Marine Corps Commandant Gen. James Conway was preaching to the choir this morning when he addressed the Congressional Shipbuilding Caucus. In his speech, Conway again reiterated the requirement for 38 amphibious vessels to carry Marines and equipment, but noted that budget constraints holding the fleet size at 33 ships were acceptable. However, anything lower than a 33-amphib fleet is “untenable,” Conway argued, according to a statement issued today by the shipbuilding caucus.
The four-star general added the “value of the amphibious fleet cannot be questioned,” the statement says.
Conway said funding for aircraft carriers, submarines, and surface ships are higher on the Navy’s priority list than amphibious ships, the statement adds. "In order to elevate the importance of maintaining a strong amphibious fleet, the Marine Corps continues to emphasize the flexibility of the amphibious platforms and their contribution to forcible entry and maintaining a presence off shore."
The Marine Corps focuses on the number of ships needed, not the dollars required to build those ships, according to the statement.
The Congressional Shipbuilding Caucus is co-chaired by Reps. Gene Taylor (D-MS), the chairman of the House Armed Services seapower and expeditionary forces subcommittee, and Rob Wittman (R-VA).