Provided by Congressman Rob Wittman’s Office
For the past week and a half, Mr. Wittman led a CODEL to the Pacific visiting allies including: India, Taiwan, Korea, Japan, and our U.S. territory of Guam. In light of the USS John S. McCain collision, he was able to alter his itinerary and travel to Yokosuka Naval Base in Japan to meet with the 7th Fleet Commander Vice Admiral Sawyer and see the damage of the USS Fitzgerald, from its collision in June.
During the CODEL, Wittman spoke about the major challenges facing the United States and our Pacific allies. Some excerpts are below.
1) Wittman Response to USS John S. McCain Collision
“While I support the Chief of Naval Operations operational safety stand down of the fleet, I believe that there are even more basic causes for this systematic operational failure of our fleet to include a demanding operational tempo, limited training opportunities and inadequate funding to support basic needs.”More.
2) Wittman Visits 7th Fleet
“I met with Vice Admiral Sawyer earlier today and was encouraged that he shares my concern for rapidly improving the safety of our fleet. I continue to believe that there are underlying problems with the forward deployed navy forces that need to be improved including the material condition and training readiness levels of our Navy forces. I look forward to discussing the welfare of our sailors and addressing these underlying problems with Navy leadership in early September.” More.
3) Wittman on Latest North Korea Missile Launch
“Having just departed Japan, the latest missile launch from North Korea directly threatens our close ally, Japan. This is North Korea’s second missile launch in less than a month, and in this incident the missile overflew Japan landing just off its coast. North Korea poses a clear threat to our allies and partners in the region and our own territories throughout the Pacific region. I remain committed to using all diplomatic and military tools to deter this latest and future belligerent behavior from this repressive regime.” More.
4) Wittman Statement Following Visit to the Republic of Korea
“After meeting with GEN Vincent Brooks, Commander, US Forces-Korea, I remain encouraged by our US military’s ability to counter any threat posed by North Korea. It is imperative that the United States maintains a leadership role in the Pacific in order to protect our own homeland, ensure regional stability, and reassure our valued allies such as South Korea, Japan, and Guam.” More.
COMING UP: Thursday September 7 at 2:00 PM: Rep. Wittman to chair hearing on the matter of Navy readiness with an emphasis on the underlying incidents involving the Fitzgerald and McCain.
The hearing will focus on learning if these collisions and loss of life could have been prevented and determine how best to mend a community that has taken deep cuts to its manning, training, and maintenance infrastructure for over 15 years. The hearing is titled Navy Readiness – Underlying Problems Associated with the USS Fitzgerald and USS John S. McCain.