Attack submarine at the top of the Navy's unfunded wish list

The Navy has listed a second Virginia-class attack submarine as the top item on its unfunded priority list, essentially an annual wish list of projects not funded in the president's budget proposal, after the submarine was cut in President Donald Trump's budget request.

The list, which was released publicly Thursday, follows criticism from bipartisan members of Congress — including Connecticut's delegates, such as U.S. Rep. Joe Courtney, D-2nd District — who say the proposal to cut the number of attack submarines from two, which has been the status quo, to one is at odds with the Trump administration's goal of a bigger Navy.

Courtney, who earned the nickname "2 Sub Joe" several years ago after advocating for a boost in submarine production, issued a statement Thursday shortly after the list was released.

"It should be no surprise that restoring the second 2021 Virginia-class submarine ranks as the highest unfunded need for the Navy," he said. "Congress has consistently heard from Navy leaders, combatant commanders, and experts about the growing demand for submarine capabilities as countries like China and Russia step up their undersea activity. They have urgently warned us that we need more submarine construction, not less, in order to mitigate the nearly 20% reduction in the fleet we presently face within this decade."

Courtney and U.S. Sens. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., and Chris Murphy, D-Conn., wrote to Defense Secretary Mark Esper last week asking him to justify the cut.

The president's budget is seen as an outline of an administration's spending priorities and considered a starting point for negotiations in Congress.

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