House Armed Services Committee sets floor for amphibs

By Audrey Decker / June 23, 2022 at 11:00 AM

The House Armed Services Committee passed an amendment in its version of the fiscal year 2023 defense authorization bill that would set a statuary floor of 31 L-class amphibious ships.

The amendment was introduced by House Armed Services seapower and projection forces subcommittee Ranking Member Rob Wittman (R-VA).

Commandant of the Marine Corps Gen. David Berger stated during a House Armed Services Committee hearing last month that every study has proved that 31 is the floor for amphibs.

Wittman’s amendment follows one from Rep. Jared Golden (D-ME) that added billions of dollars to the annual defense authorization bill for the Navy and Marine Corps -- including $1.2 billion for incremental funding for one additional Arleigh Burke-class destroyer, $923.8 million for another Constellation-class frigate, $746 million for another John Lewis-class oiler and $695 million for two Expeditionary Medical Ships.

The amendment also included $318 million for the costs to restore five Littoral Combat Ships, plus $59 million to restore two Expeditionary Transfer Docks.

In total, the defense policy bill saves 12 out of the 24 ships the Navy proposed to decommission -- five LCS, four LSDs, two ESDs and one cruiser.

“As proposed by the Biden administration, building eight ships and retiring 24 ships does not pace with China’s expansionist policies and places our national security at risk. This markup reverses a dangerous divest to invest strategy and expands the overall fleet by authorizing 13 ships and allowing 12 vessels to retire,” Wittman said in a statement after the bill was passed around 2:15 a.m.