Senators Johnson and Sessions on the Value of the Littoral Combat Ship Program

Washington, D.C. – Senators Johnson (WI) and Sessions (AL) released the following statement discussing the value of the Littoral Combat Ship program.

“We are concerned about news reports that the Obama administration is considering ordering the Navy to further reduce the size of its surface combatant fleet, particularly reducing the number of littoral combat ships, or LCS, from 52 to 32 ships.  The U.S. Navy has continually expressed the significance of LCS as a critical component of the overall size and capabilities of the Navy’s fleet, and hence, the ability for us to provide a forward presence overseas.  Without LCS, there are serious concerns about the Navy’s capacity to provide the capabilities that operational commanders require to operate around the world.

“Successive secretaries of the Navy have made these fast, agile, technologically advanced ships a top priority, even in a tight fiscal environment.  The ships are low cost, highly fuel efficient, and, with much smaller crews, are flexible and capable of multiple uses.  Thus they meet the demands the Congress placed on the Navy for new ships. 

“While costs have come down significantly in recent years, we are hopeful the Navy will find ways to further drive down overall program costs.  In fact, the LCS program is the only shipbuilding program in which unit cost of production is on a marked, steady decline, and, as a result, the Navy is now purchasing LCS below the Congressionally-mandated cost cap. 

“We are surprised and concerned that this action goes against the wishes of the Congress, the Navy Department leadership, and the validated warfighting requirements of the U.S. Navy and our combatant commanders.   

“We have communicated to Secretary of Defense Hagel the value of the LCS to the Navy and to America.”