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Rubio Introduces Amendments to Preserve Navy Fleet and Air Force Weapons Development Capabilities

Nov 29, 2012 | Press Releases

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) introduced three amendments to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) that would support Eglin Air Force Base and Naval Station Mayport in Jacksonville.

The first of Rubio’s amendments would prevent the Navy from retiring several Ticonderoga class Cruisers early. The Cruiser fleet, which entered the Navy in the early 1980s, was expected to go through a modernization program that would make them viable until about 2030. Our Navy has a stated requirement to have a fleet of at least 300 ships, but currently only 285 ships are active, the lowest number of ships in the U.S. Navy since World War I. There are four Ticonderoga class Cruisers currently stationed at Naval Station Mayport in Jacksonville with 300 enlisted sailors and 30 officers on each.

The second amendment would require the Air Force to retain the Air Armament Center at Eglin Air Force Base. Currently, the Air Force is attempting to disestablish this Armament center.  The 2005 Base Realignment and Closure Commission (BRAC) law specifically calls on the Air Force to maintain an integrated Air Armament Center at Eglin Air Force Base.  The synergies in weapons testing, development and evaluation that exist at Eglin must be preserved for the benefit of our warfighters.  Earlier this year, Rubio visited Eglin Air Force Base during a swing through Northwest Florida.

The third amendment would require the Air Force to produce an official report explaining how it plans on maintaining the testing and development capabilities for weapons development at collocation bases within Air Force Material Command.

“These amendments are about maintaining readiness and capability in our fleet, and ensuring the institutions we’ve developed for the most efficient development of weapons systems are maintained for our national defense,” said Rubio.  “I’m proud to represent Eglin Air Force Base and Naval Station Mayport, which both play a vital role in our national security operations. These amendments help strengthen our military bases in Florida as our entire defense program faces automatic, indiscriminate cuts that will decimate our national defense.”