This article first appeared in AviationWeek.com.
Virginia Sen. Jim Webb (D), a former Navy secretary and Marine combat veteran, is raising new objections over the Navy's proposal to home-port a nuclear-powered aircraft carrier in Mayport, Fla. Webb wrote Deputy Defense Secretary Bill Lynn last month asking him to address such concerns before the Pentagon's Quadrennial Defense Review (QDR) completes its assessment of the Navy's proposal.
According to his aides, "Webb also questioned the transparency of the lobbying efforts by retired Navy Adm. Robert Natter, a former commander of the U.S. Atlantic Fleet, who has received more than a million dollars as a paid lobbyist for the state of Florida and the city of Jacksonville."
Webb, a rising member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, has long opposed the move because it would leak prestige and economic power from the commonwealth (Aerospace DAILY, Oct. 26). But Virginian arguments have highlighted financial costs of building up Mayport, previously only capable of hosting conventionally powered flattops, especially in light of budget constraints and competing priorities.
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