Congressman Bradley Byrne joined 45 other members of Congress in fighting back against an effort by the Obama administration to cut the Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) program, which has a significant presence in South Alabama through Austal USA.
Austal, which recently won an award for large Alabama manufacturer of the year, employs more than 4,000 to build and deliver twenty ships to the U.S. Navy, with four more currently in production.
Last year Defense Secretary Ashton Carter sent a memo to the U.S. Navy ordering the branch to decrease its LCS and frigate buy by 12 ships. According to a budget request submitted in February, the U.S. Navy complied with the request, cutting purchases of LCS from 52 to 40 vessels over the next five years.
“The LCS program is critical to the future of the Navy, and I am pleased to have so many of my colleagues join me in fighting back against these proposed cuts,” said Byrne in a press release Tuesday. “The LCS program has been studied time and time again, and each time it becomes even more clear that we need 52 of these ships in order to properly defend our nation and keep sea lanes around the world open for commerce. I will continue working every day to protect the LCS program and the men and women who serve in the U.S. Navy.”
The letter was signed by a wide range of lawmakers, including all seven of Alabama’s congressional delegation as well as congressmen and women from 19 states, including 32 Republicans and 14 Democrats.
Sent to the leadership of the House Armed Services Committee, the letter urges the committee to reject the administration’s request.
“This budget proposal comes from a President and Secretary of Defense who have less than a year remaining in office,” the letter states. “It defies logic to make significant changes to a program that was thoroughly studied and evaluated less than two years ago.”
The House Armed Services Committee will begin consideration of the 2017 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) this week.