Sens. Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Angus King (I-Maine) have called on Defense Secretary and two-time Wash100 award winner Mark Esper to support the current administration’s plan to increase the size of the Navy fleet to 355 ships.
The lawmakers wrote a letter to Esper expressing concerns about the Department of Defense’s plans to propose significant cuts to shipbuilding programs in its budget request for fiscal year 2021, King’s office said in a news release posted Tuesday.
“As you continue to develop and finalize the Department’s FY 2021 budget request, we urge you to reverse course from cutbacks to shipbuilding plans that may be under deliberation and to support a 355-ship Navy,” the senators wrote.
President Trump signed into law the FY 2020 National Defense Authorization Act. The measure includes $5.1 billion in funds for three Arleigh Burke-class destroyers (DDG-51) and a $390 million increase in advanced procurement for an additional vessel in FY 2021.
King is a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee and Collins is a member of the Defense Appropriations Subcommittee.