Jacksonville, FL - Florida’s entire Congressional delegation is reviving the push to get a nuclear carrier to Naval Station Mayport.
Both Senators and all 27 Representatives have signed a letter to Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis and Acting Navy Secretary Sean Stackley to ask for funding to support the buildout that would be needed to house a nuclear-powered aircraft carrier (CVN) locally.
“While we understand the realities of the fiscal environment, our Navy overleverages risk to our carrier fleet by having only one CVN homeport on the Eastern seaboard,” the letter says.
The letter cites a 2010 Quadrennial Defense Review which found Mayport should be CVN-capable. It further contains statements from prior Defense and Navy officials who have also supported the work.
“The Navy conducted a multi-year review process for developing CVN operational, maintenance, and support facilities and carefully weighed the strategic, operational, and environmental consequences before making its decision to bring CVN to Mayport as early as 2019. Despite these review processes, acknowledgment from senior leaders of the need for strategic dispersal, and multiple Government Accountability Office reports, this vital need is still unfulfilled,” the letter says.
The authors say that strategic dispersal of CVNs is needed for national security, and that the cost to convert Mayport should not outweigh the risk to the fleet.
“We appreciate your attention to this important matter and look forward to working with you to ensure the Department of Defense budget reflects the urgency of finally ensuring there is no longer a single point of failure in our eastern seaboard nuclear carrier homeporting strategy,” the letter says.
Getting a carrier has long been a goal for the base, although the funding, training, and infrastructure needs have continually extended the timeline. When Naval Station Mayport was at a historically low level of ships- in large part because of the decommissioning of frigates- the Navy moved in an Amphibious Readiness Group consisting of the USS Iwo Jima, USS New York, and USS Fort McHenry. Mayport is also the East Coast homeport for the Littoral Combat Ships, which will mean a gradual increase in the number of local assets in the coming years.
The letter was signed by all of the Florida delegation including: U.S. Senators Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Bill Nelson (D-FL), as well as U.S. Representatives Gus Bilirakis (R-FL), Vern Buchanan (R-FL), Charlie Crist (D-FL), Carlos Curbelo (R-FL), Ron DeSantis (R-FL), Mario Diaz-Balart (R-FL), Neal Dunn (R-FL), Matt Gaetz (R-FL), Alcee Hastings (D-FL), Al Lawson (D-FL), Brian Mast (R-FL), Stephanie Murphy (D-FL), Bill Posey (R-FL), Francis Rooney (R-FL), Thomas Rooney (R-FL), Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), Dennis Ross (R-FL), John Rutherford (R-FL), Darren Soto (D-FL), Debbie Wasserman-Schultz (D-FL), Daniel Webster (R-FL) and Ted Yoho (R-FL).