In a letter to Congresswoman Jo Ann Davis
, Navy League National President Timothy O. Fanning
, expressed his strong support and appreciation for the legislation that she introduced to increase shipbuilding construction.
The legislation entitled National Naval Force Structure Policy Act (H.R. 5196) states that it should be the "policy of the United States to rebuild, as soon as possible, the size of the fleet of the U.S. Navy to no fewer than 375 vessels in active service." According to Fanning, such construction is "essential for the recapitalization of our naval fleet." Noting in his letter that the "current build rate will not result in the type of force needed to defend our homeland, fight the war on terrorism, and maintain freedom of the seas," Fanning explains that most of the combat missions during Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan were conducted from or supported by ships."
Fanning points out that the Chief of Naval Operations Admiral Vern Clark is also calling for a minimum of 375 ships to meet America's naval commitments. However, the current build rate will result in a fleet considerably below 300 ships, posing a national security concern. In February, when the FY 2003 DOD budget was released, the Navy League also spoke out on its concern with this low shipbuilding rate.
The Navy League wholeheartedly
supports H.R. 5196; it is a matter of national urgency.