Washington, DC — U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, spoke today on the House floor in favor of H.R. 6649, the Naval Vessel Transfer Act of 2012.
Opening remarks by Ros-Lehtinen:
"I rise in support of H.R. 6649, the Naval Transfer Act of 2012, as amended. According to the Secretary of the Navy, authority to transfer surplus vessels is an important element of the US strategy for decommissioned ships. It enables our Navy to manage its inventory, while strengthening ties with our key security partners and with allies by transferring ships that meet key operational requirements.
"These transfers are job creators. Each frigate transferred will require $40-80 million of repair and refurbishment. This represents economic benefit to the U.S. through labor and services during the transfer process as well as the potential for millions more in follow-on services, equipment, and training. According to estimates from U.S.
sources, each frigate transfer creates or sustains approximately 100 shipyard jobs and 50 services jobs in the U.S. for approximately 6 months.
"Performing this ship transfer work in domestic shipyards that perform U.S. Navy overhauls and repairs, lowers the cost of U.S. Navy maintenance by spreading costs over a wider base. The end result is an overall lower cost to the U.S. Navy and thus for the American taxpayer.
The alternative to foreign ship transfers for ships no longer required by our U.S. Navy is to place the decommissioned ships into cold storage or have them be sunk.
"The legislation also requires that any expense incurred by the U.S. in connection with a transfer authorized by this bill shall be charged to the recipient. Passage of this bill will help advance United States foreign policy interests and our broader national security requirements.
Therefore, I urge adoption and reserve the balance of my time."
"When our military officials tell me that they need these specific transfers, including to Turkey, because it is in our nation's security interests and advances our priorities, I believe that we should take note. I trust our U.S. military when it comes to operational needs and joint military and anti-piracy activities.
"This is why Turkey was included and not at the last minute under cover of night. The text of this bill has been posted for almost two weeks, not just for our fellow colleagues to review, but for all the American people to review. This bill is a standard bill that is done at the end of each Congress. Two years ago, under a different majority, a similar naval transfer bill was considered at the end of the session.
"In short, this bill helps our ally Taiwan; advances our U.S. national security interests; reduces costs to our navy; and creates jobs for Americans."