The following is Vice Chief of Naval Operations, Adm. Bill Moran’s, oral testimony to the Senate Armed Services Committee, Subcommittee on Readiness and Management Support, during the hearing on Current Readiness of U.S. Forces:
Thank you, Mr. Chairman, Ranking Member Kaine and distinguished members of the subcommittee. Thank you for inviting me back to testify this afternoon.
And thank you for the Bipartisan Budget Agreement which goes a long way towards much needed financial stability and building a more lethal military force.
Once PB-18 is enacted, we will aggressively and responsibly accelerate our readiness recovery plan to earn your trust. As capable as we are today, we will continue to invest in making us even more capable.
PB-19 is a strategy-driven budget; it is tightly aligned with the National Defense Strategy which provides clear strategic direction for the United States Navy. The program we have built is laser focused on rebuilding readiness and making our teams more lethal. As Secretary Mattis has stated, it is a budget that restores our competitive advantage and is what we need to bring us back to a position of primacy.
Last summer, members of Congress invested $1.7 billion in Navy readiness. We allocated every penny of this critical investment to arrest the erosion in FY-17 and put us on a path in FY-18 to restore our most pressing readiness needs.
In the past few months, I’ve visited several units around the fleet, including many being maintained in our public and private shipyards. Last year at this hearing, you may remember that we discussed USS Albany, an L.A. class attack submarine. At that time, she had been unable to go to sea for over three years due to inadequate resources. I’m happy to report that today her crew is wrapping up their time in the shipyard and is excited about finally getting underway.
On the aviation front, instead of shutting down flight operations for several fleet squadrons, we were able to continue operating and training our pilots and aircrew. We were also able to begin addressing understocked spare parts, and we were able to build a more effective workforce in our aviation depots.
That extra money also helped us recover a number of deferred surface ship maintenance and modernization periods and allowed us to restock critical munitions.
All of this started with your help. So, when PB-18 is finally signed and PB-19 is enacted on time, we will be able to sustain the recovery you helped jumpstart last year and grow and improve the lethality of your Navy. Together, these changes will expand the margin of victory in any future fight; it will move us closer to the Navy the Nation Needs.
Finally, we should talk about our people. This year we are growing the Navy to close personnel gaps at sea, adopting innovative policy solutions to retain our best talent, and we are committed to changing the way we train to be more effective.
As you well know, people are the foundation of our military advantage. And the growing economy will heighten the competition for talent, which makes stable, predictable funding–as reflected in your budget agreement–all the more important. This will help keep us competitive and allow us to bring in more talented young men and women from across America.
It’s on their behalf and their families that I thank you for your continued support, and I look forward to your questions.