WASHINGTON – Florida's two U.S. senators, Rubio and Bill Nelson are urging President Donald Trump to “include funding in the 2019 Presidential Budget to support a nuclear-powered aircraft carrier at Naval Station Mayport."
Last March, the entire Florida delegation reaffirmed its commitment on holding the Department of Defense accountable in fulfilling its own recommendation to strategically disperse nuclear aircraft carriers throughout the nation.
Since the USS John F. Kennedy was decommissioned in March 2007, Mayport has not hosted a carrier. Environmental studies and some preliminary work was done to upgrade the wharf to be able to handle a nuclear-powered aircraft carrier, yet no carrier has been assigned to Mayport.
Here's the full text of the letter the Florida's senators sent to the president on Thursday:
Dear President Trump:
We urge you to include funding in the Fiscal Year 2019 Presidential Budget to support a nuclear-powered aircraft carrier (CVN) at Naval Station Mayport. The security, availability, and redundancy of our aircraft carrier fleet is critical to our national security in light of the increased global security threats.
The U.S. Navy has a long history of homeporting aircraft at least one aircraft carrier at Naval Station Mayport. Since the 2007 decommissioning of the conventionally powered U.S.S. John F. Kennedy, no aircraft carrier has been homeported at Mayport. In 2009, the US Navy officially announced its decision to homeport a CVN at Mayport, and the DOD’s 2010 Quadrennial Defense review supported the Navy’s decision. Then Chief of Naval Operations Admiral Gary Roughead testified, “a catastrophic event…has the potential to severely limit East Coast Carrier operations,” as justification for its inclusion in the DOD’s 2010 Quadrennial Defense review and the US Navy Fiscal Year 2011 budget. Despite the fact that the Navy has conducted a multi-year review process for building the appropriate facilities at Mayport for a CVN, and has carefully weighed the strategic, operational, and environmental consequences, to date, no action has been taken by the DOD or Navy to mitigate this risk.
Naval Station Mayport is an ideal location because it offers a strategic and operational value that enhances our national security posture. We strongly recommend you fund the necessary improvements at Naval Station Mayport to include construction of nuclear propulsion maintenance facilities and a parking structure in your FY19 Presidential Budget.
Strategic dispersal of our capital ships is a long held Navy requirement and only prudent considering the cost and strategic value to our national defense. The urgency of dispersing our East Coast fleet should not be underestimated. We appreciate your attention to this important matter and look forward to working with you to ensure the DOD’s budget in Fiscal Year 2019 reflects this urgency.