USS GIFFORDS TO BE COMMISSIONED
mobile, ala.» A naval program that has become a target for critics is preparing to commission the USS Gabrielle Giffords, named for the U.S. politician who survived an assassination attempt in 2011.
The USS Gabrielle Giffords, constructed by Austal USA in Mobile, Ala., has completed testing in the Gulf of Mexico and is scheduled to be commissioned in mid-2017. The ship cost $475 million.
Giffords was shot in the head during a mass shooting in Arizona in 2011 and helped christen the ship in 2015. It’s part of a hotly debated program that congressional critics slam as flawed and too expensive but that Navy leaders defend as a critical new step in naval warfighting.
The 421-foot-long Giffords will be the ninth in a series of highspeed vessels designed to navigate in shallow coastal regions known as littoral waters. Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., has cited the $12.4 billion spent for 26 littoral combat ships as the worst example of wasteful Pentagon spending.
The ship’s name also has been a target for conservatives who see it as promoting stricter gun laws.
The USS Gabrielle Giffords, a Naval littoral combat ship, was built on the Mobile River in Mobile, Ala. Brynn Anderson, AP