WASHINGTON - The House Armed Services Committee Wednesday approved the 2010National Defense Authorization Act (H.R. 2647), which includes anamendment blocking funding for proposed dredging at Naval StationMayport.
Mayport is under consideration to become the second East Coastfacility with the ability to handle nuclear aircraft carriers.Currently Naval Station Norfolk is the only facility on the EastCoast capable of supporting nuclear aircraft carriers. Dredging atMayport would be one of the first projects needed to upgrade thefacility. The Hampton Roads area stands to lose one of the aircraftcarriers currently homeported at Naval Station Norfolk if Mayportis upgraded. The most likely carrier to move is the newlycommissioned USS George H.W. Bush.
The amendment in the 2010 National Defense Authorization Act,co-sponsored by Hampton Roads representatives Glenn Nye, RandyForbes, and Rob Wittmam, redirects $46.3 million in dredging fundsinto an account for construction and repairs at Navy and MarineCorps Reserve facilities.
The Congressmen argued that funds for dredging at Mayport shouldonly be allocated after the upcoming 2010 Quadrennial DefenseReview.
"We can’t afford to spend our limited defense resources ondredging a redundant port facility when the Navy is facing seriousshortfalls in other areas right now," said Congressman Nye in astatement. "Once we have made the strategic decision abouthomeporting our aircraft carriers, we can decide whether to moveforward with dredging, but funding should follow strategy andmilitary necessity, not the other way around."
The 2010 National Defense Authorization Act will next go to thefull House of Representatives for consideration. After that, theSenate will pass a separate version of the bill, which then must bereconciled with the House version. The reconciled versionmust be approved by both the House and the Senate before going tothe President for his signature.
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