s future budget and shipbuilding plans with two of the Navy’s top officials and the Commandant of the Marine Corps. 

Senator Wicker posed several questions to Donald Winter, the Secretary of the Navy, and Admiral Gary Roughead, Chief of Naval Operations, regarding the Navy’s future shipbuilding capabilities and the role the Gulf Coast will play. 

Of particular interest to the Gulf Coast, Senator Wicker focused on funding for an amphibious ship used to transport marines.  The ship, known as an “LPD,” is built on the Gulf Coast by Northrop Grumman.  Funding has been provided for nine LPDs, but the U.S. Marine Corps has requested funding for a tenth, saying it is their top priority this year. 

Senator Wicker has been a strong advocate of the Navy’s plan to increase the size of their fleet from 280 commissioned ships to 313 ships. 

“Creating and maintaining an active and viable shipbuilding industrial base is critical to our nation’s national and economic security,” Wicker said.  “The Gulf Coast’s shipbuilders should continue playing a key role in this plan, and I intend to continue working to ensure that happens.”

Today’s committee hearing follows a private meeting held earlier this month between Senator Wicker and Admiral Roughead, where the two discussed the Gulf Coast’s role as part of the future of our nation’s shipbuilding base.

Senator Wicker is a member of the Armed Services Committee, Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee and the Veterans' Affairs Committee.