WASHINGTON – Congresswoman Elaine Luria (VA-02) today responded to Secretary of the Navy Richard Spencer criticizing her questioning of top Navy leadership on key military readiness issues at a House Armed Services Readiness Subcommittee hearing on Tuesday.
“I find it disappointing that the Secretary finds Congressional oversight disparaging. Here are the facts: The USS FORD will be six years delayed in its initial deployment, which causes incredible strain on the carrier fleet. Secretary Spencer himself promised the President that the weapons elevators would be fully functional by the end of this past summer,” Congresswoman Luria said. “It is now fall and no elevators accessing the ammunition storage areas are functioning, which results in a carrier with no combat capability. I have yet to see a detailed plan to fix the multitude of problems with these new technologies. The Navy accepted the design of these systems and accepted the ship in an incomplete state from HII, so it is absolutely my role to question Navy leadership on their current failure to deliver an operational ship to the fleet.”
Secretary Spencer discussed Congresswoman Luria’s questioning at a Brookings Institution event this morning in Washington. At one point, he said of the Congresswoman: “Not one of her comments was, ‘How can I help?’”
During the hearing, Congresswoman Luria said: “We want to be here for readiness to provide you the tools to get the carriers out to deploy on time. What else do you need to do that?”
Later, she asked: “Do we have the capacity we need … to do the work that we need?”
A top Navy official – Vice Admiral Thomas J. Moore, Commander of Naval Sea Systems Command – replied succinctly: “We absolutely do.”