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Tuesday, February 25, 2014

 8:18 AM 

Ribble: Pentagon cuts to combat ship program 'far from settled'

U.S. Rep. Reid Ribble says the future of the littoral combat ship “is far from settled” after Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel called for paring back the program.

In previewing the Defense budget for 2015, Hagel said the government wants to limit its purchase of the LCS to 32 ships instead of the planned 52.

“I am concerned that the Navy is relying too heavily on the LCS to achieve its long-term goals for ship numbers,” Hagel said at a news conference yesterday.

He pointed out the planned 52 ships would be one-sixth of the Navy’s goal for 306 ships. Hagel also said the Pentagon must look at whether the ship “has the protection and firepower to survive against a more advanced military adversary and emerging new technologies, especially in the Asia-Pacific.”

Production of the ship is split between Alabama and Marinette Marine in northern Wisconsin. Ribble, R-Sherwood, said he would work “aggressively” to preserve national security during an era of limited defense budgets.

"It’s critically important that our military meet our nation’s security needs and the Navy continues to require an efficient, effective vessel to defend against the ever-changing challenges we face today as well as in the future,” he said. “The future of the LCS, or its next iteration, is far from settled and there are numerous debates and discussions that will be occurring in the days and weeks ahead.”


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