Chair McCollum Statement at Fiscal Year 2023 United States Navy and Marine Corps Budget Hearing

2022-05-18 10:30

Congresswoman Betty McCollum (D-MN), Chair of the Defense Subcommittee, delivered the following remarks at the subcommittee's hearing on the Fiscal Year 2023 United States Navy and Marine Corps Budget. 

This morning the Subcommittee will receive testimony on the fiscal year 2023 budget request for the Department of the Navy and the Marine Corps.

Our three witnesses are:

  • The Honorable Carlos Del Toro, Secretary of the Navy,
  • Admiral Michael Gilday, Chief of Naval Operations,
  • and General David Berger, Commandant of the Marine Corps

All three witnesses have long and distinguished careers serving our country.  

Secretary Del Toro, this is your first time testifying before the Subcommittee.  

We welcome you and thank you for your service.Admiral Gilday and General Berger—welcome back and thank you both for being here. 

While the hearing today will cover a range of topics, I will quickly highlight a few. The Navy has no greater investment than in the life, health, and wellbeing of our Sailors, Marines, and their loved ones.

Following the tragic suicides that took place on the USS George Washington, the Subcommittee wants to emphasize the urgent need to prioritize mental health care throughout the Navy.

We must better understand what the Navy is doing to ensure Sailors, Marines, and their families have the support they need to do the extraordinary job we ask of them. 

Operational demand remains high for our servicemembers— and that burden is magnified for their loved ones.

The Subcommittee wants to hear how the Navy is investing in programs that prioritize the wellbeing of Sailors, Marines, and their families. 

The men and women who serve are our most precious resource and it is incumbent that they have access to prompt medical care, childcare, and family programs no matter where they are. 

Turning to shipbuilding, for the last several years the Department of Defense has maintained a requirement for a 355-ship force. 

This year, the Navy’s 30-year shipbuilding plan breaks tradition of presenting a singular plan and instead provides three different scenarios—of which two of the options never meet the Navy’s goal of 355 ships. 

Further, the three alternatives presented in the Navy’s shipbuilding plan leave open the question of which of the different mixes of ships the Navy thinks are necessary for the future fight. 

We would like to better understand the thought process of the Navy regarding this year’s shipbuilding plan.  

I am also interested to hear an update on ship and submarine maintenance issues.  

Shipyard backlogs remain high and the shipbuilding industrial base continues to face production delays and capacity challenges.  

We need to understand what steps are being taken to improve this situation and what we can do to assist you.

Finally, as the Marine Corps continues down the road in its modernization effort, Force Design 2030, we hope to learn more how the implementation of new concepts is going.

We want to know what challenges you are facing, and what assumptions you are reworking in the face of real-world events. 

This continues to be a challenging time for the Navy and Marine Corps and we want to work together with you to ensure you are receiving the required resources to maintain readiness, support personnel, and modernize for the future fight.  

At the same time, I must emphasize that we expect that every taxpayer dollar is spent wisely.  

With that, I thank you again for appearing before the Subcommittee today to discuss these important issues.  

117th Congress