WASHINGTON—U.S. Senator Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), a member of the U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee, on Monday made the following statement after the Pentagon reduced the number of Virginia-class submarines next year in order to increase nuclear weapons funding according to the Fiscal Year 2021 budget request sent to Congress:

"I am astounded at the short-sightedness of the White House and our civilian leadership in the Pentagon. Just last week, the United States Navy announced that the Atlantic Ocean is once again ‘contested battlespace’ as Russian submarine activity off our coast continues to pick up. Now is not the time to be shrinking our responsibility to the men and women of the U.S. Navy. Connecticut’s skilled workforce and manufacturers rely on funding for these submarines, and as a member of the Appropriations Committee, I’ve fought hard to increase spending and boost our submarine workforce. I stand ready to fight any attempt of this administration to reduce our submarine force to pay for more nuclear weapons,” said Murphy.

The United States Navy has purchase two Virginia-class submarines a year since 2011. The number of attacked submarines is already projected to experience a significant decline in the mid-2020s through the early 2030s, reaching a minimum of 42 submarines, compared to the 52 submarines today or the U.S. Navy's 66 submarine requirement. The decline is a direct consequence of having procured a relatively small number of attack submarines during the 1990s, in the early years of the post-Cold War era. This projected reduction in the number of operational submarines will put considerable strain on the submarine force and weaken our conventional deterrence against adversaries like Russia and China. Senator Murphy has consistently fought to increase submarine funding, including an additional $8 million in FY20 Appropriations bill to expand training for the submarine workforce.