Crenshaw: “National Security Scored a Victory”
Congressman Receives Classified Briefing on Facts that Determined Navy’s Decision
November 20, 2008
WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Today Congressman Ander Crenshaw received a classified briefing from the Navy describing how they came to their preferred alternative of homeporting a nuclear aircraft carrier (CVN) at Naval Station Mayport. The preferred alternative will be published in the Final Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) on Friday, November 21st.
Rep. Crenshaw said, “More than ever I am convinced that the Navy made the right decision in creating a second East Coast nuclear carrier homeport at Mayport. This decision is not about politicians or dollars. It’s about protecting our strategic assets and our sailors. I left today’s briefing convinced that any other decision would have been tantamount to a dereliction of duty.”
A second east coast nuclear homeport at Mayport is absolutely critical for several reasons including the fact that the Navy presently has access to only one east coast operational nuclear carrier port, one nuclear maintenance facility and the country’s only nuclear carrier new construction plant – all located in the Norfolk area. If a catastrophic event – natural or man-initiated - occurred in the Norfolk area, carriers would have to take a one month journey around the tip of South America to reach one of the Navy’s 3 nuclear maintenance facilities on the west coast.
“The Navy made it crystal clear that the strategic imperative to disperse our nuclear aircraft carrier fleet and establish a second nuclear aircraft carrier maintenance facility on the east coast drove this decision,” stated Rep. Crenshaw. “The Navy prides itself in its meticulous approach to safety and to not have an additional nuclear maintenance location on the east coast puts the lives of our most valuable assets – our sailors – at risk. This point alone makes the establishment of a second east coast nuclear facility essential for our national security.”
As a Member of the House Appropriation Subcommittee on Military Construction Subcommittee, which oversees all U.S. military installations, and as a former member of the House Armed Services Committee, Rep. Crenshaw has long advocated for the strategic dispersal of our naval assets. The Navy acknowledged that such a decision should have been made 20 years ago, and this announcement re-establishes the Navy’s policy of strategic dispersal of the east coast carrier fleet that died when the USS John F Kennedy was decommissioned. According to the Navy, 40% of our east coast aircraft carrier fleet is simultaneously located in Norfolk 81% of the time.
Rep. Crenshaw stated, “The strategic value of our naval assets in the Norfolk area is invaluable to our national security. Establishing an additional nuclear carrier homeport not only protects these assets but also positions the Navy to be able
to take action whenever necessary. I am pleased with the Navy’s decision and the sound methodology that guided it.
“We can never put a price tag on our national security. Our brave men and women in uniform deserve better than having their future hinge upon a political or financial debate,” concluded Rep. Crenshaw.