Wagner Testifies at Armed Services Hearing in Support of Super Hornets

Mar 1, 2016
Press Release

For Immediate Release

Contact: Meghan Burris | (202) 225-1621


Washington, D.C. – Today, Congresswoman Ann Wagner (R-MO-02) testified in front of the U.S. House of Representatives’ Armed Services Committee to discuss Fiscal Year 2017 priorities within the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA).

Wagner argued the importance of the Navy’s F/A-18 Hornets and Super Hornets in the operation to combat ISIS, citing the aircraft as the “backbone of our force projection and engagement” for the Navy’s tactical aviation. The Hornets and Super Hornets are currently produced and maintained by Boeing at a factory in St. Louis, Missouri. 

Last year, the Chief of Naval Operations (CNO) testified that the Navy faced a shortage of operational aircraft. Today, Wagner strongly urged the Committee to consider the Navy’s request to add 12 F/A-18E/F Super Hornets to the President’s budget to address the tactical aviation shortfall.  
 


Testimony of Congresswoman Wagner to the House Armed Services Committee (HASC)

March 1, 2016 [As Prepared]

Chairman Thornberry, Ranking Member Smith, and Members of the Committee.  I want to begin by thanking you for your steadfast commitment to our Nation’s most pressing national security matters.  In that vein, I want to highlight the growing stresses on and demands for United States Navy tactical aviation.

As you know, the ongoing wartime operations against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) have greatly increased the operational tempo of our tactical aircraft.  The carrier based aircraft – F/A-18 Hornets and Super Hornets, have been the backbone of our force projection and engagement.

Last year the Chief of Naval Operations (CNO) testified that his Navy faced a shortage of operational aircraft.  This is commonly referred to as the tactical aviation shortfall.  Congress – and your Committee led the way – addressing part of this challenge with added aircraft in Fiscal Year 2016.  However, the President has not budgeted to take on the challenge more robustly in this year’s budget.  Only 2 Super Hornet aircraft were added in the OCO, in response to training and operational losses.  The Fiscal Year 2018 budget shows a demand for 14 more aircraft, but there still is a potential gap this year.

These actions taken to address the tactical aviation shortfall are not enough.  That is why the Chief of Naval Operations (CNO) will provide Congress with an “unfunded requirement” request for 12 additional Super Hornets above the President’s Budget.  There remains a shortfall of at least 36 Super Hornet aircraft. Given the critical capability that the Super Hornet provides for ongoing wartime operations, any shortfall is dangerous to the Navy’s ability to project force throughout the world.  This unfunded requirement request helps mitigate that shortfall, anticipating that the Navy will follow through on its promise to add aircraft in next year’s budget deliberation.  

In years past, your committees have been incredibly responsive to the warfighter’s most pressing needs.  The budget and its unfunded requirement request demonstrate how important tactical aviation is to the Navy’s mission. The Super Hornet is providing that critical capability today at the most affordable cost. 

I ask that you urgently consider the Navy’s unfunded request and add 12 F/A-18E/F Super Hornets to the President’s Budget to address the tactical aviation shortfall and the warfighter’s needs.

I look forward to working with you throughout the year on this issue. Thank you for consideration of this request.

We ask that you take into consideration the recent demands placed on Naval tactical aviation as you consider the President’s Budget request for Fiscal Year 2017.

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Background on Rep. Wagner’s support of Super Hornets and Growlers:

Fiscal Year 2016

  • 7 Growlers and 5 Super Hornets included in spending bill
  • Led Missouri and Illinois delegation letter to appropriations and armed services committee requesting more fighter jets
  • Testified before House Armed Services and House Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense on importance of Growlers and Super Hornets in the fight against the Islamic State

Fiscal Year 2015

  • 15 Growlers included in spending bill
  • Led Congressional letter to appropriations and armed services committee signed by over 100 Members of Congress
  • Testified before House Armed Services and House Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense on importance of Growlers to the warfighter

Fiscal Year 2014

  • Worked with House Armed Services Committee and House Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense to obtain advanced procurement funding for future additional Super Hornets
  • Fought to protect full funding allocations for Growlers amid sequestration cuts to defense spending