Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley says he’s concerned that the military would consider decommissioning the USS Sioux City, which joined the Navy fleet just three years ago.
“It’s not just because it’s (the USS) Sioux City that I’m concerned about it, although that gives me a parochial reason for being concerned about it,” Grassley said this morning, “but this is a ship that was just built.” The Navy is asking congress to approve decommissioning 24 ships over the next five years, to save $3.6 billion. The list includes the USS Sioux City and seven other combat ships in the Navy’s Freedom Class.
“What’s the Navy doing mothballing ships that are only four or five years old? Doesn’t it say something about their looking to the future, the needs of the Navy, and now all of a sudden a whole group of cruisers are not needed anymore? That’s what bothers me,” Grassley said this morning during a conference call with Iowa reporters. “It’s not just because of Sioux City.”
Pentagon officials say the USS Sioux City is among ships that need a costly repair to its propulsion system and six new ships will be delivered with a revamped design to address the flaw. Grassley, a Republican, said this case makes him question the Navy’s budget decisions.
“The irresponsible handling of money for cruisers like the Sioux City would say to me the Navy’s not up to handling the taxpayers’ dollars efficiently and effectively and responsibly,” Grassley said.
Iowa’s other U.S. Senator, Republican Joni Ernst, spoke at the christening ceremony for the USS Sioux City in 2018. In a written statement issued this morning, Ernst said now is not the time to “flatten the size” of the defense budget, as “America’s enemies are on the march and the world has become a much more dangerous place.” Ernst said the Biden Administration’s budget puts “the sizes of our Navy and Air Force far short of where they need to be” and reflects what Ernst called “appeasement” to “an emboldened Putin in Russia.”