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Lawmakers blast Navy plan for shipbuilding as 'wholly inadequate'

The plan would cut the entire guided-missile cruiser fleet by 2027.

NORFOLK, Va. — Some lawmakers are already bashing the U.S. Navy's new 30-year shipbuilding plan.

They're saying the 28-page document released this week is "wholly inadequate" to meet the needs of today and tomorrow.

"I think it creates a significant vulnerability for the United States," said Rep. Rob Wittman (R-Virginia, 1st District).

The long-delayed plan presents lawmakers with three potential paths for how the service could build the future fleet.

One option in the plan would get the Navy to 316 ships by 2052. The second possibility would increase the fleet to 327 ships by then. The third one would have the Navy reach 367 ships within that same timeframe.

Two leading Republicans on the House Armed Services Committee -- Wittman and Mike Rogers of Alabama -- are panning the plan.

The lawmakers said it "would abandon key tenants of American naval power, shirk congressionally mandated shipbuilding requirements, break faith with our shipbuilding-industrial base, and put the Navy on a path of near-term decline."

In an interview with 13News Now, Wittman said: "You cannot have the Navy that you need by retiring ships early and then having no replacement for them."

Under the proposal, the Navy would decommission the entire guided-missile cruiser fleet by the end of FY 2027, including the ones that are currently in the cruiser modernization program.

Of the first batch of three cruisers targeted for decommissioning, one of them -- USS Leyte Gulf-- is based in Hampton Roads.

And under the proposal, decommissioning would take place by the end of Fiscal Year 2024.

Wittman said such a move is bad not only for national defense but also for the ship repair industry.

"It will have an impact on the workforce that will be incredibly harmful," he said.

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