Washington, D.C. – Congresswoman Madeleine Bordallo is not afraid of a fight—including one with the US Navy.
Bordallo took on the Navy’s top brass recently in a long-running dispute over ship repair capacity in the western Pacific.
Bordallo didn’t mince words with Vice Admiral William Lescher, deputy chief of Naval Operations, at a House Armed Services hearing on Navy readiness recently.
“The Navy’s own strategic readiness review highlighted that the restrained ship repair industrial base capacity is inadequate to meet the current demand. Yet, when asked during a HASC hearing if the current depot-level ship repair capability was sufficient, the response contradicted the SRR findings. So I continue to be confused by the Navy’s mixed message,” said Bordallo.
So, which is it, Bordallo wanted to know, “sufficient, or insufficient”—a key question for Bordallo and Guam, seeking a greater role in Navy ship repair in the region,with 60 percent of the US naval fleet there.
Vice Admiral Lescher conceded Bordallo’s argument.
“So, your comments are exactly on point, in terms of ship depot maintenance backlog and the need to assertively get after a growing public shipyard nuclear maintenance capacity,” said Lescher.
But Lescher says the Navy is responding with a 20 year effort to grow public shipyard capacity to reduce its maintenance backlog, including NDAA-directed studies to assess needs in the western Pacific.
Navy officials also told Bordallo, the service is working at maximum capability short-term to restore Navy readiness but overall recovery, despite massive new military funding by Congress, will still take time.