WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Roger F. Wicker, R-Miss., ranking member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, today released the following statement in response to the Biden administration’s $3.4 billion in funding for AUKUS and the submarine industrial base in the national defense supplemental:
“Inclusion of submarine industrial base funds is a welcome start to the process of fortifying our submarine maintenance and production capabilities, but it cannot stop here,” Wicker said. “As I have repeatedly said, our shipyards are under-resourced to meet the Navy’s urgent submarine requirements as well as meet the prospective demands of the AUKUS agreement. We must work to signal to both our allies and U.S. industry that we can meet the obligations of the AUKUS agreement without putting our own submarine fleet in jeopardy.”
“Fundamental investments in our shipbuilders, public shipyards, and nearly 16,000 suppliers across the nation are needed to maintain American undersea supremacy. There is still much work to be done with the administration and Pentagon to expand our industrial base and add the necessary attack submarines to prevent conflict on the seas, but this package signals a positive first step toward that goal.”
Read more about Senator Wicker’s work on national defense here. Read below a detailed timeline about relevant actions from Senator Wicker on AUKUS and the submarine industrial base. Read analysis of that work here and here.
- On March 15, Senator Wicker delivered a Senate floor speech calling for a “healthy submarine industrial base” to deter Chinese aggression.
- Also on March 15, Senator Wicker issued a statement on the FY24 U.S. Navy budget calling out a reduced Naval reactors budget despite “extreme strain on the American submarine industrial base” offered by the AUKUS agreement.
- On March 28, Senator Wicker observed to Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mark Milley in a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing that the submarine industrial base’s progress “has been too slow or nonexistent.”
- On April 18, Senator Wicker challenged Secretary of the Navy Carlos Del Toro and Chief of Naval Operations Admiral Michael Gilday to articulate how the Navy can improve its production timelines to two attack submarines per year during a Senate Armed Services hearing.
- Also on April 18, Senator Wicker issued a statement on the FY24 Navy 30-year shipbuilding plan, in which he identified the future shirking force structure for Navy attack submarines.
- On May 3 in a Senate floor speech, Senator Wicker specifically called for the need to “increase investments in our submarine industrial base if we have any hope of implementing the AUKUS deal.”
- On July 16, Senator Wicker published an opinion column in the Wall Street Journal calling for the doubling of attack submarine production capability in U.S. shipyards to fulfill the promise of the AUKUS agreement.
- On July 21, Politico reported that Senator Wicker blocked submarine transfer proceedings on Pillar 1 of the AUKUS agreement in the FY24 defense bill until the administration articulated a plan that could “boost production enough to supply both the U.S. Navy and Australia, the industry needs more investment from the federal government.
- On July 27, Senator Wicker led 24 of his Senate and House colleagues on a letter to President Biden calling on the President to take immediate action to strengthen the U.S. submarine industrial base to solidify the foundations of the AUKUS agreement.
- On July 28, the Wall Street Journal editorial board issued an editorial praising Senator Wicker for his work on improving domestic submarine production capability.
- On September 14, Senator Wicker pressed nominee to be the next Chief of Naval Operations Admiral Lisa Franchetti for her plan to get the U.S. domestic production of submarines to the required 2.3-2.5 per year to meet Navy requirements and fulfill the AUKUS agreement in a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing.
- On October 12, Senator Wicker led a bipartisan letter to the Biden administration requesting an update on Department of Defense-led analysis on the domestic submarine industrial base and what kind of investment might be required to fulfill the AUKUS agreement.