This story has been updated to include more information about the amphibious warship included in the amendment put forth by Rep. Mike Rogers (R-Ala.).
The House Armed Services Committee on Wednesday adopted an amendment that would authorize four additional battleforce ships for the Navy and increase the overall defense topline by $23.9 billion.
The amendment, proposed by HASC Ranking Member Rep. Mike Rogers (R-Ala.), authorizes funding for a third Arleigh Burke-class destroyer, one America-class amphibious assault ship, one Expeditionary Fast Transport (EPF) ship, and another T-AO-205 John Lewis-class fleet oiler.
Under the amendment, HASC would authorize $1.53 billion for the third destroyer, $1.2 billion for the amphibious warship, $270 million for the EPF, and $668.2 million for the second oiler.
Rogers put forth the amendment on Wednesday during the full committee markup of the Fiscal Year 2022 National Defense Authorization Act.
“It will ensure defense spending grows by three percent above inflation, meeting the recommendations of the bipartisan National Defense Strategy Commission. It reverses the cuts proposed by the president’s budget. The amendment fully authorizes combatant commanders’ unfunded priorities. It provides over $15 billion to fulfill unfunded procurement, research and readiness priorities for the service,” Rogers said of the amendment.
“Most important, this amendment ensures we have the resources necessary to counter the growing threat from China and other adversaries,” he added.
HASC adopted the amendment in a 42-17 vote.
Rogers’ amendment also authorizes $567 million for the Virginia-class submarine program so the Navy could shift to buying three attack boats per year by FY 2025. It authorizes $130 million for the Navy to purchase a third Arleigh Burke-class destroyer in FY 2023.
While the Navy’s current multi-year procurement for destroyers ends in FY 2022, acting Navy Secretary Thomas Harker told Congress in June the service was planning to enter into another multi-year procurement contract for FY 2023 through FY 2027. Harker at the time did not detail how many destroyers the Navy would buy under the new multi-year, but the Navy bought two per year under the multi-year that is set to end next fiscal year.
Rogers’ amendment also authorizes $75 million for the Columbia-class submarine program to restore funding removed in the chairman’s mark of the bill. It also authorizes $130 million for the Ship-to-Shore Connector program. The Navy asked for two Ship-to-Shore Connectors in the FY 2022 request. The chairman’s mark of the bill met the Navy’s funding request for the Ship-to-Shore Connector.
The amendment also seeks to limit the number of cruisers the Navy can retire in FY 2022. While the Navy asked to retire seven Ticonderoga-class cruisers in its request, lawmakers criticized the move and expressed concern over capability gaps.
Text of the amendment specifically says the service can only retire USS Port Royal (CG-73), USS Vella Gulf (CG-72), USS Hué City (CG-66) and USS Anzio (CG-68), meaning the remaining three cruisers the Navy asked to retire will remain in the fleet. The cruisers the Navy cannot decommission in FY 2022 are USS San Jacinto (CG-56), USS Lake Champlain (CG-57) and USS Monterey (CG-61).
Rogers’ amendment meets various wish lists from the services and combatant commanders. It authorizes $50 million for the MK-48 torpedo, which appeared on the Navy’s annual unfunded priorities list. The amendment also authorizes funding for two more V-22 Osprey aircraft, two more P-8A Poseidon aircraft, and two more KC-130Js, and authorizes more funding for the Navy’s F/A-18 E/F Super Hornet and E-2D Advanced Hawkeye programs.
The HASC seapower and projection forces subcommittee’s mark had authorized funding for two Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyers, two Virginia-class submarines, one Constellation-class frigate, one Navajo-class towing, salvage and rescue ship, one John Lewis-class fleet oiler and one T-AGOS(X) ocean surveillance ship.
While the Navy only sought one Arleigh Burke-class destroyer in its FY 2022 budget request, the HASC seapower panel added the second destroyer the service was slated to purchase under its current multi-year procurement contract. The Navy would incur a $33 million penalty if it breached the contract by not purchasing the second destroyer, USNI News previously reported.
The amphibious ship included in Rogers’ amendment is LHA-9. While Congress previously appropriated and authorized funding for LHA-9, under the Trump administration some of that funding was redirected to build physical barriers along the U.S.-Mexico border. The effort in the FY 2022 policy bill is meant to authorize full funding for the ship, USNI News understands.
The HASC vote to adopt an amendment increasing the topline mirrors the approach the Senate Armed Services Committee took to the FY 2022 authorization bill. The SASC bill, which the panel voted out of committee in July, increased the defense topline by $25 billion.