Eight senators have called on Defense Secretary James Mattis to include funds for three new littoral combat ships in the 2018 defense budget, Military.com reported Friday.
The senators told Mattis in a letter to retain the LCS requirement in the U.S. Navy‘s December 2016 Force Structure Assessment, amid plans to cut the acquisition program and down-select from two shipbuilders to one, reports Military.com.
The senators said a lower funding level for LCS procurement “will risk interruptions to the highly trained workforce currently employed, that would take time and funding to reconstitute,” Military.com reported.
The bipartisan group of lawmakers added that cutting the acquisition program could impact the Navy’s future efforts to meet President Donald Trump’s goal of building a 350-ship fleet for the military branch, the report stated.
Chief of Naval Operations Adm. John Richardson has said the Navy will release its plan for the future fleet in the coming weeks, reports Military.com.
The letter was signed by Sens. Bill Nelson (D-Florida), Marco Rubio (R-FL), Richard Shelby (R-Alabama), Luther Strange (R-AL), Tammy Baldwin (D-Wisconsin), Ron Johnson (R-WI), Gary Peters (D-Michigan) and Debbie Stabenow (D-MI).